It was a sudden transition. New workers always change the relationship dynamics and since we hired the new girl, things have gotten out of hand. It’s not even that the new girl is bad at her job or that she’s not a good person. It’s bizarre- the presence of a perfectly average employee has changed the environment so negatively.

We are a smaller optometric practice with three doctors, two of them working part-time. There is an office manager, a receptionist, two opticians, three technicians, and me (I call myself the part-time office assistant because it sounds super official and fancy but means that I just help everyone get tasks done). Adding a new technician has increased our office’s ability to manage administrative tasks. This has, unfortunately caused some lack of structure that causes us to react negatively to each other.

Lunch rotation has to be re-hashed, duty lists redistributed, and expectations reformed. Unfortunately, the lack of communication has caused havoc in the required restructuring. Expectations are not shared and are therefore not met, toxicity that once ran like a small trickle through the surface became a creek and then a river in intensity as coworker disappointed coworker and gossip and complaining spread without anyone ever talking to the person with whom the problem exists.

It is ridiculous how the problems persist when the solution would be as easy as opening up in an honest environment, establishing expectations and re-evaluating task distribution. Instead, we trash-talk and gossip. And let me just say that sound carries in an office as small as ours. And just as sound carries, mistrust breeds.

The receptionist with pre-existing insecurity grows more insecure, the technician already prone to negativity about work increases in negativity, and the office manager already prone to gossip increases in her gossip. And the part-time office assistant already prone to suppressing her emotions until expressing them in writing days later writes this blog post. And, instead of telling her coworkers what she thinks, she’ll write it in a blog they don’t read that they need to talk to each other about their problems. Maybe that’ll work?