Transcript of 3rd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. George Landau, Thursday, February 6, 1997 at 2:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello George.
Mr. Landau: Hello Doctor. How are you?
Dr. Balis: I'm fine thanks. But shouldn't that be my question to you?
Mr. Landau: I'm only being pleasant, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: You seem weary today.
Mr. Landau: Sometimes I feel that way.
Dr. Balis: Often?
Mr. Landau: Sometimes.
Dr. Balis: Do you enjoy your work at SII?
Mr. Landau: I used to. I don't enjoy it much anymore.
Dr. Balis: Does your conflict with Mr. Taylor get in the way?
Mr. Landau: Yes. But that's not all. It's a changing job, Doctor, and it's moving away from me.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Mr. Landau: Taylor and I clash because of our personalities. But it's not just our personalities. We represent different factions. I stand for quality service, the personal touch. I really believe that if you approach a job like mine with the right attitude, you can improve someone's day.
Dr. Balis: Sounds good.
Mr. Landau: Doesn't it? And you can prioritise according to people's needs. You can make a value judgment based on how people ask you for something and how crucial it is to their work.
Dr. Balis: What faction do you think Mr. Taylor represents?
Mr. Landau: Assign the request a priority between one and five. Each department is allocated a limited number of high priority requests per year to ensure equitable division of resources.
Dr. Balis: You sounded like you were quoting there.
Mr. Landau: I was. And I'm sure you can guess who wrote it.
Dr. Balis: Can we explore Mr. Taylor's attitude a little further?
Mr. Landau: What do you mean?
Dr. Balis: Well, what do you think motivates him?
Mr. Landau: Making my life a misery. No, that's not true. He thinks he's doing the right thing. It's just that he puts the system first and people second. He's not so interested in whether our customers are satisfied, because he has his own little model which he keeps on his computer. As long as everybody keeps the model up to date, what does it matter whether we actually do anything?
Dr. Balis: It sounds to me like you would be happier being in charge.
Mr. Landau: Yes, I would. And it would be a better department. But they're not going to put me in charge, so I can forget it.
Dr. Balis: Why do you say that?
Mr. Landau: I'm too old, Doctor. They're a high-tech company. They want whiz kids who rush around striking dynamic poses. Even their psychiatrist uses's not there. Your computer.
Dr. Balis: Yes, I put it away. I thought it was making you uncomfortable last session.
Mr. Landau: That was thoughtful of you.
Dr. Balis: I would like you to get the most out of these sessions. I know how strange they can seem when you're new to therapy. I would like to do anything I can to put you at your ease.
Mr. Landau: I'm sorry. I must be a really frustrating patient.
Dr. Balis: Believe me George, I've had patients who are far more frustrating than you.
Mr. Landau: It's not even just the job. It's the world. There's no room for people like me anymore. It's more important to be seen to do the right thing than to care. I used to really like working at Gray & Hempel. I really knew what I was doing. People respected me. They enjoyed dealing with me and, if I couldn't help them, I would explain why. But I wasn't young or shiny enough, and in the end the company decided they could get by without me.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel you're not respected in your current job?
Mr. Landau: The personal touch still counts for something when you talk to people. But everyone's so busy here all the time. They don't want a pleasant exchange; they want everything done right now. If you're not that kind of person, if you're not good at...
Dr. Balis: Not good at what?
Mr. Landau: Uh, like I say, it's not just the job, it's the world. People hardly talk to their neighbors nowadays. Everyone's suspicious and isolated in their own worlds.
Dr. Balis: You seemed like you were going to say more about dealing with your customers. They want everything immediately, you're not good at...
Mr. Landau: No, no, I don't know what I meant. The point is, I would have been happier before life got this way, so fast and inhuman. I think I would have really fitted in to the golden days of family businesses, when people were proud of where they worked. When the owners would assemble the workforce to make announcements, and they would be genuinely respected. They would look after their workers. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Dr. Balis: I think so. Are you saying that people respected one another as human beings more in the past?
Mr. Landau: Yes, that's it. Mutual respect. Now it seems that's gone. We can put a dollar value on human life these days. I read about one insurance company which has a fire-fighting system to protect its big computers. If the sensors detect a fire, the room is automatically sealed and gas is sprayed in. It can put a fire out in seconds. But the gas is deadly poisonous, and there's no escape route. If you're in that room when the thing triggers, you're killed very quickly. Isn't that horrific?
Dr. Balis: It is.
Mr. Landau: And do you know why it's built that way? Because the company believes their computer files are worth far more than any lawsuits which might be brought by relatives of the deceased. And the sad thing is, they're probably correct in cash terms.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel victimized by the culture at SII?
Mr. Landau: No, not victimized. I'm in the same position as everybody else. But sometimes it seems that everybody else is more suited to it than I.
Dr. Balis: Earlier we were talking about how you felt excluded from promotion by the company's preference for younger employees.
Mr. Landau: Yes.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel your current position is threatened too?
Mr. Landau: Yes. I think Taylor would be happy to see me go. In fact I wonder if sending me here is the first step. Maybe he's only given me an illusion of choice. Don't come here and I get fired. Come here and he gathers evidence that I'm incompetent and I get fired.
Dr. Balis: I've told you before George. Nothing gets back to your boss from me. I don't know him and that would be a clear violation of my obligations as a physician.
Mr. Landau: Yes, but he can point to my sessions with you and imply that I need a psychiatrist.
Dr. Balis: Indirectly, your company has engaged me to provide mental health services to its staff. Why would it have made that investment if it didn't want these services used?
Mr. Landau: That's it on one level. But I know what people think.
Dr. Balis: If you feel you're being discriminated against, I would like to work on finding a positive response.
Mr. Landau: He's going to push me out of this company. We can't afford that. Melissa and I had children late, Doctor, and one of the reasons was so I'd be settled and on a decent income. I didn't expect all this.
Dr. Balis: George, you're speculating. If Mr. Taylor had wanted to fire you, sending you here would have been a bad move. He would be suggesting that you are ill, and firing an employee purely because of illness would be likely to get the company sued.
Mr. Landau: I'm not ill. I'm really not. It just gets on top of me sometimes.
Dr. Balis: I'm here to help you, George.
Mr. Landau: I know you mean well. I just don't think you can help.
Dr. Balis: Have you given some more thought to my suggestion that you keep a journal?
Mr. Landau: I don't have the time for that, Doctor. I have enough things to do.
Dr. Balis: Do you ever doodle?
Mr. Landau: Doodle? Why?
Dr. Balis: I find it helpful to see doodles from patients. It's not important if you don't.
Mr. Landau: So you can get some deep insight into my subconscious, is that it?
Dr. Balis: If you're not comfortable with the idea, don't worry about it.
Mr. Landau: If I do any masterpieces I'll save them for your wall, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I would settle for just scribbles. I'm afraid we are out of time for today, George. I would like to prescribe something to help you relax, but I have a feeling you wouldn't take it.
Mr. Landau: Would it see off an interfering boss?
Dr. Balis: No, it probably wouldn't. Okay, let's see how you get on this week. Your next appointment would be Monday the 10th at 4 pm.
Mr. Landau: That doesn't sound like a very long week.
Dr. Balis: Would you prefer next Thursday at this time?
Mr. Landau: How about Monday the 17th?
Dr. Balis: Yes, that would be fine. At 4 pm then.
Mr. Landau: Have a good week Doctor. Be careful.
Dr. Balis: Be careful?
Mr. Landau: I meant take care Doctor.
Dr. Balis: You too George.
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