I just can’t help ranting about this since this blog is supposed to be about work-life balance and being a mother (i.e. woman) in medicine. Mondays are my day off. Today is a Monday. Mondays are also when my department has decided to hold its monthly departmental meeting. Now, I certainly don’t expect them to schedule meetings around me. And since I was one of the big promoters of these meetings (we had but one meeting during my first 18 months in this department), I feel obliged to show up. But you can imagine how pleased I was (read the sarcasm) to be going in at 4pm on a beautiful (12 degrees and sunny!) afternoon on the first day of March Break.

We sit down at the meeting, and the Chief looks directly at me and asks me to take the minutes. The history here is that last month, she requested that SOMEONE take the minutes while looking directly at me and the person beside me (young, female psychologist). I refused to offer last time. This time, I was pointedly asked. I should tell you that I am the youngest member of my department but NOT the most junior, that would be a male 5 years my senior in chronological age but 3 years my junior in the department. The rest of the department is divided evenly male:female but they are all over 45 years of age.

I once again state that I am not a good choice for taking the minutes, I have TERRIBLE handwriting that even I can’t read sometimes (the reason I have embraced electronic medical records). The Chief argues with me about how I don’t have to write much, it is not a big deal, while eleven other people watch. I would like to tell you that the reason I was asked is because she thought I would do a good job or I have some special role in the department. But no – I am fairly certain that I was asked because I am a YOUNG (ish) FEMALE. ARGHHHHH!

Of all the societies and organizations I have ever been involved with, I have never volunteered to be the secretary precisely because I hate taking minutes and I am not good at it! So I asked the person next to me if she would do it, because she always makes a big deal about how paper records are better and she does a beautiful job of it (she really does do a beautiful paper record). She tries to refuse based on the fact that she hasn’t written anything yet until I point out that I was actually NOT PRESENT for the first 10 minutes of the meeting.

In the end, a 50-year-old male took the minutes. I stood my ground and I don’t feel one bit apologetic.

And I am going to recommend that next time, we invite our secretary to the meeting so she can, you know…take the minutes.