Hospitals, Hadron Colliders, and the Big Mac

16 09 2013

I work in a hospital.

I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nurse. I hold no position that requires a specialized certification. I do not work in patient care areas. I don’t distribute medicine, make diagnosis, or perform surgeries. I don’t even sterilize the tools required for said surgeries. I am not a VP, I don’t do interviews, balance budgets, or make policy decisions.

I hold a clerical position. No, I’m not providing you treatment. Yes, there is a lot of paperwork. I am ‘support staff’. Want to get a little fancy? I assist in managing patient flow into the hospital and from unit to unit in the most efficient way possible. And that is a broad way to explain only one of the functions of my position. It actually entails a whole lot more.

I didn’t go to nursing school, medical school, or anything even remotely related to a healthcare focused college.

But I did go to college.

In my position I am the ‘face’ of the hospital. You’ll probably see me before you see anybody else. Probably. There are exceptions of course. And I am always friendly. I’m one of the friendliest people you’ll meet coming in.

There is a point. Keep reading.

Recently I took a phone call. And all I will say is that my continued efforts to help the caller was met with insults. Which is fine, I’ve dealt with that before. Comes with the territory. Not everyone who goes to a hospital is in the greatest of spirits, I get it. But what I will take an exception to is the fact that this person, who knows me not, after discovering I held a clerical position, insisted I get them ‘someone with some kind of education’.

“Oh no they didn’t.”

“Sha, they totally did.”

The thing  that really bothers me about this whole exchange is not the fact that I actually do have a formal education, it’s that here is someone who is equating my worth based solely on the sort of schooling I’ve received.

Now I get that they were looking to speak with someone with formal medical training to address a medical condition. But what the hell man, ask to speak to a doctor or a nurse not ‘someone with more education’. That’s insulting on a whole other level.

All I’m really trying to say is, just because you didn’t go to school to learn about medicine doesn’t make you uneducated. Hell, the last Big Mac I ate may very well have been prepared by a fellow with a PhD in applied physics. He’s not dumb, it may just be a tough market. Not long ago, when I first landed this job, the employment market around here was depressing.

Sometimes you have to take what you can get.

With that said, your current career choice does not necessarily reflect your intelligence, your goals, or your ability. Maybe grilling up tasty meat is that physicist’s passion.

Maybe he woke up one day and said, “Man sub atomic particles are awesome but… I can’t stop thinking about the look on the face of the young child that bites into succulent beef patties nestled between alternating layers of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and bun, smothered in a signature secret sauce. That’s it, take it easy Hadron Collider, I’m following my bliss.”

“Hey Jim, you make the best burgers ever!”

“I know, those nerds at CERN have no idea!”

“Dude, what?”

It might be an extreme example but whatever. Maybe you’re an office dweller who yearns to be a writer. Maybe you’re a cable guy that secretly plays the violin and dreams of performing with the Boston Pops. WHATEVER.

The moral of the story is do not be so quick to judge. I guess. Seriously.





One response

1 12 2014

Amen Brother

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