Saturday, 20 December 2008

Christmas Bonus

My girlfriend got her Christmas Bonus the other week. Because of her hard work and dedication though these difficult economic times, her company has given her £1000 to say thank-you for all that she’s done for them in 2008. What’s more she’s now out dancing the night away at her company’s Christmas party, with free drinks at a venue all paid for by her company as a thank-you to the staff.

I got my Christmas Bonus yesterday. As a reward for all my hard work and dedication over the last year, my company gave me a £1.50 discount voucher for the Christmas Dinner. It meant that only had to pay £3.00! I feel so happy that all the extra (unpaid) hours I put in have been recognised. That I get some recompense for all the occasions that I’ve done extra shifts to cover the gaps in the rota. That my hospital wishes to thank-you for all the unsupervised lists that I did – not because it helps my training, but to cover for absences and make sure that operations don’t get cancelled.

Such is life as a public sector worker.

It’s not all bad though. After I paid my £3.00 for the Christmas Lunch, I got a “free” Christmas cracker – so I can’t complain too much, can I?


irish andrew said...

lol - depressing sometimes isn't it? I left research (not much better) to go into medicine. I have about 14 months left before I qualify, lots to "look forward" to! Oh well, I wouldn't be doing it if it was about the money/recognition, and from following your blog I get a similar feeling from you :)
Merry Christmas,

Dr Grumble said...

The staff in our NHS department have had a party. They didn't have to pay for the drinks. Did our Trust pay? No. The consultants had a whip round.

Our junior doctors on the ward will get a bottle in their stockings. Another consultant whip round. And the staff in the Grumble department will get a bottle. Guess who will pay for that?

Meanwhile even Google thinks we are on holiday already. The management has insisted Grumble does his clinic on Xmas Eve to meet the targets which matter not to Grumble nor to his patients. Grumble does not mind. He needs to be around because he must to a ward round before the long break. But it is not really kind on the clerk and the nurse. And probably the patients will not turn up.

If Grumble gets to any of the parties in his neighbourhood (there is even a medical bloggers party in Fulham) he will be asked by the accountants and the teachers and the bankers and the businessmen and, well, everybody else how long he has off over Christmas. And the answer this year will be Christmas Day and Boxing Day and the weekend. Which is good because it isn't always like that. And the enquirer will look bewildered and show utterly no understanding that the sick will go on coming. The very sick anyway.

But, as Irish Andrew says, we wouldn't be doing it if it was about these things. In fact Dr Grumble is sad that the tradition of consultants always going in to the hospital on Xmas Day has died. In his hospital anyway. But you never used to see a manager or a chief executive on Christmas Day. So why do we do it? Mrs Grumble would say that it sounds pompous but we do it out of a sense of vocation and duty and a feeling that our jobs are important and do matter even if we are not always recognised.

Elaine said...

You are obviously in a very caring (of staff) area of the NHS. Do I detect the Grumble hand behind the whip rounds?

Anyway, have a very Merry Christmas (to both you and Mrs Grumble).

First On Call said...

Junior doctors in Ireland are facing a 28-33% wage cut next year; apparently we've gone from being the richest fasting growing economy in Europe to the bad old days of the Eighties within the space of 12 months.

I'm not as angry as I should be though. A lot of my friends are facing unemployment or forced emigration next year and I've been given two weeks of annual leave this Christmas.

Hope you get some quality time off this year Michael and all the best for the year ahead!

John said...

Likewise i remember having to work extra shifts to cover for sick colleagues and working many extra hours.
Now i work in Australia. I still work extra hours but i am paid overtime for ethose hours. The difference....the culture is that you claim for your overtime, the consultants encourage you to do so. Why?
Only then can you see where you system is weak and needs extra doctors or resources.

If i am asked to work an extra shfit i would be paid. No-one would even begin to understand the concept of working without being paid for it.
The result? Happy contented staff.

Anonymous said...

Well I hope the Turkey wasn't too dry!

Merry Christmas, really enjoyed your blog this year BTW. Have a good holiday (whatever time off you may get), you deserve it.

Dr Michael Anderson said...

Irish Andrew - you're right if it was just about the money, there's no way I'd be doing this job

Dr Grumble - from your blog and your comments, I feel that if I'd worked for consultants like you, I might just have stayed in general medicine.

John - I know a fair few docs who have emmigrated to the antipodes for good and they universally say that the working conditions down under are a breath of fresh air compared to the UK

HM - the turkey was actually very nice, and I got a paper hat to wear for the afternoon list too.