Saturday, August 29, 2015
I have been working in methadone treatment since Sep 10, 2008. I started out working the front desk, taking money. Six months of hell later, I was promoted to a counselor. I was given a caseload the same day I began seeing clients as a student therapist. I worked for a greedy man who profited 3 million a year (yes, the foolish man let his accountant fax his tax return to the work address while I was standing there). Pay raises were irregular, but sneaked to me now and then when others didn't get them. The organization was obviously profit seeking and unprofessional, and when a new clinic opened last year, I made the jump. Note that my check bounced three times before I sent out my resume. Not that because he didn't have the money to cover payroll, but because he didn't leave anything in his business account. So the bouncing was due to carelessness, best I could tell. And over spending in his personal life. Islands in the Bahama's are not cheap, at least not to me.
The promised 3.5% annual raises, 4 weeks PTO, and six months after starting, the intern director said I would be groomed to become the director. My monthly stats are consistently 90% and above, I have taken on additional responsibilities, and work a lot of overtime to get the extras done as well as my own responsibilities. The director runs another 800 population clinic in another state. He's supposed to be in our clinic two days a week, but its more like 3-4 times a month. Recently I learned my promotion is not in next year's budget, there's no real plan to promote me any time soon, and the business owner says the director "overstepped himself" in offering me the promotion. My theory is the promise was just a way to get him out of our clinic several days a month, and that when things are running this well from a business perspective, there's no intensive to change.
Worse, despite passing our national certification with no recommendations (meaning with flying colors), high marks on everyone's report cards, and all of our hard work (a new clinic is 20 times harder than one that's been open for 10 years, I now know), we were not given pay raises (all the other clinics they own got their raises, despite one's less than adequate performace); we weren't profitable enough? Since I track population and who's paying, I'd say it's greed. They wanted a profit and payoff this year despite some business decisions they made that cost the clinic). While I have many speculations (and facts) for why, I won't put them here. Unlike my previous clinic, I won't be given one quietly on the sly, either. While it is a much more professionally run clinic on many levels, the lack of raises and the promised promotion have broken my heart.
Put that on the back burner. Side note:
BTW the above is what happened to my blogging over the last couple of years. With the chronic fatigue syndrome, I was so thin I worked, slept, ate, and worked some more. My hobbies, my writing and my art largely went to the wayside. Due to financial constraints, we gave up cable tv and I haven't even noticed.
Let's get out another pot.
About six months the PD (program director) needed to hire another counselor. In methadone, the ideal caseload is 50 patients. Given that it's a new clinic, with the majority needing intensive time and attention, it should be much lower. We were up to 70-75. Since he was "training me" I helped go through resumes, we talked about hiring practices, and I participated in the interview. I was introduced to our future employee as the future program director. That obviously hasn't happened, and isn't happening any time soon and the people around me know it. Matter of fact, a new position was created for the business owner's pet, and she has been appointed the clinic "point person". The director assured me at the time it did not affect my promotion. Uh huh. I got a bridge for sale.
Put that on the back burner.
So our new employee was contacted by one of her contacts in the field about a few positions coming open in several local practices. $40 an hour, 32 hours a week (in private practice you don't really get paid for the paperwork so 8 additional hours would be set aside for that). The particular opening that caught my interest is an a pediatrician's office (she is there one day a week).
Let's stir the pot.
I took business practices in grad school. In fact, Cam came across my business plan a month ago or so. I had given up on the idea of private practice because I don't have the necessary local contacts. I'm not known in the community, don't hang out with doctors and other practitioners. Methadone's kind of a red headed step-child in the substance abuse and agency world. And the business owner was ready to hire me sight unseen because of my recommendations and previous training in child therapy. We graduated from the same school, had the same teachers and training. She knew what I knew. She even rewrote the contract to accommodate my needs.
Let's put it all together.
I'm sitting on my deck, something I've only managed 4-5 times this year, blogging. I have a week's vacation. When I go back to work, I'll be working 5am - 1 pm at the clinic. Then half an hour away, I'll start seeing children in the afternoons 2-7. When they have 25 hours a week for me, I make the move full time. I start next Tuesday. Given that they already have scheduled 5 hours for me, I think it'll build. In fact, she needed 3 people for this office. Until the my caseload and one other's is full, she's not bringing on the 3rd, though she's been hired. Based on last year, she has no doubt she'll fill our schedules quickly.
I once dreamed about working with children and their families. That dream is about to come true.