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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Recession is Knocking at My Door.

I've had a nice hiatus from blogging the last three months. I focused my time, as discussed prior to my departure, that I'd be learning some new skill sets at work. I've nearly completed what I set out to do and will be back to posting regularly here on OJD.

Aside from rare MRI protocols, I'm comfortable that I've learned 95% of the MRI exams that can be ordered out there.  As in most Radiology departments, over 50% of the exams done are the same handful of tests.  Like in X-ray, most of what we do are simple chest x-rays. In CT, common tests are brains, chests, and abdomen/pelvis studies. Ultrasound is a little more diverse: abdomen, pelvic, OB, extremities.  MRI seems, at least at my facility, to focus on shoulders, hips, knees, brains and spine work.

All-in-all, I'm hoping that by knowing four modalities keeps my job a little more secure as the noose seems to be tightening lately.

I've been keenly aware of the economic situtation befalling our country for the last few years.  I've stayed ahead of the curve by working two jobs and a lot of overtime.  Well, starting this week my employer has declared an end to all overtime.  Oh, we've heard this before but this time it appears sincere.  This will be the first paycheck I can recall where I am ten hours short of a full 80 hours (paid biweekly).

In the hospital sector of medicine, I think most of us work 12 hour shifts.  If you work three 12's, as is the norm, you end up with 36 hours for the week.  So for the two week pay period, you end up with 72 hours.  However, during the three years I've been with this company (since the doors first opened), I've consistently covered extra shifts due to short staffing, vacation coverage, etc.  As I've complained in past entries, in 2010 I worked six 12 hour shifts each week for ten months straight. Needing overtime was NOT an issue.

Seeing the ecomics unfolding, thanks to websites like Infowars.com, ZeroHedge.com, and Gerald Celente's TrendsResearch.com among others, I paid off 90% of my family's debt with the overtime wages.  However, I guess I just didn't think the crunch was going to reach me.  I mean, it hadn't yet by December 2011 so, why would it in 2012.  Now I know.

The business world, or maybe just the medical world, adjusts (perhaps "reacts" is a better word) to current economic situations after-the-fact.  That is to say, they gather their data from the previous quarter THEN decide what to do.  So now, in January 2012, the muckity-mucks are seeing how bad the data from Q4 of 2011 was and FINALLY realizing "hey, maybe we should cut back a little."

Bottom line is: employee hours are getting cut now.  My mom called me the other day somewhat worried.  Her husband is an X-ray Tech across town from me and just had his hours reduced also.  He works five days a week, eight hour days. They reduced him one hour per day. Now he works five 7 hour shifts per week. This not only cuts his income but drops him to below the level set by the hospital which requires them to pay his student loans.  During the hiring process, the hospital offered to pay student loans to new hires as an incentive to join up. As long as you worked 37 or more hours each week, the hospital paid your outstanding student loans.

So now, he not only LOSES income but also has to PAY a bill that he hasn't paid in seven years. He has no second job like I do.  To make up for my loss at my primary job, I will have to pick up more hours at my secondary job.  I've already sent out a couple of text messages to workers at those hospitals offering to pick up extra hours.  No replies yet.

So, here it is.  The recession is finally at my door and knocking quite loudly.  I have a busted washing machine leaking a little water with each load but aside from that, I'm still afloat.  I planted my garden this past Saturday hoping to benefit from growing my own food in the coming year.  The gardening experiments we've done over the past two years have given me a good idea of what grows well at my house.  I've planted mostly what I know will flourish such as squash, peas, cucumbers and lettuce.  I also kept the experiment alive by planting some beets, artichoke and cauliflower.  My strawberries are still thriving from last season.

Hope all my friends out there in the bloggerdom are doing okay.  Now that my hours are forcibly reduced, I should actually have time to read up on some of your wonderful posts! A silver lining in every rain cloud, right?

~OJD

6 comments:

HossBoss said...

Even if a person's hours haven't been cut, the price of everything from gasoline to groceries just keeps going up. Things are tough and probably going to get tougher. We hope to have a bountiful garden this year too.

Glad you're back, OJD.
: )

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Thanks HB! Hope your garden blooms aplenty!

Kris said...

Good to hear from you. I haven't been blogging much lately myself - just been busy. Sorry to hear about your hours being cut. I have to say I'm surprised, because even with the current economic conditions, I thought the medical field would be safer than most other fields.

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Hi Kris! Yeah, I was kinda surorised too. At this point in the recessesion, I thought I had escaped unscathed. On the bright side, we spent if lot of time preparing over the last few years. We're certainly nit bullet proof but we're a lot better off than we were. Thanks for stopping by!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Things are opposite with me. I am trying to be retired, but still get talked into doing work. Got another motor-home a few months ago and haven't had time to take it anywhere. Haven't even transfered the stuff out of the old one into the new one yet. Seems the Houston area is always booming.

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

DD, I can see where that could be annoying. I certainly don't WANT to work more than necessary...but I'm the ding dong that had six daughters so....

Thanks for stopping by!

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