February 17, 2020

Move Over Grandma

It’s True

We live in a culture that is overly enamored with youth and good looks. And, as luck would have it, those are the two things that we have less of each year as we add more candles to the top of our birthday cakes. Someone call the fire department. Oh, sorry, did I hit a nerve?

Well, it’s true, whether we like the thought of it or not. Like the old Saturday Night adage says: ‘I know it … you know it … and the American people know it’. Being a displaced professional over 50 looking for a job in today’s marketplace is tantamount to having leprosy. You don’t have to raise your hands but I suspect there are a number of you reading this who can relate. At least I think you can, based on the number of threads about this that I’ve seen on LinkedIn and other social media sites lately.

‘Ewwww Becky. Look, it’s An Old Person’.

Survival Skills

Whad’dya gonna do! Me? I find that a healthy sense of humor, an extra helping of self-control, and a very strong filter goes a long way toward keeping it together in such trying times.

Had my mother not insisted that I develop good manners, here I’d sit today—not knowing how to graciously nod my head, smile politely [through my gritted teeth] and bat my sweet baby blues while being interviewed by a condescending little fetus—for a job that I was doing while she yet a zygote undergoing cell division!

Ah yes, and haven’t we all encountered that precious little upstart interviewer who can’t think outside the box, yet they can certainly can point out when you have left one blank on your employment application. “Um, there’s an address and phone number missing here.”

“Where?” we ask, looking at the form.

If you’re like me, you immediately want to scream, but don’t. Rather, being the nice lovely people that our parents raised us to be, we force a smile, and say nothing. But silently we want to stand up, tower over them, and shout: ‘Really?! You want the name and phone number of my high school principal when I’ve been to college and in the workplace for decades?! Darlin’, did someone drop you on your head as an infant?!

As I said before, that’s what we want to say.

It is imperative that we maintain our composure at all costs, right?  Thankfully, thus far, I’ve always had the mental wherewithal to restrain my impulses. And though I wanted to, I have yet to grab Little Lord Fontleroy by his tie and jerk him across to my side of the table and slap the stupid out of him for making such moronic comments!

Throwing In The Towel

In my view, health care [the sector where I spent my career] has irreversibly changed—and not for the better. This Bullwinkle has bowed out for good. I’m LONG past trying to pull magic rabbits out of hats. So I say go ahead. Give my prox card and executive parking space to the next wet-behind-the-ears Eager Beaver who is chafing at the bit to have the job. .

I say let them figure out how to breed animals, recombine DNA, splice genes, and do whatever else may be necessary to eke out enough revenue to stay ahead of the whack-a-mole game of practice management and physician reimbursementy.

Let the younger generation whip and nae/nae with the Medusa of constantly changing federal regulations. I worked for my state’s Peer Review Organization at one point in my career. 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.

With my humor imp out of the closet, I can get slap-happy just 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 again attempting to compete with the Gerber Babies of the world. And for what? The ‘privilege‘ of working 80+ hours a week and being a counter monkey? Nay. Nay. You see, I wised up. I’m no longer deluded enough to 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, practice management is never done.

I also say ix-nay the prospect of me ever acting as an interim administrator again. Nope. Nada. Zilch. No more swooping in and doing all the ‘heavy lifting’ and cleaning up a practice, only to have some young upstart come along and look like a genius because all they did was maintain the systems and procedures I put in place.

“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.

It’s high time to enjoy myself for a change. Even if that means I’m on the austerity plan. Nah, I say slap the ‘Vacant’ sign on my executive chair and let’s ‘get gone’. Lord knows, I’ve worked hard. I’ve paid my dues. And, based on the amount of L’Oreal I use these days—I’m definitely worth it.

Announcement Over The Public Address System: Elvis Has Left The Building

I can sleep at night, having made this decision. And it’s like they say, ‘One monkey don’t stop no show’.  All those doctors and all those messed up practices will be just fine without me. I’m certain of it because:

    • There’s a boatload of consultants out doctors can call if they get really desperate.
    • There’s a logjam of applicants queued up and waiting like little compliant little clones in The Black Hole of all those online Applicant Tracking Systems. And like lemmings, they’ve dutifully submitted everything but DNA samples when they wasted spent over an hour applying for each opening on those company websites.
    • There’s no shortage of business majors out there to fill the bill. Each year a new crop of graduate students are expelled from the lower intestines of our revered halls of higher learning. They’re all standing in single file, ready to burst onto the scene waving their newly minted MBA’s. Join me in a golf clap.

And lastly, every practice that I’ve ever helped had any number of resident [self-appointed] heirs apparent. 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 position in ‘the chair’.

God love ’em. They know not what they face. Please bow your heads and join me in a moment of silence.

Obviously, as a humorist, I’m being purposely over the top here. But, humor aside, I really do feel compassion for these naive folks. I started out just like them.

I too, was so full of spit and vinegar. I too, was once eager for my chance to prove that I was a super-human. I too thought I’d prove something and get accolades for drinking from a fire hose on a daily basis. I too enjoyed having a reputation as someone who could ‘get things done’. Yeah … okay … so now what?

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

But as John Kay and Steppenwolf sang in their 1969 hit song ‘Move Over’:

Yesterday’s glory won’t help us today — You want to retire — Get out of the way
I ain’t got much time — The young ones close behind —I can’t wait in line


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