Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Meeting

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.


Tom said...

I hope the meeting is not so bad as you fear. If you do lose your job, or get your hours cut, do not dispair. There is work out there that focusses on what you do best.

Nagarjuna said...

We shall soon see. I doubt that any of us will be laid off immediately. There's still enough work to be done in the main file room to keep us reasonably busy for a few more weeks. However, there's no doubt in my mind that big changes are coming and that these changes will necessitate some layoffs. And seeing as how I'm one of the most recent hires, I will probably be one of the first let go.

But at this point, I'm merely speculating. Better to wait until 2:30 this afternoon and listen to the Big Boss speak. Still, I'm sure glad my new medical billing class started yesterday.