I write this from a place of outrage. Of course I know that we live in an ever-changing world and that we must all change continuously as well or we will be left behind. I consider myself a progressive person. After all, at 50 years of age I went back to college.
Why am I outraged? Last night, I did my taxes for 2009 and I was absolutely appalled to see my salary on paper. Yes, I already knew what my salary was for 2009, but seeing it on tax forms really drove it home.
As a medical transcriptionist who owned my own medical transcription company from 1990 through 1999, I averaged a net salary of $175,000.00 per year. I sold my company in 1999 and went to work for a similar nationwide company. With technological advances and the ability for medical transcription companies to send dictation to India, Pakistan and Manila, medical transcriptionists’ salaries started a downward spiral. Nine years ago, I was making $45,000.00 per year. In 2008, I made $36,000. Last night, I saw my measly $26,000.00 on the tax forms.
Over the years, I have supplemented my income with other endeavors, so this $26,000.00 was not my entire salary for the year; however, I work extremely hard in that job. I begin work at 8:00 a.m. and finish at 4:00 p.m. I get no lunch break and no breaks during the day. If I did take a break then my work would fall behind and my employer would be unhappy with my production level. I get paid per transcribed word, so no work is no pay.
The benefits I receive are few. I get a total of seven days off per year. This includes holidays, sick time, and vacation. For the past two years, I have worked every major holiday.
I do feel very grateful that I have a job during these tough economic times, and for that I am not complaining. Also, I am not knocking my employer as they are paying the current industry wage for this particular job. I am merely bemoaning the fact that the craft that I have spent thirty years honing no longer pays my bills.
Today, I am pondering my future. At 51 years of age it is hard to make a career change, but so many people are having to. I find that in my college classes almost everyone is in their forties or above. The job market is really tough right now, and frankly it is quite easy to become discouraged.
Although technology is grand, it has also greatly diminished the lifestyles of many. Today, I start considering my options. I should not have to work so many jobs at the same time in order to make a decent salary.
Medical transcription is not the desirable career it once was.