strumzilla

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Filtering by Category: Work

High Productivity is Celebrated...until it isn't.

In an ironic twist to my elevated productivity as a fee basis examiner, I had his supreme indolency take the trouble to drop by my office and let me know that my increased numbers (which had necessitated a salary waiver as I had hit my max after five months) had raised a few eyebrows. Although he was attributing it to "someone pretty high in Dallas" (high, he he), I'm sure most of it was coming from him. 

I reacted immediately (as I usually do, sometimes to my detriment) by telling him that I would welcome anyone who wants to take a close look at any of my work/exams and let me know what's lacking or inappropriate. I know my exams are complete by VA standards and I also know that I don't perform exams unless they're requested or justified in the case of a recently discharged veteran who requests to add a few more claims. 

As I explained to dicktug, I'm preferentially getting these bulk Gulf War exams which typically include 10+ actual claims and then an equal number of medical opinions for each claim. This can very quickly run my daily numbers to 20+. He made some sort of brief comment about his ability to generate those numbers which I just ignored because this jackhole was one of the examiners that weren't breaking 40 exams in a month. I've done more than that in one day. 

I also explained to him that I often take on other examiner's work because they call in sick or because they can't be bothered to complete opinions or equivalent. Our admin staff preferentially asks me to do these types of exams because I don't argue with them or make them feel bad for asking. Many of the regular Federal employees are downright adversarial to the people who are just trying to do their jobs and help veterans. 

When I was a regular Federal employee I had the second highest (out of 20ish examiners) productivity in the clinic. Now as a fee basis, I think it's possible I'm the highest, but I haven't been looking at the clinic numbers anymore. I'm definitely generating higher per day numbers as it's not uncommon that I get 25 or more exams in a day. I assume part of his problem is that my elevated productivity makes the glacial examiners look even worse by comparison. 

I'm not sure if the current scenario can be sustained, but I'm hoping things will move slowly as they do in the Federal government. I'm also hoping that we'll continue to have our minimal producers occupying full time slots which will in turn keep the demand up for fee basis examiners like myself.

I think he is offended by the situation in which a lowly PA like myself (in his eyes) can earn an equal income to his while working significantly fewer days and not having to deal with a lot of the regular federal pain (actually my total is probably greater considering my other incomes). I've met several doctors like him in the past that seem to think they have earned a perpetual income just based on their diplomas and not based on any work they're doing now. The good doctors (most of them) judge other providers on their own merits and don't make assumptions based on degrees held. We've never heard them express concern that we have doctors earning huge salaries while doing little to no work. The VA has a prevalence of these types, I think it's one of the primary attractions to the job. 

The Edge of Summer

The sun has been shining, the grass is green, and summer is in the air. We're still in that magical window when it's nice to be outside for most of the day without fear of withering from the heat. The press of the last few months is just about to see its release. I've got a long weekend and then I take my board exam next Tuesday. I feel pretty confident about my readiness, but I'll still crack the books daily til Tuesday. 

The transition to fee basis at work has essentially completed and my schedule has normalized itself for the most part. It's really nice to have a three day workweek at the most. It's funny how quickly that became the norm for me. The default schedule should be three days for three weeks and then a week off. I'm working half as much and bringing home more than double my Federal pay (with consideration for no increase to my pension and no 401K matching).  It's really the perfect work scenario for me and my capabilities. I can complete exams more thoroughly and faster than any of the people I have worked with so far. I'm sure there are others like me out there, but we all have a fairly unique skill set that gives us distinct advantage over other examiners. Nearly thirty years of continual Federal service including the twenty three years of active duty has definitely paid off in my current job.

I haven't really been able to settle in and take advantage yet because the last few months were occupied with the end of the Berklee semester and then the beginning preparations for the board exam. Thankfully, the board schedule is transitioning to a ten year cycle after this.  My goal is that by the time I take the next board, we'll have paid off this house, built or bought our house in the country and I'll be well ensconced in my bespoken home studio.  That mostly depends on a steady state for my current work situation. I'm relatively confident that the C&P program in general won't go anywhere soon, and I'm mostly optimistic that the role of the examiner will stay the same as well. The prevalence of laziness, incompetence, and ambivalence in the Federal service actually plays to my advantage. There's no shortage of work for me, and this allows me to maximize my time/salary in a way that's really unmatched anywhere else in the job market that I know of.