Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer


Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 30, 2010

Roger, a psychoanalyst, sixty-two, was deeply involved in his psychoanalytic institute for his entire thirty year career as a psychiatrist/psychoanalyst. He served on committees, he taught candidates at the institute, he gave parties, he went to conferences, symposiums, presentations by local and out-of-town speakers. He enjoyed the camaraderie, the intellectual stimulation, the feeling of belonging, similar to the high school experience of “fitting in”. Regimes change, the leadership of the institute began to shift, such that his buddies were no longer in positions of power. As such, the new leaders tapped the shoulders of their friends, their cronies, to do the “work” of the institute. Roger began to feel marginalized and demoralized. His years of voluntary service began to fade away in his colleagues’ mind. He no longer felt he belonged. Understanding the issue is clear to Roger. The adage “it is not what you know, it is who you know” rings loudly for him these days. The emotional overlay of disappointment and abandonment also rings loudly for him. Roger wants to feel appreciated. He is searching for validation. His world has changed; Roger has to adapt. Grief, followed by rebuilding a professional community is his path. Good luck Roger.

2 Responses to “Cronyism”

  1. Shelly said

    Great blog. How do you advise Roger to adapt to the situation? This life lesson can be applied to almost any situation. Regimes and management changes occur every day in the “real world”. What do us “old timers” do to still count and not become redundant? Learn new skills? Learn to network better? Adapt?

    • Adapt or die, is the mantra. How to adapt is the art. I encourage Roger to think strategically about how he wants to proceed. Yes, cronyism is universal. The struggle for relevance never ends. Learning new skills, meeting new people, and understanding the systematic changes are important ways in which to navigate a competitive environment where people strive to get to the top of their perceived pyramid.

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