Saturday, February 21, 2009

How does it feel? To be on your own, Like a rolling stone

I guess I'm a rolling stone now. I lost my job yesterday.

If you read my last post, you know. Numbers were down. It was a case of the candle burning at both ends. On one side, we had my employer expanding & sending doctors to outlying areas - then the patients opted to have their tests at their home hospital instead of driving to the main campus. (Economic reasons? High gas? Probably.) On the other side, the economy was just flat out knocking down our numbers. Healthcare may be recession-proof, but diagnostic imaging is not. People can't afford to come have an expensive test if they don't have insurance. People can't afford their 10% if they DO have insurance.

I make good money, but if you subtract the cost of the medicines themselves & the supplies, one test would still pay my salary for five weeks. I don't know how much the machines cost per test. But if one machine lasts for ten years (and that's probably close to average), and if they cost twice what they did 15 years ago, then they'd only need to do two tests a month to pay for it. I figure if my house costs $300 a month to keep it heated & cooled & watered & hooked up to the phone (and it really doesn't cost that much), one test ought to pay for lights & water for one scan room for two years. I know all these things add up, & I know I don't know everything about running a hospital, but I think what they've been making from my work area in the course of a month minus the salaries, the benefits, the medicines, the estimated cost of a month of using the machine and the utitlities equals 1 million dollars. I know they don't get the full price for every test either. It's much more complicated than all that. It is just that - it is complicated.

That's my ranting. I won't go into the politics of who got what or whose fault it is or any of that. It is possible that I could be offered another job through Vanderbilt. It is hard to say. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know when, really. I go back Monday, & then we take it day by day, I guess, until the paperwork is completed. Then I get paid for awhile afterwards, then...we will see if the other job is open. I don't have to make up my mind right away about what I'm going to do, but a lot of this wasn't my choice. I didn't do it my way this time.

It is a strange feeling to look across the table at the person who hired you, who was someone you trained back in the day, telling you that your services are no longer needed. It is strange to think, I changed my whole life for this, to drive 35 miles one way to work so that my kids could have assistance going to college, & then find out, I may have to start all over. I have to work there full time for 5 years to get that benefit. When I started my kids were 15 and 12. Five years would've put the benefit going into effect at ages 20 and 17. I could've gotten the benefit for half of Rachel's college, all of Derek's. Now, if all I can get is part-time in three months, and if indeed it does become full-time again in six, and I have to start over the kids will be 17 and 14. Five years would put it completely out of Rachel's range, and cut off a year out of Derek's. And that's provided I get full-time that soon.

Randy said, "Well, before you cut Vanderbilt completely out of your plans, let me know. I don't want to put my future trust in some doctor's office." I said, "Well, I don't know that I'll ever completely trust Vanderbilt again."

Do you blame me?


Variations On A Theme said...

My husband's sister-in-law worked for Vanderbilt for many years then moved to Asheville. Now they've moved back again and she's started back at Vanderbilt. She was hoping she'd be able to retain some of her previous work time toward the tuition benefits for her 16-year-old when she starts college, but Vandy said it had been too long (like 5 or 6 years).

But maybe given your circumstances, they'd let your service time count toward the tuition benefit? They owe you that, at least. They can always make an exception, right?

Marisa said...

Well, it's still - sort of - up in the air.

I was told at first by my department manager and her manager that if I get another job within Vanderbilt within 6 months, I would still have the tuition benefit. But because I am not working anymore, someone in HR said I would have to start over, even if I go back tomorrow. The rules change every day, seems like.

Right now I am just hanging in there & waiting - whatever will be, will be.