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It has been a while since I have posted on this blog. I know I am rather hit and miss when it comes to keeping up with this blog, but here lately I have had a lot more off days than on, which makes it very hard to get focused to get anything done. That is the problem when you fight depression, you have certain days that no matter what you do you just can’t get into doing anything. You spend the whole day trying to get past your mood or the way you feel and by the time you get past them you are worn out. I guess one of my issues here since the first of the year has been trying to find a job. I was laid off by the company I worked for on New Years Eve and I have been through a couple of jobs since. I finally think I have found the job I was looking for, but now they are acting kind of strange, so just hoping everything is okay.typing lady

So what is my profession? I’m a medical transcriptionist. Many years ago this was the job that not only had prestige, it made really good money. People were charging good money per line and getting it no problem. A person could make a nice living, usually from home, and enjoyed what they were doing. I got into this profession 15 years ago. I needed a way to stay home and work as my husband was disabled and trying to take care of him and work outside of the house was getting too difficult. I got luck and after I finished my correspondence course I found a mentor who molded me into a oncology/hematology transcriptionist. I worked with her for two years and then went to work with a large company doing the big four, which is history and physicals, consults, operative notes, and discharge notes. I was making almost 9 cents a line and that was decent, especially for a fairly new MT. I worked a normal 40 hour week, had benefits, and could pay my bills. The problem is within another year we had the influx of medical records being sent to India. India was cheap and to compete with them everyone started dropping their price per line. If you were luck you could find a job that paid 8 cents a line, plus with the ups and downs of if you have work or not I found myself working at least two jobs, which meant no days off. For the last 15 years I have worked just about every major holiday, as hospitals do not close so they need someone to work.

The next thing that hit was the stay at home mom who saw all these television commercials and such that they could make good money working at home, so they took the classes, would take any rate of pay to get experience, and the already working MTs now get hit by even lower rates. Since India would do transcription for like a penny a line and these newbies would take 5 cents a line, several of your transcription companies saw where they could cash in on the low pay and you started seeing pay going down to 7.5 cents a line. The normal used to be 65 character line with spaces and now you were seeing longer character lines, or no spaces, or whatever else they could figure out to screw the transcriptionist out of a penny here or there. If you think pennies don’t mean much believe me they do. If you are making 8 cents a line and doing 1000 lines a day that would be $80, but if you are only making 7 cents a line then you are looking at $70. You have just lost $10 a day and if you work five days per week you are now losing $50 a week.

The next thing that we have started seeing over the last five years is almost all your MT companies are going to only taking independent contractors because then they don’t have to deal with taxes, health insurance, etc., but they still pay the contractor the same or less than what they would pay an employee. The real kicker here is they expect you to work a schedule, but the legal terms that make a person a contractor specifically states you cannot hold a contractor to an exact schedule. You can work out an estimated time that you would like them to do the work, but you cannot make them set an exact schedule and work it. I have been released from a company for not working an exact schedule even though I was a contractor.

Now we are in the present and we have a new problem. Almost all the small mom and pop transcription services were bought up by one of the big three MT companies. The biggest has transcriptionists in the US and India, of which most of the easier work that you can get good lines on goes over to India and then comes back to America for the English-speaking MTs to fix the grammar and get paid only 3 cents per line for editing. Oh, I forgot to mention that not only do we have India, stay at home moms, being turned into contractors, we now have voice recognition and scribes. Scribes are those people who follow the doctor around and type on the computer as he talks. I used to love doing emergency room reports, but the majority of ERs now have scribes in the ER who do all the typing, which took work away from us MTs. Now remember back as a newbie I was making 8 to 9 cents a line and now as a 15 year experienced MT I am being offered 6.5 cents for typed and 3 cents per edited line. Editing is where the report comes in already typed, but you have to listen and proof it word for word and fix any problems, which most of the time takes more time than if you just typed it yourself. I mean what other profession do you make less for the more experience you have? Crazy isn’t it? This profession is going down the tubes fast and I have no idea how to fix it. We are one profession that really needs a union, but since the majority of us work from home, never physically meet each other or our bosses, it would be a difficult thing to organize.

You might be asking why I don’t just change professions, go to school, whatever, well I have been working at home for the last 15 years. I am in my early 50s and don’t think I could handle going back into the world working in an office with all the politics and such. I really don’t want to go to school as I really have no desire to nor do I have anything I really want to do. I do have other things I am working on like my writing, art, etc. to give myself an exit plan, but it is going to be a while. I just hate the thought of a profession that is so important is going downhill. We are the people who make sure your medical records are correct. When you go to the hospital and they look up your records they can see what your allergies are, what pills you have taken, etc. and if they are incomplete or have mistakes, it could cost you your life, but it seems like the people in power don’t care because if they did they wouldn’t allow your sensitive records go to India, as the medical privacy laws do not cover anything that leaves the US. They can’t tell your spouse how you are, but they sure can send their records to who knows where and it is okay.

So I am done with my rant. I have people constantly thinking they want to become MTs and I give them all the same answer – find something else and don’t look back. Yes, 20 years ago this would have been the profession of choice, but not anymore, unless you like working for pennies, beating your hands on a keyboard as you work on production not hourly, and like being treated like a second-class citizen…. till next time.


Have you ever wondered what it was like to be an introvert? What goes on in the mind of one? Well, today I am going to answer your questions, because I am one.

Of all the types of personalities I think the introvert is one of the most misunderstood. People try to talk to us and when we don’t come off bubbly, or interesting, or whatever, we are considered to be mad, peeved, or standoffish, when all we really wanted to do was try to be friendly. I know, that sounds crazy, but believe me it is true. I have been fighting these feelings for years. I realized the other day that making conversation and trying to be friendly really is hard work. For some people they love to be in the middle of a big social event, smoozing the crowd, making conversation with everyone they can, but for an introvert this brings on panic attacks. Why you might ask? It is because an introvert has to expend so much energy trying to think of something to say, how to make sure their emotions come off as genuine, and trying to figure out what is expected of them that by the time they meet a handful of people they are so tired they just want to go sit down and people watch. The other people in the room then see this person sitting on the couch like a bump on a log and wonder what their problem is. Their problem is they are tired and are trying to recover their brain cells and composure so they can get through the evening without coming off pissed or hurting someone.

I don’t know how many people have told my loved ones in the past how I seemed like I wasn’t enjoying myself or asking if I ever talked or something along those lines. The problem is I really was trying to be friendly, make conversation, and I have gotten better over the years, but it is still a struggle. I remember when I first met my husband’s family one of them asked if I knew how to talk. Of course I knew how to talk, there was just so many of them, I was really young, and was overwhelmed with the whole situation. The older I have gotten though I have learned how to work with my condition, if you want to call it that. I really am not sure what I would call being an introvert. It isn’t a disease that you can take a pill for or a mental health issue, but just a personality trait that should be embraced for what it is instead of being misunderstood.

I have found that true extroverts have no idea what an introvert goes through. They are like why don’t you get up and talk to people? You need to work the room and meet people. Maybe I don’t want to meet people. Maybe I am getting a migraine from working so hard to act like what they think a normal person should act like. I mean really, what is wrong with enjoying myself by watching people, listening to their conversations, taking in all that is around me? Maybe while you are off smoozing I am finding out good gossip from the ladies standing behind me, or finding out that the lady in the tight fitting dress is really trying to seduce the hostess’ husband, or any other number of interesting things. If all I did was walk around the room and talk think of all the fun stuff I would have missed out on.

I guess what I am saying is try to look at your introverted friend in a different light. Just because you have no problems being the center of attention or in social gatherings, figure out why your friend is not enjoying it as much as you. You might be surprised of the wealth of information you will obtain when you start to try to understand them instead of putting labels on them and wondering why you even take them out in public. Till next time…

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