Career Step Graduate Review: Jeannine Linder

My name is Jeannine Linder, and this is my Career Step story.  I am originally from Indianapolis, Indiana.  I began working in the public school system in 1996 as an administrative assistant.  I worked in this position for 2 years and then one day the principal called me into his office and said, “You are so good with the kids, would you move into a classroom setting and work with the students?”  I was thrilled and thus began the career I thought I would keep until I retired. Then something unexpected happened. My husband was transferred, and we found ourselves in the middle of a BIG move to North Carolina in January of 2002.  I was able to find a job right away because the local school system was looking for someone with my experience.  Everything went along smoothly for a little while and then they told me that in order to keep my job I would have to drive a school bus.  I was absolutely TERRIFIED but gave it a try.  Shortly thereafter I knew the one thing in this world I was not cut out for was driving a big, yellow school bus.  I spoke with the powers that be, but I was unable to keep my job as all teacher assistants were required to drive.  They did, however, hire me as a substitute.  I loved it!  One day I would be teaching in a high school classroom and the next day in an elementary school and then perhaps in a middle school. I enjoyed working with students of all ages.  During that time, I began to fill in for teachers who were on leave and found myself working nearly every day.  Sounds perfect, right?  Well, herein lies the problem: There were no paid days off, paid vacations, benefits, OR pay in the summertime.  My husband was more than patient with me, but I could tell he was worried about finances.  The time came for me to make a change.  As you can tell, I loved working with those kids, so it was not just going to be any job—I had to find the right job.  Oddly enough, I found out about Career Step from the mom of one of my students.  I thought, “Well, why not?”  So at age 53, I started on my journey to a new career.

The Career Step Medical Transcription Editing program is so flexible that I was able to continue to work during the day and take my class at night.  I am not going to tell you it was easy, because that is just not true.  Some nights, after being in a classroom with 30 kids, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and work on my online class, but I did it.  I kept my eye on the prize, so to speak, and worked as much as I could on the course.  It did take me about a year and a half to complete my course because of working and spending some time with my family and friends, but I just kept plugging away.

As I mentioned above, it was not easy.  There were times when I thought to myself, “What in the world have you gotten yourself into?”  Some parts of the course were very easy, and others not so much.  I just kept on going, remembering what I always told my kids, “If we got to do only what we liked, I would be at the beach every day.”  Also, I had that fear of failing.  I was a tough parent, as far as education went.  Our rule was education first.  My kids were told, “If you get anything below a B, plan on spending a lot of time at home, because everything else will be put on hold until you bring those grades up.”  Luckily, neither one of them ever received anything lower than a B.  Well, now those words were coming back to haunt me!  My kids both graduated from 4-year universities, with honors, and are working in very successful careers. Now the pressure was on Mom.  I either had to succeed or look like a hypocrite, and that was not an option. I studied hard.  I did not take short cuts.  I did every single page in that course to the best of my ability. I HAD to succeed, just had to!

Finally, the “bookwork” was finished and it was time to start on the practicum portion of the program. I thought I had it made, but nope, not the case as more hard work lay ahead.  I kept working and working and felt like I was never going to get it. I did not give up though; sometimes I wanted to, but that was just not going to happen.  I listened to dictations and typed, listened and typed some more, and then finally the transcription portion was finished and I was on to the editing. A whole new set of skills was needed, and once again I thought, “I can’t do this.”  But there were those words to my kids, back to haunt me again, so I focused and just kept on working.  FINALLY it was finished.  I had to do just the preparation for the final exam.  I was beyond nervous. Here was the test, and everyone would know if I made it or not.  I took the test and passed the first time. As you know, or will find out, the test is divided into 2 sections. The first section involves answering questions from the bookwork, and the second is actually working on reports.  Well, I passed one section (the questions) with honors; the other was close, but I did not achieve the honors score I was looking for, so I took it again.  I was so happy when I got my score.  I had to look at it twice, because I had passed with high honors. Now I had a whole new dilemma.  I had passed one section with honors and one section with high honors, so, suddenly, graduating with honors was just not good enough. I now had to take the first section of the test again.  The pressure was really on, because this was my third and final time to try to achieve high honors.  I hit the books, took the test again, and this time achieved a high honors score on the first section too.  Here I was, at age 55, a Career Step graduate with high honors. 

Along with all the other doubts I had experienced over the past year and a half, there was yet another BIG ONE: All the people telling me this is a dying field, computers are taking over, humans are not needed anymore, all the work is being shipped off shore, etc.  Once, at my husband’s appointment with his former urologist, I mentioned I was studying to be a medical transcriptionist and his urologist told me, “You will never get a job in that field. You might as well just quit now because voice recognition is what we use now; no need for a transcriptionist.” My husband and I were both disheartened by this comment, but we talked and decided I should just keep working and not give in to this kind of negativity.  I even talked the folks at Career Step along the way about this, and they just kept assuring me this field is evolving but still strong.  I looked at labor statistics from many sources, including information from the US government site, and they all indicated there is growth.  So even when naysayers tried to discourage me, I just kept on working and trying to stay positive.

I got my resume together and submitted it to Graduate Support. They made suggestions to tweak it a little, which I did.  Here I am, 55 years old, looking for a job in an entirely different field than I have ever worked in before, with zero experience.  I started submitting applications right away.  I kept waiting for the phone to ring or for an email to come.  The first response I got was, “Thank you for submitting your application,” blah, blah, blah; in other words, don’t call us, we will call you.  The second e-mail was from a company that said, “We would like to talk to you,” and they gave me a date and time and asked if that would work for me.  Well, you better believe it worked for me!  We did a telephone interview, and I was hired on the spot.  I did not even have to test because I had graduated from Career Step with high honors.  I had a job within 2 WEEKS of graduation!

The next week was full of working with their tech support team and getting everything on my end up and running, followed by a week of paid training and then I was working as an MT.  At first, the QC team checked all of my work and gave suggestions.  I cannot stress to you enough the importance of taking their advice and learning from those who are more experienced.  I now work Monday through Friday 9:00 to 5:00 at a job I love.  My new co-workers are my 3 dogs, who love having me at home. I am able to take off if I need to go to a program at my grandkid’s school or go to an appointment as long as I make the time up later within the same week.  This is working out so well for me! I love it and I am thrilled. I now have a job with a 401K with a company match, as well as health, dental, vision, and life insurance.  I also will have paid time off starting next month.  My supervisor, Pam, is wonderful and helpful. I am always treated with respect, as a professional. Although I work from home, I always get up and get dressed and “ready” for work.  This is my profession, not just a job, and I treat it as such.  That being said, I do get to work in jeans now; no more dress clothes for me.  I could not be happier! 

I owe all this to Career Step and hard work.  I get a paycheck every 2 weeks.  My family and friends are proud of me, and I am proud of myself.  If I can do this, you can too!!!  I wish you all the best.  Be willing to work hard and take the advice of the Career Step staff and you will be telling your own success story. 

Thank you Career Step. This has been a life-changing experience!

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