February 7th, 2010

Good for you

Virginia, Slim

Last week, one of the senior CRAs (clinical research associates) decided to become quite effusive with praise and sent the following e-mail to my bosses:
I just wanted to let you know what a pleasure it is to work with Sunil.
He is always so on top of things and is eager to help in any way.
He now has volunteered to give a webinar on Friday to all the sites and CRAs on SAEs [serious adverse events] and Med Net [EDC (electronic data capture) system].

All the [sponsor] CRAs have told me that he is such a great resource and is always available to resolve any questions that they have on SAEs and MedNet ( and we know these are a lot!)

Just thought it would be nice for you to know we all appreciate him!
My boss responded:
Thank you for your e-mail. It is great to hear that others appreciate him as much as we do!
And then her boss—my former boss—passed the e-mail along to his boss, the VP:
Just thought you'd appreciate this message as well – he really has come a long way!
And then he responded, copying a couple other VPs (I should note that I was not copied on any of these, but my boss forwarded them to me):
This is a terrific email and evidences your focus on Sunil's professional growth and development. I hope that you are both proud of the tremendous opportunities you have afforded him.
This is the VP who, in my first year at the company, got on my case—through my boss—about nodding off in meetings and being unprofessional in my business communications. And, looking back at those early e-mails recently, I am embarrassed at what I thought was appropriate. But now, over three years later, I have grown professionally, increased my responsibilities, and earned a promotion.

And yet I still refuse to believe I am deserving of such praise. I get points for answering people's questions? Of course I answer their questions! It saves me a lot of headache! I am eager to help because it makes my job easier. I gave the webinar so sites would stop being stupid. I feel like all the things I do are just part of being a good worker and a good person in general, nothing special or impressive. Every time someone tells me how good I am at my job, it makes me wonder what other sorts of people they've dealt with. I get annoyed and angry at the fact that there are so many incompetent people who have jobs.

I am at least mostly competent.