I and my co-workers have been concerned for some time about the faltering economy combined with our ever-diminishing workload in the main file room of the medical records department of a major metropolitan health care system. We primarily process paper medical charts that leave and come into our department. But as more and more of these charts are being converted into electronic form, there are fewer and fewer paper charts for us to handle. This means that our department needs fewer and fewer clerks such as myself to do the work that needs to be done, unless we can be trained to perform new tasks. Yet, even if we could be, it seems that our department won't need as many of us as it has in the past. When thousands of paper charts are moving through the department every day, many clerks are needed to pull, toss, scan, bundle, un-bundle, repair, file, and transport them. But when this daily flow of paper charts reduces to a comparative trickle of hundreds or fewer or ceases altogether and most or all patient information is processed by computer, a virtual skeleton crew can probably take care of business.
So my co-workers and I have been waiting for months for the bad news, and we just learned yesterday that it may well come tomorrow, Friday. We relatively new per diem clerks, as opposed to the "career" clerks who've been there for many years, have been asked to come in to work thirty minutes early tomorrow for a special meeting concerning "future plans" for our department. We all think this means that we're going to be told that some, if not many, of us are going to be laid off immediately or in the near future. We could be wrong about this, but I suspect that we're right and that it's time to start looking seriously for another job.
This can be a daunting task for just about anyone in today's economic free fall. For a guy like myself, it can be even more so. But a guy's got to do what a guy's got to do, and so I will.
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