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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

You Work for Yourself, No One Else

Published November 9, 2014 7:39 PM by Glen McDaniel

My dad was so proud of the fact that he worked for the same employer for 40+ years. He was never late, was rarely sick and sometimes went to work despite the fact he was under the weather. He thought he was indispensable and that his employer really valued him. To him loyalty to one employer was huge.


He received a small pension - not even the metaphorical gold watch, or a cake and punch party - when he retired riddled with aches and pains.


How things have changed. It is now very clear that employers have no loyalty to employees who are typically viewed as “elements of production” and therefore costly and replaceable.

Several years ago, the American Management Association (AMA) conducted a survey of 6,000 participants across the United States. The survey asked employees 2 questions:
1) Do you get enough recognition at work?
2) Would you do a better job if you got more recognition?

There was no equivocation in the answers.   Over 97% of the respondents said "no" they didn't get enough recognition at work, and 98% replied "yes" they would do a better job if they received more recognition. This means that employees think recognition is very important, but that they don’t receive nearly enough from employers.

The typical employee (inside or outside of healthcare) will have several jobs in their lifetime, sometimes even changing professions.  Laboratorians are no exception and have come to realize that employers have no loyalty to them, and will gladly cut an employee loose for a variety of reasons including preserving the bottom-line.

That does not mean that the employee-employer relationship has to be adversarial. However it is important to realize that you work for yourself first and foremost.  In every job you should learn as much as you can, develop new transferable skills and keep your resume current. Consider a reasonable work-life balance.

A flexible, nimble employee is a good employer of him or herself. To be a good self-employer, you should be open to change, cross training, taking on new projects and practicing constant networking. Learn as much as you can, and acquire skills that no one can take from you. Position yourself as a valuable individual professional, not merely as an employee of ABC Laboratory.  It is easy to get comfortable in a job, but at least once a year, update your resume with any new skills you have acquired. Look at job ads and decide, in an ideal world, which one would you go for. Practice writing a cover letter. List the professional colleagues you would like to act as your professional reference if necessary.

This exercise is as much a matter of psychology as practical preparation. If you suddenly have to make a change (voluntary or not) you will have a leg up if you are prepared, sale-able and have a current resume.  Faced with change, you will then have real options to make the move that is right for YOU. Your employer will be OK and will move on without you.  Trust me.


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