Medical Transcription: How Do You Walk Away?

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Medical transcriptionists often find themselves completely absorbed in their profession.
In the last few weeks, I've heard from many MTs who talk about working more than one job, trying to juggle involvement in their professional life, and somewhere in between all of that, trying to take care of their family.
If you are on Facebook, MTs posts are often full of posts that say something like "I have to get more work done tonight" or "I'm taking a break but now have to get back to work so I can get more lines today.
" Then there are those posts that say "No work today, it's time to look for a second job.
" For the medical transcriptionist who works from home, this is an ongoing challenge.
It's so easy to just go back to the computer for "a few more lines.
" And somewhere you realize it's been three hours and you're still not done.
I've often heard children whose mothers were a medical transcriptionist working at home say all they saw of mom was the back of her head as she sat at the computer.
Who Controls if we Walk Away? This week I've been particularly aware of what we do to ourselves when we get sick.
If you're in an office, I think it's a bit easier.
You can't take your germs to work and expose your coworkers, so you have to call off, stay home, rest and take care of yourself.
That's often not the case when you work from home.
You work anyway, because you're home, because you can stop and start when necessary, because everyone expects it, and well, because those bills need to get paid.
For me, this has hit home this week as I was told the first of the week that I could have pneumonia.
("Could" being the operative word since, with no insurance, I declined the $500 chest x-ray.
) And yes, I have continued to work, simply because I work from home and things have to get done.
Today I'm wondering why we do this to ourselves.
This is a profession where it's simply hard to unplug.
Or is it? Is it really that hard, or is that something we do to ourselves? Or is it something that others have grown to expect from us so now we can't let go? Even when I had a corporate job in my last position, I worked from home and I worked when I was sick.
In eight years, I took off twice, once for major surgery (I was out two days before I was checking email) and once because of a doctor-prescribed time off with migraines (it was just too hard to see the computer with those migraines).
At the same time, what I experienced, even in a company where the mission statement said human resources were valued, etc.
, even if I was sick, I still got those phone calls at home.
Once you set an expectation that you will be around no matter what, people begin to expect that from you.
It leads to situations where even in times when you probably really need to walk away, you can't.
I understand sometimes it's a financial thing.
Many MTs work as independent contractors, which means no benefits and no paid time off.
And no paid time off often means work or the bills don't get paid.
This doesn't just happen when someone is sick.
It's the same thing with vacation and time off.
Many MTs just don't do it.
The Benefits of Walking Away There's a real benefit in walking away from your job now and then.
It allows you to come back refreshed.
It can give you new perspective.
And if you sick, it gives you downtime to heal and get well.
Make an effort to take some time away from what you do, it can make all the difference.
How about you? Do you struggle with walking away? What tips can you offer on how to walk away when you need to?
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