Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Black Widow Spider And The Black Knight

For several years I have had an idea -- a suggestion -- that would cut the back log of work in our organization and would also significantly impact the turn-around time of patient care from a couple of weeks to a day or so at most. And for several years I have pitched my idea to the Black Widow Spider, only to be told, "Oh, no, no, that would never work, uh-uh, can't be done. Nope. It won't work. This is the way we've always done it, and your suggestion just can't be done."

Oh, okay...

Enter The Black Knight. I thought, here is an intelligent person who perhaps might see the advantage in at least trying my suggestion to find out if it might possibly -- maybe -- actually work. I sent her an e-mail, I requested a meeting with her and with all the people who are involved in the process. We met, and once again I pitched my idea.

The Black Widow Spider spoke up, "No, no, no, it can't be done. It will never work."

The Black Knight, "Why wouldn't it work? Shouldn't we at least try it to find out?"

Yes! Finally -- the voice of reason. I silently cheered The Black Knight. This is why this person was hired. The new broom sweeps clean, as my mother used to say. Here is some someone with some intelligence and common sense.

The new process I suggested was implemented. It worked immediately. It took a backlog of work that was chronically backed up for two or three weeks -- or more -- and brought it current, and it remains current. And not only has it eased the burden of work in general, it has directly affected patient care in a positive way and it has greatly lessened the stress on the support staff. Of all the changes that have been made recently, it has produced the most significant results with the greatest impact, and for that I am pleased. For several years I have given the idea a lot of thought, and I knew it would work. It has seemed to me to be a "no-brainer", as they say.

Yesterday I discovered -- quite by accident -- that The Black Knight is taking credit for my idea, and is being supported by The Black Widow Spider. At at off-site management meeting, The Black Knight received kudos for her (my) suggestion that significantly reduced the turn-around time in the backlog of work regarding patient care.

It is always impossible afterwards to speak up, "But that was my idea...!" At that point, we have to remain silent. But, I know it was my modest contribution, even if the credit goes to someone else. The Black Knight may even believe it was her idea. Memory is a strange thing. We sometimes edit and prune the things we don't choose to believe, and embelish the things we do until we believe it ourselves. But it was my idea, and I pushed for it until it was done.

"Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time."

... Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


heartinsanfrancisco said...

I totally empathize with your pain, albeit mixed with pleasure that your wonderful idea was finally implemented with such dramatic results. The exact same thing happened to me when I managed a domestic violence shelter, but the director who took credit for my idea, who also turned out to be appropriating huge sums of grant money for her own use, fired me just to make sure that if I claimed credit, no one would listen. Or investigate further.

I'm so sorry this happened to you, but you are clearly too valuable to lose. Sadly, your own knowledge of who saved the day will have to be enough for now, but rest assured, there will be karmic consequences. Nobody is immune to them. Eventually your own brilliance (stop blushing) will shine from its rightful place, visible to all, but being you, you probably won't even care when the truth comes out.

TomCat said...

Grrrrr..... I've had a couple similar experiences. In the future, I would suggest referencing your ideas in email and forwarding the replies fo your home account.

Paula Slade said...

Congratulations on getting your idea approved and the successful outcome!! I'm sorry the Black Knight (appropriately named) felt it necessary to take the credit. Be proud Jo - IT WAS YOUR IDEA and no one person can take that away from you. I'm glad you shared this!!!!

Kathryn said...

Oh, Jo, i hate "office politics." I found them worse in healthcare than anywhere else i worked. I ran into the "no, it will never work" thing so many times.

I'm so glad your plan was finally implemented & works so well, tho i wish you had credit for it. Do you still have original email?

I'd guess that Black Widow is supporting Black Knight 'cause otherwise she might have to admit how many times she'd not listened before. Or it may just be evil politics.

You have a good heart, dear.

A.M. said...

Frustrating for sure! Give yourself the credit you deserve and just recognize that anyone that takes another persons idea and takes credit for it… obviously has low self esteem, and feel inadequate. Not always the case, but usually. URGH!!

TC said...

That is infuriating and we've all been through it.
Memory is a strange thing but I'm afraid I would be tempted to act all innocent and somehow let it "drop" in a public conversation with the black knight that the idea was mine and watch them try to take credit?
I'd be tempted but I would probably be sickeningly sweet and never trust them again.
At least you are acting like a grown up and the benefit is still going to the patients.

Alissa said...

I really despise people like that! I would like to think that someone like that would be found out and have to suffer the consequences, but I can say from personal experience, that seldom happens.

Land of shimp said...

Jo, congratulations on your success! Even though you didn't get the credit, and someone else is actually taking credit, it was still your idea! You know that you brought about a change through ingenuity and perseverance.

I forget where I read this, I think it was in a work of fiction dealing with politics. Boiled down it was, "You can get a lot done in politics, as long as you don't care who gets the credit."

I remember thinking at the time, "Isn't that the truth?" and it stuck in my mind. People are funny creatures. The Black Knight ("come back here, I'll bite your knees off!") probably has some complicated head math wherein since she approved the idea, it became hers. The Black Widow seems to simply be invested in being poisonous wherever she roams.

But you had an honest victory, made perhaps more fun, at least more entertaining, by the strange machinations of our fellow man.

Anonymous said...

Not fair, not fair, not fair!!!

You should get the credit and You should be promoted!

(Wasn't this the theme of a movie? Working Girl...I think? But of course, that had a happy ending.)

Jo said...

Hearts, thank you. And yes, I remember you posting about that incident once, and at the time I thought it was grossly unfair. Your director's karma got her in the end, didn't it!? :-)

TomCat, oh, yes I always reference my e-mails, but sadly I delete them after some time. *sigh*

Paula, thank you. I just felt I had to vent a little bit, so I want to thank everyone for being so patient with me. :-)

Kathryn, thank you. :-) And yes, the Black Widow spider knows on which side her bread is buttered. I think being two-faced is also inherent in office politics.

A.M., you know to what (and whom) I refer, don't you? And you know how well it's working. And you know neither The Black Widow Spider nor The Black Knight would have the wherewithal to suggest the idea. Argghhh!!

TC, yes, I believe the opportunity will present itself one day. Most of the folks at work know the idea was mine, but the "higher ups" upstairs don't know, so they have credit the wrong person. Oh, well...

Alissa, I would like to think, at least, that the person would give credit where credit is due, rather than taking the credit themselves. I could never do that.

Alane, yes, I think that happens a lot in management, where a manager will abscond with an employee's idea and take credit for it. And they rationalize it by thinking they are the manager, therefore they are responsible and deserve the credit. I do see that happen quite often, sadly. The Black Widow Spider is retiring in exactly 39 days. But who's counting!? *heh*

Carla, yes, "Working Girl" is one of my favorite movies. It's a good example of just such an instance as this. But that was a movie, and unfortunately I live in the real world. *sigh*

The Bug said...

How annoying Jo! But you know, you got excellent karma with your tree house situation - maybe it will happen with work too...

Russell said...

As others have already said, this is not an uncommon situation. I have witnessed this more than once -- in fact, several times.

I am not sure why people do this but somehow they rationalize it. Often they will say they took your idea and sort of refined it (in their mind) and made it even better (which is usually not true).

Reminds me of the comic Dilbert, one of my favorites.

My guess is that people who are in positions are high authority and who you really should respect have a very good idea of your skills and talents. No question in my mind.

And the Black Knight's true colors (pun intended) will come through soon enough.

Jo said...

The Bug, yes! You know, karma always seems to work. I know their karma will come back and bite them in the ...

Russell, oh, The Black Knight's true colors are as black as her miserable little lump of coal for a heart. She is a nasty piece of work. And yes, I have a feeling the folks in the "upper echelons" are aware of the truth. :-)

Pauline said...

and whether you get credit for it or not, if the idea worked and is helping people, you can be proud of yourself and glad of it. You know (and now we know) it was your idea and it's the idea that was important, not the credit...

the walking man said...

See your post below this one?

"O Canada!
Our home and native land!True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free!

From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee."

Ladies and gentlemen on the middle podium our winner of the gold medal for the decathlon...Johanna!

Elise said...

You are by far more noble than I am. I'm afraid I wouuld explode with anger and raise a ruckus and generally do no good at all... Compliments on your spirit of grace!


Jo said...

Pauline, yes, sometimes we have to just keep our mouths shut and be happy for our small victories.

Mark, ::::Thank You!!!::: Omigoodness, that was wonderful...!!!

Elise, yes, sometimes we just end up making ourselves look bad, and the important thing is to always keep our dignity. Things always seem to work out as they should, though.

Country Girl said...

I read this last night, Jo, but didn't comment. I just wanted to say that I know you will take the high road, because it's so you. You know whose idea it was, and the black knight knows as well. It's just good that it got implemented, for everyone involved. And that's the best thing.

Country Girl said...

Oh, and TomCat also has some excellent advice, too!

A human kind of human said...

This could have been my story many times over. I work for the armed forces in a civilian capacity. As civilians we can never serve in a supervisory or managerial post, yet over the years many of my "superiors" has received acknowledgement for my ideas simply because they wear uniform to work. This has always been the biggest source of frustration in my career and the biggest stumbling blog in having genuine respect for many of my so-called superiors. Just hang in there Jo, the important thing is that you and those who matter to you (I hope) know what your capabilities and achievements are.

Alicia said...

Wow Jo, I was so thrilled for you right up until you said the Black Knight took credit! Oh my gosh that happens so often!

Well please find solace in the fact that you made life easier for your coworkers and for the patients.

And remember, what goes around, comes around!

Meggie said...

You are wise to keep quiet, but oh how I hate the injustice!