THINGS TO ACCOMPLISH PROFESSIONALLY BEFORE I DIE
I think people are either career people or job people and I'm a job people...my work only succeeds in getting me to Disney World once a year (and barely that). Aspers are notorious at not finishing anything, especially when it comes to education, because we tend to get bored with things very quickly (which I do with everything else but a small handful of things). I had a free ride to college the first time and I blew it. I subsequently tried three additional times to go back, quitting each time for different reasons (once because I wanted to spend every waking moment with my ex-husband, then boyfriend, once because I was working three jobs at the time and couldn't deal with the pressure, and once because I couldn't afford to keep going). What keeps me away now is partly money, but partly because my social anxiety has gotten worse over the years. The older I get, the easier it is just to hermit up and stay out of the world, but when I do need to accomplish things, that kind of backfires, especially on the professional front.
#1: CERTIFICATION OR DIPLOMA IN MY FIELD
I often debate finishing my education...I'm a Graphic Design dropout working in I.T. Since I'm the only I.T. person at my company, I don't have to fight for stature with the educated lot, but I've often had to work with I.T. professionals at our neighboring hospitals and nothing makes me feel stupider. I'm "good" with computers and I "know" our systems, but I don't have the technical training to deal with my work peers and more than not, it's extremely embarrassing. To be honest, I don't really care much for I.T. per se, but it's where life has taken me. I've started numerous free online courses to at least get me up to speed, but I never finish them. That's my goal, if I can't go back to college, finish at least one of these stupid courses so that I can pass a certification test.
Being an Asper can be a double-edged sword...I don't want to be noticed, I just want to live quietly in the background and skate through moments when I have to be social, be it personal or work related. But at the same time, I don't want people to see me as an idiot and I can be quite obsessive over that as well. I spent a significant amount of my non-speaking day deciding how to respond to certain situations, should they arise, as to not make me appear dumb. The other girls in the lab all think I'm brilliant, but honestly, that's not too much of a compliment coming from them. I would just like for those others that I have to deal with, my I.T. peers, to not see me as a complete waste of space...that's my goal anyway. At least three of them already think of me that way and I'd like to change their minds, but I know the only way to do that is if I'm either certified or have a diploma.
#2: BECOME A HIPAA PROFESSIONAL
As the I.T. person, I'm responsible for the company's HIPAA security requirements and am subsequently forced to be on the HIPAA committee (and for those that don't know, HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is just another crazy American bureaucracy designed to protect patients (which it really doesn't do) but instead makes work almost impossible for the providers). In recent years, it's become a HUGE part of our daily business but not a lot of people are certified in it. The ones who are make TONS of moolah. It's basically a short amount of training, a very very difficult test, and bang! You're certified! If anything would make me more marketable to my #3 choice, it's being HIPAA certified. It's very formulaic, rigid, and unyielding and I can work with that better than the unknown or the subjective and honestly, I may think it's useless for the patient, but I actually find it quite interesting to deal with.
#3: GET A "REAL" JOB
I'm not much for changing my situation. Sure, I might change my likes/dislikes or habits quite often, but I like to feel "safe", so my level of comfort at my job is paramount. My mother worked here when she was pregnant with me and continued to work for the same group of doctors at the neighboring hospital up until the time she retired a year ago. My aunt (her sister) worked with her up until she retired five years ago. I have been around these people most of my life, so it made sense that this place would be my first job (and it was). From ages 16 to 19 (when I was in college the first time), I had a definite plan for my life that centered around this place.
As per usual though, I got a wild hair to go and live with my dad, quit my job, drop out of college, and leave everything and everyone behind. That lasted about a year. I was working at the local Housing Authority in that town when I moved back home and continued to drive back and forth for another two years until my step-dad made me quit and work at the factory where he did. That's where I met my ex-husband and that job lasted all of 11 months until I went to work for the Housing Authority here for another three years until they needed part-time coverage back at the lab which turned into a full-time job (do you see the pattern yet...three years lab, three years HA, 11 months factory, three years HA, then back to the lab...the great circle of life).
I've been here ever since, and despite it's very small size, I've moved through and up the company since coming back. I started back at my original job, helping out in the histo lab, moved to transcription, then up to I.T. But, because I don't have an education or certification (well, other than my diploma in Radio Broadcasting...another wild hair from the 90's), they can pay me half of what my educated colleagues make and I can't really complain too much about it. I sacrifice money and stature for comfort and piece of mind.
So, long story short (I know, WAY too late), if I do accomplish finishing my education, I'd like to find another job somewhere else, one with stature but that pays well enough to support my very bad Disney habit. I'm sure I could eventually get comfortable somewhere else, it's not like I haven't done it before (although not in 20 years). I've had several of my docs tell me not to go back to school as well. I don't think it's because they are scared to lose me because I'm valuable, but rather because it would cost them a lot of money to replace me. That's just sad.
But again, when I really think about it, gathering up the strength and determination it would take to get me back into school would need more motivation than I.T., which I really don't care for in the first place. Right now, I'd like to go back and get a degree in either Medieval History (which would be hard to make me marketable in anything) or Astronomy (which I don't have the brains for). Ask me again in a year and you might get a different answer, hence my problem...lack of focus. Knowing what I do now, those would have been excellent degrees for me to go for right out of high school...I could be holed up in the back of a museum somewhere right now enjoying life, but alas, that boat has sailed.
#4: STOP BEING A PERSONAL COMPUTER GU-RU FOR THE DOCS
I spend way more of my personal time than I care do doing personal "tech" things for my doctors. I fix their computers at home, I program their phones, heck, I even spent a chunk of Wednesday re-editing a mix CD for one of the doctor's son's wedding! They see me as one of their personal staff instead of one of their professionals. To be honest, I don't mind it so much because I actually like that kind of work and it's what I'm best at, but I shouldn't have to do it for nothing. My predecessor charged them $75/hour for anything personal. I'm lucky if I get $40 for 4 hours worth of work. I'd like for them to respect me enough to either learn to use their own computers (if you can't use a Mac, don't buy a Mac) or pay me what I'm worth. My predecessor wasn't I.T. educated either (although he was a Med Tech with a degree) and, I'm WAY smarter than he was (and less douchy too although just saying that makes me sound douchy).
#5: LEARN TO BROADEN MY HORIZONS
This one is a bit of a throw in, but one very tiny aspect of my job is setting up clients to receive their pathology reports via a web portal. As you can imagine, I absolutely HATE doing this. Not only am I being thrust into unfamiliar territory, but I'm having to be social and professional at the same time. It's too much. I literally have to pop Xanax like Pez to get through it. I go with our part-time client services rep, but I'm not comfortable with her at all, so that just adds to the fear. She's sick more than she's able to work (she's really old), so client's are sometimes left hanging waiting for us to come set them up. I'd like to be able to go on my own and take care of this stuff. I know there is nothing I can do to ease the stress of it, but I think it could at least warrant a raise from the docs if I can handle this alone and then they wouldn't need a rep at all. Of all the items on this list, this would probably be the hardest for me to accomplish.
As I mentioned in the topic reveal post on Wednesday, I'm adding another side item to my list, a bonus item that will probably never happen, but is my ultimate dream of what I would like to happen. For this week's topic, my choice is very easy because it's something that I've thought about for years, but that would require at least a moderate lottery win to accomplish (I base a lot of my future happiness on lottery wins...have you noticed? Really sad, especially considering I rarely ever buy lottery tickets in the first place!).
My ultimate dream professional goal would be to open up my own cross stitch store. We don't have one any closer than Memphis (over an hour away), and any of the ones I've ever been too never meet, let alone exceed, my expectations. They are all either too junky or too sparse and I can never find what I'm looking for. My store would have everything I want from stands to lights to material to thread to patterns and everything in between. I don't think I would even mind learning how to professionally frame and have a frame shop in the back, if for no other reason than to frame my own stuff. Every time I've ever been in a stitch store, all they seem to do is sit around and stitch all day...can you imagine? Ultimate nirvana! And because not a lot of people go into stitch stores because it's a niche market, I could be alone most of the day (and the lottery money would keep me from going broke doing it).
I can't wait to hear everyone else's bucket list items, this was kind of a hard topic...at least for me!