The Employment Odyssey And Why I’ll Never Look At LOL the Same Way Again

The Backstory

Many years ago, when I was a stay-at-home mom who wasn’t allowed to work outside the home, whose then 2-year-old daughter would be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (thus presenting yet another argument for staying home), I began looking into ways to earn without having to leave home.  I had already taken on the baking for the restaurant and that was a help.  But I wanted something more.  I discovered a medical transcription program that was not only online, but reputable.  I wanted to do this.  The program, at that time, cost roughly $1700.  My ex told me we didn’t have the money for this, and to either ask my family for the money, or forget it.  I didn’t do either of those.

I revisited the idea once we filed for divorce, and by that time the cost was $2500.  I didn’t want anyone’s help, so I spread the payments out and jumped in with both feet.  It took me a long time to finish, but I finally did – last October.  I passed the final with honors.  Ultimately, it wasn’t just a job to me, because I really, really enjoyed the medical field.


The medical transcription industry apparently has a “slow” hiring period between October and March, which I didn’t know before I graduated.  Nevertheless, a few were hiring entry-level grads and I tested with one of the best, passed the entry exam and was invited to watch an orientation webinar to “decide if I wanted to move forward” with them.  I did.  Then I was told there weren’t any positions for me at this time. WTF?

Next, I tested with another company, which gave me some of the worst dictation I’ve ever heard and guess what?  I didn’t pass.  They did invite me to apply again in 6 months.  It seems like what’s really out there are companies looking to cover terrible dictators, or only ESL dictators, and 2ndand 3rd shifts.  The voice files are mumbled or the docs talk so fast their words run together and unless you know them, you will not be able to decipher what they’re saying.

A handful of other companies I sent resumes to, although they weren’t hiring.  And then I got the email from my school that LOL Transcription* was hiring.  Ironically, this email came through while I was in the ER.  The next morning I sent my resume and an introduction via email.  My cell phone started ringing about 10 minutes after I got home from my stress test.  The owner was calling, concerned that I hadn’t yet responded to her email to me (after 3 hours) and wanted to “touch base.”  She wanted me to test for the doctor she needed an MT for.  So the next morning I did.  The irony here is that he is an ENT doc and I’m hard of hearing.  But I did my best, and she emailed me back to let me know that I did better than I thought I did, “lol.”  She made like she had one other girl she was testing and would let me know soon.  She hired me the next day.  Ur the lucky winner, lol!
She’s a small company – just herself and two other girls – and crazy busy.  We arranged for a “training session” via phone on the following Sunday – which lasted approximately 2 hours.  I was to start on a Tuesday, this doctor’s busiest day.  He’s on the west coast, so his dictations don’t start coming in until about 11:20 and he dictates between 40 and 50 reports until up to about 8 p.m.  So I’m trying to decipher what he’s saying and nearly every patient he’s seen on this morning is a followup and he refers to information from the previous visit, which has to be cut and pasted into the new report.  It was like this all morning, and I had to keep asking Diane* for the old reports. It was slow going, and bumpy, but it was my first day!  She sent me 12 text messages over the next 2 hours checking up on me: R u making any time Tara. Lol … K, I just ck in on u lol.  

By 6:30 there were 37 text messages from her.  All of which I responded to, which interrupted my work flow.  And to make matters worse, Ava had woken up around 2 a.m. with a stomachache, we were both up nearly all night, and so I kept her home for fear she’d gotten thevirus and would end up puking in school.

At 6:45 Diane texts me with a message ending with “lol,” and then goes on to say Can u do more. Also the numbers in the plan are messed up. What happened lol.  Now I have no idea what she’s talking about, because I am so fastidious (which is one reason it was taking so long) that I know this couldn’t have happened.  I finished 10 reports in all those hours, which is certainly NOT typical production for an experienced MT – but keep in mind it’s my first day, I’m still getting familiar with the account and the doctor, nearly all those reports referred back to older reports I had no access to, and (this is a very big AND) was taught that quality is more important than quantity when you’re starting out.  

Apparently though, LOL, Diane cared more about quantity from the get-go.  Her text messages that followed asked me if it was too much for me, if I can’t handle it, if I can’t finish more reports today she’ll have to find someone else, blah blah blah… and so I apologized, thought I had time to “train” (since I was receiving training pay), thanked her for the opportunity, and suggested she’d be better off hiring someone with more experience.  U most certainly do but I need more than 10 reports lol. Not that you need more exp, not at all. Train them fresh, Lol. Btr for me. Lol.

So, LOL, you can see where that job went.  It was no big loss, since the ratio of time spent to money earned wasn’t worth it.  She even told me he won’t pay more and will go somewhere else otherwise.  And, not that it matters, the doctor is a real asshole.  You can hear him snapping at his employees on the voice files.  I googled him to see if I could find a website describing the procedures he offers, and found none.  I did find dozens of bad reviews on him, however.

So, while I should be on the hunt again, I’m disappointed and unmotivated.  And then a friend shared this post the other day.

It was timely and apropos (once you look past the spelling error – ugh).  So now I’m having a look at why this door keeps closing.  And wondering if there’s something bigger I need to be doing.

*Names have been changed.

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