Friday, December 10, 2004

Thanks for all the welcomes

Thank you all who visited and posted welcomes. I assume everybody found me after my Blogfaddah posted. Smash is probably the patriarch of a horde of blogging offspring so it was nice of him to mention me.

I had never visited a weblog in my life until I heard about Smash's Live from the Sandbox on conservative talk radio. (Can't remember who it was but he was filling in for Rush Limbaugh.) I checked the site as soon as I got out of my car and have been hooked ever since. Probably 40 of every 100 hits to Smash's site are me, checking for updates. :o)

Another favorite blog of mine is the ever-frightening BlameBush! Heaven forbid I should ever meet Liberal Larry in person. T'ain't likely, since I am safely surrounded by Red States, so I shall merely visit his site for enlightenment, like, forty or fifty times a day.

NJ asked how I became a medical transcriptionist. The short answer is, I did it all wrong, and it's a wonder I have made any success of things at all. I was working in the publishing field in Southern California as a typesetter, got caught up in the recession (it hit SoCal late but hard nonetheless) and was laid off just at the time our first child was born. MTs like to joke about maternal hormones kicking in and making people want to be medical transcriptionists, and I'm afraid that's exactly what happened with me. It only took one look at that warm, screaming little bundle of baby girl to make me sure I didn't want to leave her and go back to commuting an hour each way to work full time in an office. Every last ounce of yuppieness drained away.

I took advantage of unemployment and job retraining time to take some very limited training at the local junior college, then leaped head first into the job market, inadequately trained and having really no clue how little I knew. I still sometimes pray that my mistakes didn't cause anybody real harm, like by transcribing the wrong medication and not even realizing it. It took years on the job to realize just how vast the knowledge base has to be. Indeed, one of the things I like best about this job is the fact that one can never know it all. There is always something new to be learned.

I have now been an MT for nearly 12 years and work for a large nationwide service, the largest in the country and possibly the world. Our work is changing. Even while medical documentation is becoming more and more important to patient care, there is growing and intense fee pressure on providers. Many MTs are seeing our work change from keyboard transcription to editing of speech recognition files as a cost-cutting measure. Many of us have seen our work go offshore to the Indian subcontinent and to the Philippines. US wages have not risen in years and are actually dropping in some areas.

I used to recommend that people who were interested pursue this field; now I am not so sure. In the short term I think it's still a good prospect, but not in the long term, say, 10 years or more.


NJ said...

I've recently become interested in MT-ing because it would allow me to work from home. I've just never known the process involved in becoming one.

I've never enjoyed the commute, the office politics, I'm not a yuppy and I cannot understand the person who claims that they would be bored if they didn't have their jobs outside of the home. Every morning that I wake up, I can think of at least 50 things, besides my full-time job and going to school, that I want to do before the day is through.

My whole life, I'd always wanted to be an actress. I started working in tv and films right out of high school in Chicago and then moved to Austin, TX and was planning a move to L.A., when 9/11 happened. All I could think about was moving back to Milwaukee to be near my family - it was what seemed to be the most important thing, family. After being back awhile, I started college desperate to find a new path that I could pursue with the passion and vigor I felt for acting and it became clearer to me that, aside from acting, what would really make me happy is to simply be able to work at home. I'm a real homebody. I love cleaning and organizing the house, I love ironing my bedding, I love the feel of fresh and dust-free... I've always known that should the man of my dreams, marriage and babies bless my future that I'd want to stay home, but I certainly can't sit around waiting for that to happen in order to be happy. Also, what if that never happens for me? Then I will look back on a life of just "killing time" waiting, basically. And so, that is where I find myself; trying to find a way to stay home and be self-sufficient. Not easy, but I'm sure there's a way.

Northeast Iowa Mom said...

NJ, you can come to my house and dust and clean and iron the bedding. MT is still WORK. I am home, sure, but I'm typing. I'm not cleaning house.

NJ said...

No, no... I know. I was just trying to emphasize my fervor for homebound activities.

I do know that I would have to, as you put it, WORK. But it would make me infinitely more happy to be able to simply walk down the hall to my home "office;" to be at home. If I can't resist doing a load of laundry... well, then, so be it. ;)