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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December Reflections - 2017 - I was challenged by...

Typewriter relic
This year I was challenged by a significant drop in my income, completely unexpectedly.  Well, I should say that I suppose I knew eventually the transcription business would dwindle, but I didn't expect it to decrease by half in one year.  I am primarily a medical transcriptionist and when I started 17 years ago I was picking up mini cassettes (and in most cases the medical records as well) and bringing them home to transcribe.  Not quite as old as this typewriter but you get the idea.

Another typewriter relic - LOL

At one point I was doing transcription for 6 doctors, four of them were orthopedics, one an ear, nose and throat doctor and one a dermatologist.  I was pretty busy.

Then a few of the orthopedic doctors decided that it would be cheaper to outsource their work overseas.  I was affected but I picked up another client so it was not so bad.  Then I happened to get introduced to a friend of a friend who also had a secretarial business but she didn't do medical transcription.  I began a collaboration with her that has lasted about 10 years.  It is through her that I was able to start doing transcription via audio files which were sent to me through emails and I would transcribe them and send the completed reports back, also via email, all with passwords to make sure the confidentiality remained due to the strict regulations regarding medical information.

Over the last few years one of my doctors retired, another one decided to have one of his office staff do the transcribing and a couple of others just decreased the amount they were dictating.  The appearance of software programs like Dragon Dictate didn't help either because the younger doctors started doing their own transcription. 

This year, however, has been the sharpest decline.  In May one of my doctors suddenly retired due to personal issues.  At the same time I noticed a decline in the amount of work I was getting from every source, so much so that I went from logging $3000 a month to barely $1500 and I've gone from six doctors down to two and a half (one is so sporadic that I am billing them every three months).  It is hard to budget when you are not sure how much money you will have each month!

It was because of this inconsistency that I decided to go to work outside the house for the first time since 2002.  I was able to get a job at Michaels and that will hopefully help me ease into retirement.  It definitely has been a challenge!

What were you challenged by this year?  Ever have to suddenly change occupations?  Love to hear your story.

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