Wednesday, September 12, 2012
A LITTLE HISTORY...
Up until July 1, 2010 I ran my own medical transcription company. I started the business in 1998 because our son's health issues required more flexibility than I could find working for someone else. Oh, sure, at interview time former employers had professed an understanding of his health and a willingness to be as flexible as I needed...as long as the job was getting done. And, the job ALWAYS got done (I tend to be perfectionistic and anal about my responsiblities), even if it meant being in the office at 5:00 AM to work my full 40 hours a week and stay on top of the work load. However, my employer still found the frequency of my son's illnesses and need for rearranging my schedule problematic. So much for understanding! I have worked in the medical field since 1980 and can honestly say that the healthcare field has no more understanding and empathy with regard to illness than any other type of employer. A business is still a business and their bottom line is still their bottom line. The only solution I could see was to become the employer myself. I knew I understood the needs of business and of my family and was absolutely certain I could find a way to give work the priority it deserved and my son the priority I had guaranteed him the day my husband and I decided to start a family. My family was, is, and always will be the most important thing in the world to me. And so...I took the leap from employee to employer.
For the next 12+ years I worked hard, routinely working 8 to 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. At one point I typed 8 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, for three months straight before I took even one day off. The only "holiday" I took off without fail was Christmas Day. My vacations were timed to those of my big clients and my cell phone rang even on the beach. I was well known in the local medical community for quick turnaround, almost 100% accuracy, and a willingness to go the extra mile. The business grew and I actually began turning down prospective customers as I held the balance between my personal needs and the level of performance I expected of myself and the people who did work for me. Compromise on either front was unacceptable.
Then in late 1999, early 2000, I began to have health issues of my own. I threw that ball into the mix and began to juggle a little faster. By the time 2004 rolled around my health was heading downward fast...and 2009 found me barely holding on. I had a myriad of documented medical conditions/diagnoses, constant pain from Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and neurologic symptoms of an unknown cause...that were progressing.
In 2010 my largest and longest held client announced a business merger that would eliminate the need for my services. It was the break I desperately needed. I made the decision to close my business and accept what I thought would be an "easier" job, working for someone else...a 37.5 hour a week position simply proofreading the work of other transcriptionists. Surely my body could handle that! Right? Wrong. Unfortunately my health continued to decline and just 16 months after starting my new "easier" job it became apparent that I couldn't handle even a less physically challenging position. My working days had come to an end.
On October 21, 2011 I left my job and began my new life.