Office Politics! Man, I hate that sh!t! Even though we don't work in an office, per se, the politics are there, none the less.
Generally, I try to stay out of office politics. People playing each other off each other, mini vendettas, gossip, grudges; they all seem to get in the way of actually working and doing a good job, but always seem to worm their way in anyway.
Since I've been at clinicals for almost 3 months now at 32 hours per week, people are starting to see me as a coworker rather than a lowly student. So as a consequence, I'm starting to get included in conversations about how so-and-so is a lazy worker and should be fired or how such-and-such is her fault. I prefer to work in a team-oriented atmosphere and I'm starting to realize that that idea might be a little naive, at least at my clinical site.
For the most part everyone puts on a happy face and works efficiently together, if not completely amicably. But once a person leaves the group, they usually start talking about him or her and how they would have done such-and-such differently. I quietly listen and keep my mouth shut. People have a right to vent, but when things get personal thats when I draw the line. I am not there to bad mouth people or talk about how the director sucks, I am there to learn and be taught so I stay as far away from the gossip circle as possible.
The thing that really bothers me is that they usually talk bad about a person who is just having a bad day or even someone who has screwed up just once and had to repeat an exam. So that starts me thinking, "My god, I repeat stuff all the time. What must they say about me, the idiot newbie student." But at the same time I tell myself "Hey I'm allowed to screw up from time to time. Thats why I'm here, to learn. Even if that means learning from my mistakes." So in short, I try not to include myself when the group starts gossiping, and just hope that whatever goes around about me is minimal in its personal attacks on my character. What else can I do, right?