I am not a psychology professional or married to one, but I am working for somebody who is for me an expert at playing psychological mind tricks. She’s a doctor and she is my boss. I had both male and female bosses before but they are nothing compared to her when it comes to manipulation.
Because she wants total control, she chooses her victims carefully. Because people with very little or no education tend to be easily manipulated, she prefers to employ them at her clinic. Besides, the majority of them doesn’t know how to speak English so they don’t know their rights including the right to demand for an overtime for being made to work twelve hour days, five days a week. If somebody attempts to ask for a raise, she refuses to even listen by enumerating all the expenses she has to pay to keep the business open. When somebody requests for a modification of schedule to be able to go to school, she also says no. What she essentially wants is for an employee to spend every waking moment making her rich.
If somebody refuses to be exploited further, she uses the other employees by inciting social pressure on that employee through subtle backstabbing. In my experience, she posts herself as the victim and the employee as the villain so she gains your sympathy. Before I met the supervisor in the department I am supposed to work in, she told me that supervisor pushes her. Though she did not elaborate, she suggested the idea that the other person can not be trusted. First impressions are lasting as they say so I was totally sold to what she was saying and began to feel antagonistic to the supervisor even before I even met her.
Little did I realize the same thing will happen to me four years later. A female doctor from the same country where I came from started to work with us in 2004. We haven’t been introduced which was nothing new to me because I noticed it is not their custom to introduce new employees during their first day of work. Months later, I tried to communicate with her to let her know I wanted to be her friend. She seemed aloof but I did not mind it at first. As we met in the hallways more often, she ignored me so I just ignored her, too. One time, as the three of us were discussing a laboratory result, she kept on giving a smirk each time I give an explanation or a comment.
The highlight of it all was when I was walking down the hallway while this female doctor was standing at the other end trying to stare me down. When I caught her eye, I know what she was trying to do. What came into my mind was a National Geographic feature about a leopard named Lakadima. When she hunts her prey, she makes that predatory stance complete with a cold, watchful stare and a silent feline walk. I imagined myself as Lakadima and her as my prey by slowing down my steps and giving her that cold,unblinking stare. We locked eyes for what a number of seconds. When I was around three feet from her, she flinched and hurried stepped inside an unlit office. After that, she never ever challenged me again.
Another of my boss’ strategy is giving the olive branch when she knows her psychological trick did not work. She probably knew she was going to have a major replacements on both hips by the middle of the summer last year, she went into damage control mode by convincing the lady doctor to befriend me. If I leave, her laboratory business will be in jeopardy. New York state recently required laboratory personnel to get licensed that year and she knew she can’t let just anybody in the clinic work there in case I leave abruptly.She also told her right hand person to tell me the lady doctor feels bad because I am ignoring her completely. Now, I am supposed to be the villain when I was the one who was insulted. She is good at manipulating perceptions and even insists on them.
One time, her assistant who sees patients even if I know she is not a doctor failed to correctly interpret a series of laboratory tests. Instead of finding out the truth of the accusations, she took it hook, line and sinker and started giving me a hard time. She told me by the hallway within earshot of the other employees that the doctors were not happy with the laboratory results. When I asked her if she can show me which results so I can investigate what went wrong, she ignored my request and just kept on scolding me for just about anything. She was beginning to complain about a lot of laboratory results now without taking part in the investigation which is part of her responsibilities as laboratory director.
She doesn’t spare anybody even her patients from deception. Most of them are illegal immigrants with no health insurance so she makes a killing by requesting laboratory tests that are not needed. No insurance company would be after her since all of them pay cash. I remembered her telling me to remind her which tests have a low census so she could push her patients for more testing which are not necessary.
I seldom see her family members so I wonder how she deals with them at home. I see that there is a very low morale in the office but since people have nowhere to go, they just take anything from her.
My only defense is that nobody knows my job and the laboratory is one of the major money earners in the office. Besides, I don’t attend any office party because I don’t trust people with a bag of psychological tricks.