Office Talk – keep your mouth shut and your ass clean

There is no profession without office politics at all levels. The more people have to lose, the more people are forced to play the game. House officers are the most free. There is no ultimate responsibility, because of the ability to escalate upwards. No-one expects house officers to think at a higher level, so the ones who do are seen as exceeding expectations. And the politics are the least because nobody at the higher levels generally cares about which individual house officer is better – except the rubbish ones who endanger patient lives.

Remember this: People talk. People remember. The impressions people have of you begin from medical school clinical postings. Don’t burn your bridges, you’ll need them in the future. Furthermore, the medical community is small and word spreads fast. An indiscretion can affect your career chances.

This makes a breed of person particularly dangerous. It’s the kind of exaggerates and outright lies, yet has the ear of the senior stuff due to his appearance of being hardworking. To make himself seem noble and even more hardworking, he’ll sell you down the river to the bosses and promote himself unabashedly. You may do no wrong, but he will find something. How do you defend against that? What can you do?

Nothing much, really. Being human, you will never be error-free but damned if you aren’t going to aim for perfection. Keep your mouth shut and your ears peeled. Correct incorrect stories delicately whenever you can. And never put down your seniors or colleagues to other colleagues.

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