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CIO Unplugged 10/30/13

October 31, 2013 Ed Marx 5 Comments

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine personally and are not necessarily representative of current or former employers.

Secret to Great Sex…and Other Faux Pas Along My Journey

Skipping the rank of manager, I catapulted from physician relations coordinator to director of information technology. I had worked plenty with a cadre of nurse directors at my former employer, so I expected the same stereotype when I landed at Parkview. Boy, was I wrong!

My first week post-orientation, I attended a mandatory leadership class on counseling employees using a new behavioral technique. After the theory lesson, we were randomly partnered with a peer to practice our newly acquired skills. My partner was the director of surgical services, and she was a young knockout. I had expected someone seasoned in looks and experience, but this woman made me nervous.

I hate to disappoint any readers, but I was struggling. I was afraid that my subconscious might win over my conscious and say something bad. I was coaching myself to not say any word that might even remotely sound sexual or land me in trouble. I recall moving into her personal space, per instruction, locking eyes and going through our training script, fumbling for words. I started to sweat but made it through. Phew! Deep breath.

She then began. She moved in, locked eyes and with all sincerity asked me, “What is your secret to great sex?” She quickly spewed, “secret to success,” but it was too late. Our uncontrollable laughter lasted a good 15 minutes. The instructor moved us to the corner of the room because we were disrupting others. It was the hardest I had laughed, ever. We eventually regained composure, and a great working relationship was born. Adding to the drama, the next morning at 7 a.m., I presented to the surgical committee and she was sitting there smiling, thinking the same thing as I was. I looked away.

Over the years, I created many faux pas or bloopers. Here’s my best:

  • I regifted some chocolates only to learn from the recipient that when they opened the confection, the originating thank you note meant for me was inside.
  • I managed a rock band on the side. Late one night while working at the office, I inadvertently sent the band contract and operating agreement out to the entire IT department. Not only was it full of financial information, but moreover, a code of conduct that was very personal.
  • I replied to an “email” from our CMIO that had been generated inside of our internal collaboration software. He relayed his concern regarding a public posting from another physician that might have violated our solicitation policy. I replied that not only was it a gross violation, but that the doc had frequently done this on my Facebook page as well. About five minutes later, another colleague sent me a note asking me if I knew that my reply was posted to every employee instead of just my CMIO.
  • I was speaking with two fellow officers when a third one joined our conversation. I said with utmost sincerity, “Hey, here is our best hospital president in the entire health system.” As soon as I let that loose, I realized the other two were also hospital presidents.
  • Our COO was wrapping up his closing remarks after an all-day leadership meeting. The technical aspects went without a glitch. I instant messaged the admin who was running the operation when, lo and behold, my IM popped up on the screen on top of the presentation. “Phew, so glad the technology worked for once.” I shrank in my chair as the audience chuckled.
  • I was dancing the night away at an after work party. While I prefer ballroom and Argentine Tango, I can hold my own freestyle. Or so I thought. The people who could clearly “move like Jagger” later told me that I “danced like a white man.” I don’t know if that’s an offensive statement to anyone else, but to me it said that I danced like a dork, or at least that’s how it made me feel.
  • One of my nurse managers had been asking to go out to lunch and I was forced to cancel twice. Finally, my schedule opened up, so I teasingly messaged her “Our time has finally come to be together.” She agreed to meet me in our lobby at the appointed hour. I was shocked when a different nurse manager showed up and realized I had asked the wrong person out. Talk about an awkward lunch.
  • Sexting to the wrong person. I have not done this yet, but know it’s only a matter of time. My wife and I exchange all sorts of texts from “pick up some eggs on the way home” to … well use your imagination. Someday I am certain it will go the wrong person. Hopefully not my HR colleagues.

Over the years, I’ve learned to laugh at myself. My foibles and blunders will be around as long as I’m alive. It’s called being human, and we can’t take ourselves too seriously. Ever. Do you have a work faux pas that needs a good laugh?

Ed Marx is a CIO currently working for a large integrated health system. Ed encourages your interaction through this blog. Add a comment by clicking the link at the bottom of this post. You can also connect with him directly through his profile pages on social networking sites LinkedIn and Facebook and you can follow him via Twitter — user name marxists.

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5 Responses to “CIO Unplugged 10/30/13”

  1. 1
    Sara Says:

    Was writing a friend of mine an email of how stupid my boss was. I hit send and realized I sent it to my boss. I ran in his office he was on the phone cut in front of him and deleted the message from the inbox and deleted box. Now I know there is a way to recover those kinds of things thankfully he was not that computer literate.

    I do believe I have sent sexy text to the wrong person.

    My BFF accidentally said I love you to her bosses voicemail. Out of habit when hanging up. LOL

  2. 2
    daddio62 Says:

    Thanks for the stories Ed. Good to know they weren’t career-ending.

  3. 3
    Jaime@ Rush University Medical Center Says:

    Ed –

    Great stories and great presentation at the eHealth Initiative 2013 this week. Already looking at ways to “admire the journey” and “appreciate the secondaries.”

  4. 4
    Michael Archuleta Says:

    Great stories ED! This made my day!

  5. 5
    Tanya Mitchell Says:

    I was ending a call with a co-worker, that has the same first name of my husband, by telling him I loved him. He called back an hour later and told me he was flattered, but uncomfortable, and to please not tell him I loved him again. I was mortified! Luckily I gained enough witts to explain the name of my husband. He took a deep breath and said “thank god”! We laugh about it now.

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