Today’s culture is overly enamored with youth and good looks. And, wouldn’t you just know it? Those are two commodities we have less and less of as we stick more candles on the top of our birthday cakes each year.
Quick! Someone call the fire department.
Oh, Sorry, Did I Hit A Nerve?
Well, it’s true, whether we want to admit it or not. Like the classic SNL political catchphrase says: ‘I know it … you know it … and the American people know it’.
Yup, those of us in The Over The Hill Gang have discovered that finding oneself a displaced professional past the age of 50—and forced to compete for jobs against an invasion of Generation X/Millenials—is tantamount to having a dreaded disease. Like leprosy.
I won’t embarrass anyone by asking for a show of hands, but I suspect there are a number of you who can relate to this—at least judging by the number of threads about this on LinkedIn and other social media sites.
“Ewwww … Becky … Look, … It’s An ‘Old’ Person”.
New Survival Skills
As environments change, so must our means of coping with that change. Now I can only speak for myself, but I’m finding that having a healthy sense of humor and an extra helping of self-control comes in quite handy. We’re in trying times; One needs a good filter.
I’m all set in that department because my dear departed mother insisted that I develop (and always display!) good manners. Had she not, I’d be out there roaming around, showing up for interviews, crude and unskilled in how to handle myself in today’s hipster recruiting ‘space’.
Thanks to Mama’s instruction, I know how to graciously nod my head, smile politely [through my gritted teeth] and bat my sweet baby blues as I am interrogated by a condescending little fetus—for a job that I was doing while he/she/it was still in the zygote stage undergoing cell division!
Think Outside The Box
Ah yes, and haven’t we all encountered that precious little upstart interviewer who can’t find the box, let alone think outside it. However, they’re certainly quick to point out when YOU have left one blank on your archaic paper application that you had to fill out after having previously applied online.
“Um, yeah … there’s an address and phone number missing here.” … “Where?”… you ask, snatching the form out of their grubby little hand. If you’re anything like me, you want to scream, but you don’t. Rather, you take a deep breath, smile a forced smile, narrow your eyes, and say nothing.
Silently [on the inside you scream] and want so badly to stand up, tower over him/her and ask: ‘Really?! You want the name and phone number of my HIGH SCHOOL principal when I’ve been to college and out in the workplace for decades?! Darlin’, I have to ask … Did someone drop you on your head as an infant?!”
Maintaining One’s Dignity
Notice, I said that’s what we feel like saying—but we don’t, now do we? It’s imperative to our continued success that we maintain our composure, right? Thankfully (at least thus far) I’ve always had the mental wherewithal to restrain such impulses.
Though I’ve been tempted, I have yet to grab Little Lord Fontleroy by his tie and jerk him across to my side of the desk to slap the stupid out of him for even making such moronic comments.
Throwing In The Towel
Gone are the good old days. Health care (the sector where I spent my career) has irrevocably changed—and not for the better, in my opinion. Nah, this Bullwinkle has bowed out for good. She’s so over trying to pull magic rabbits out of hats.
My hands are up in surrender.
I say go ahead. Hand my prox card and executive parking space to the next wet-behind-the-ears Eager Beaver chafing at the bit to get a promotion.
I say let them figure out how to breed animals … splice genes … recombine DNA … and do whatever else may become necessary to to stay ahead of the healthcare reimbursement game. Let the younger generation enjoy getting whipsawed back and forth by constantly changing federal regulations.
In the early days of my career, I worked for my state’s medical Peer Review Organization, so don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading The Federal Register just as much as the next guy or gal. It’s just that I know my limits these days.
CPT Coding? Nope. I’ll have to pass. With my humor imp out of the closet, I can get slap-happy simply perusing the Tabular Index of the ICD-10. So don’t EVEN get me started!
All Those Pigs And Their Latin
I say, ix-nay the thought of me ever even attempting to compete with the Gerber Babies of the world. Seriously, for what? … For the ‘privilege’ of working 80+ hours a week and being a counter monkey? …
Nay. Nay. I wised up. I saw the light. I’m no longer deluded enough to intentionally jump on the hampster wheel and run furiously.
I’m no longer under the delusion that if I just somehow manage work harder and longer, that a time will come when everything will finally be ‘done’. [Insert the sound of a diabolical laugh here.] Like housework and laundry, the work involved in managing a medical practice is never done.
I also say ix-nay the prospect of me ever working as an interim administrator again. Nope. Nada. Zilch.
No more swooping in and doing all the ‘heavy lifting’ [cleaning up a practice] only to have some young upstart come along behind and look like a genius—simply because she maintained the systems and procedures that I put in place.
No Buts …
“Yes, but what about all those really messed up practices that need me?” my ego posits. With a sharp whack across the face from the back of my hand, I silence that ridiculous notion. But I do ponder the thought—if only for a nanosecond.
Then comes the resounding verdict. Nah! Been there. Done that. Got a drawer full of stupid looking t-shirts. I say … it’s high time to enjoy my life for a change—even if that means I live on the austerity plan.
I say slap the ‘Vacant’ sign on my executive chair and let’s ‘get gone’. I’ve worked har. I’ve paid my dues.
Announcement Over The Public Address System: Grandma Has Left The Building
I can sleep at night. And it’s truly like they say, ‘One monkey don’t stop no show’. All those doctors [and all their messed up practices] will be just fine—without me. I’m certain of it because:
- There’s a boatload of consultants out there. Doctors can call one of them if they get desperate.
- There’s a logjam of applicants (queued up and compliantly waiting like little clones) in The Black Hole in those Applicant Tracking Systems.
- There’s no shortage of applicants who (like lemmings) have dutifully submitted everything short of DNA samples having spent (wasted) over an hour redundantly applying for various openings on those company websites.
- There’s no shortage of business majors out there to fill any open positions.
- There’s no shortage of graduate students ready to be expelled from the bowels of our halls of higher learning.
- There’s already a line up of in-debt candidates standing in single file waving their newly minted MBA’s.
Join me in a golf clap.
Call In The Next Victim … Er … Applicant
Lastly, every practice I’ve ever managed was teeming with any number of self-anointed resident heirs apparent. Poor pumpkins, they’ve long been waiting in the wings … eyes locked on … perched and ready … looking for the slightest nod to spring forth and claim their time in ‘the chair’.
God love ’em. They know not what they face. Please bow your heads and join me in a moment of silence.
I’m a humorist so I’m purposely being over the top here. But all humor aside, I really do feel compassion for these naive folks. I started out just like them—so full of spit and vinegar.
I too, was once eager for my chance to prove that I was super-human. I too thought I’d prove something and get massive accolades for drinking from a fire hose every day. I too enjoyed having a reputation as a person who could ‘get things done’.
Yeah … okay … so now what?
Those Were The Days My Friend—No, Not Really
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I never enjoyed anything about my time in practice administration—because I did.
I’m simply saying that running Mach 1 with my hair on fire and having to stay in Stepford character all day long has somehow lost its appeal. I can’t imagine why. LOL