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Such an awesome post! - ThisIsMyStory

Posted: May 13th, 2017 - 5:12 pm In Reply to: you probably will want to kick me - but I came to board

You took the words right out of my mouth! I was sedentary, gaining lots of weight, depressed, lonely, isolated, and struggling to stay motivated in a job that no longer seemed to be valued--we were being replaced by technology and by cheap foreign labor. Each day I'd wonder, "Will my job last? Should I try to take on a second job for more security? Should I get some king of training? How will I come up with this month's electric bill? Who would hire me?" I went round and round and never made a real move because, when I truly face things, I was fearful. I knew this career was dying and conditions and pay becoming intolerable for most of us (mine had dramatically dropped despite years of experience), that I was too isolated and becoming increasingly introverted, and that my own fears were keeping me trapped in a very unhealthy situation, both physically and emotionally. I had gained so much weight that most of my pants barely fit, some actually didn't. I had a car, but it no longer would start as it had sat too long (ended up needing a new battery and some other minor work done). I also had rusty Microsoft Office skills and clerical abilities in general. I was terrified of working with phones and dealing with other people. I had developed what I thought was irritable bowel syndrome, too. I was depressed and, quite honestly, I was feeling suicidal as this much isolation is not good for the human spirit. I was in a bad, bad place. I sat on my ever-increasing bottom and accepted lower and lower pay and horrible conditions, while trying to provide near impossible levels of accuracy with extremely difficult work along with pages of requirements. I cried a lot. As work dwindled, I chased down reports and shifted my schedule until I worked full graveyard, which triggered more depression and more weight gain, and all for no extra compensation, until those reports vanished, too. I signed in on weekends hoping something would come in because I was short for 2-3 days during the prior week. I volunteered to work all holidays because I needed the money and wanted to be a team player, especially since the company might have decided to trim MTs as the work volume declined. I never took vacations any more. I could not be sick. I was miserable and trapped and desperately trying to hang on. I overdrafted my checking account frequently as I simply wasn't making it.

Finally, yet again, the company I worked for closed its doors. This had happened several times, and I was now unemployed.

I was at a fork in the road--keep trying to transcribe in this dying industry, which would mean starting over again with another MTSO and struggling to learn new accounts while making barely any money, or find something outside and finally face down my fears and low self-esteem. I finally accepted that I MUST take a bold step and chose the latter as it was a matter of survival now.

It was tough and scary to get going. My heart would race, palms would sweat, and my voice would quaver. I googled, "how to get over fear of interviewing," "how to tackle tough interview questions," "how to overcome fear of starting new job," and picked up tips. I reworked my resume and wrote a fresh cover letter, and in just a couple of days after sending them out, I was invited to interview. Somehow I managed to highlight my strengths and landed the job working in an office.

I dug through my closet and found my loosest pants and tops to wear. I added a knit jacket to cover my wide hips (ugh). More importantly, though, while on the job, I took notes all day and focused every ounce of my attention on learning. I took home my notes and rewrote them to help get things into my head, which helped boost my self-confidence. Additionally, I made a conscious effort to smile at people and attempt to get somewhat over my shyness, and I'm definitely improving and have actually made a friend. She and I have found ourselves laughing about our kids or life experiences or whatever, and I'm now looking forward to seeing her each day. How cool is that? My other coworkers are also kind and helpful--some are really funny, too, and make work seem nearly pleasant. Nobody is harsh towards me. Oh, and there are other coworkers who are rather larger people, bigger than I am for sure.

So, I've discovered that what was holding me back is my own thinking process: negativity, self-doubt, shyness, and fears. Oh, and I have had some issues with my IBS (or whatever it is), but I keep Imodium in my purse, I watch what I eat (I know many of my triggers), and I'll head to the bathroom if I need to--it's not like there aren't bathrooms.

From all of this, I'm starting to lose a little weight, and I feel so much brighter and relieved because financially I'm earning a steady check. I am also really progressing at work and have been clearing my workload and asking for additional work. They're surprised by this, but I've worked production for so long that I focus in and can get through a large volume of work like nobody else. This also boosts my self-esteem. And, when I run out of work (which has happened), I get paid regardless. Nobody fines me financially if I make a mistake either. I'm no longer chasing down work but have weekends and evenings off, too. There are so many benefits that it's tough to even list them all. Yes, honestly, there are challenges still, but everything has a good side and a bad side, but in weighing the two situations, I'm far happier not having to worry about workload and fluctuating pay. I don't chase down reports, and I can sleep at night. It is an adjustment being around people and chatter, but I'm acclimating to that bit by bit, too.

If you're still settling for a miserable situation, and I know some are doing okay but many are not, take a close look at your situation. Are the obstacles in front of you things that you can overcome? Are you holding yourself back? Can you take baby steps towards getting onto a better career? Is more training in something else an option, or are there local jobs you might qualify for? If you have IBS, can it be controlled with Imodium and/or a more careful diet or maybe help from a physician? Also, remember that even if some of your skills are rusty, I'm finding that they come back rather quickly (like riding a bike) and that as an MT, you have some excellent skills, too. For example, having worked in production, you are able to push through and accomplish a tremendous amount of work, so you have persistence. You've had to work without direct supervision, so you have self-motivation, self-reliance, and diligence. You also have strong attention to detail, excellent keyboarding and data entry skills, knowledge about EMRs and records, ability to navigate a computer and to effectively research, and don't forget grammar, punctuation, and editing for inconsistencies/errors. Additionally, you have customer service skills as you've had to not only keep an MTSO happy and meet quality, quantity, and deadlines, but the physicians who you've transcribed for, including those who have peculiar requirements. Finally, if you're seeking work in a medical facility, you also have a related background that includes medical terminology, anatomy, diseases, and pharmacology. These are skills that many companies are looking for and MTs have them.

On this Mother's Day weekend, I received the following from an adult daughter:

"I know it's tough on you with all the career change, but I'm proud of you. You are a hard worker, so smart, and you set an amazing example."

Those words mean the world to me as my daughter recognizes my struggle to overcome, though she does not know the depths of my despair at times, but she's proud of me.

On this Mother's Day weekend, I wish all of you, my sister MTs (and brothers, too), much good luck, and I hope my own experience will help someone else.

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