When I first interviewed for my current part-time job two years ago, I was a shy, under-confident 19 year old girl going into her second year of University. I preferred emailing and texting over making phone calls and I avoided confrontation as best as I could. But somehow, over the past 2 years, this has changed. I have changed. I no longer getting nervous making phones calls and it has become second nature. I no longer give in when confrontation arises and instead stand my ground, knowing that I am in the right. My job has taught me a lot over the past two years and these are the most important lessons that I have learnt.
You will not get along with everyone
You would think that working in healthcare, everyone would be friendly and welcoming, but this is not always the case. I have had my fair share of work colleagues being rude, both to my face and behind my back, and treating me as inferior. At first I thought that it was personal and I had done something to anger them but now I know it is just their personality type. You can always tell who these people are as they are often the ones with the fewest patients.
Be nice to everyone
If you are genuinely nice to everyone than most of the time, you will find that they will be nice back. Not only does this create a good working environment, but they will be more likely to do you favours like buy you a coffee in the morning or offer to help you with your work when they know you are busy. It costs nothing to be a nice person but it could cost you your job if you are not.
The early shift is always better
When I first started working, I always thought that the later shift was better because you got a lie-in. However, now I realize that the early shift is better because it forces you to get up early and not sleep in as well as preventing work from taking up your entire day.
Nobody ever reads the terms and conditions
The place I work at has a 24 hour cancellation policy which means that if a patient wants to cancel their appointment within 24 hours of the appointment time, they will be charged the full price of the appointment. This is clearly stated at the top of our terms and conditions and yet patients still get surprised when I inform them of the policy when they try to late cancel an appointment. Lesson to learn from this, never sign the terms and conditions without reading them through.
It is not personal
Similarly to the point above, when I enforce the 24 hour cancellation policy, some patients will get annoyed and be rude over email or on the phone to me. When I first started working, I took it personally but now I know it is just their frustration at the system. Please note that if you are being charged, it is company policy and not the member of staff charging you, so be nice.
Pick your battles
Sometimes your time is more valuable than being right. If someone is looking for an argument, sometimes it is better to not give them the satisfaction and end the conversation as quickly as you can, without being rude.
There are no stupid questions
This is a motto that my Dad has lived by and taught me to live by since I was a small child but I never truly understood the importance till now. It is a more effective use of everyone’s times if you ask the seemingly stupid question and get the right answer than assume the right answer and make a mistake that will cost the business time and therefore money.
Mistakes are inevitable
You are going to make mistakes, no matter how hard you try not to. And that is okay. Just be honest when you make a mistake and try to fix it. I have both undercharged and overcharged patients before and booked them in at the incorrect time or with the incorrect clinician. It happens but the important thing is that you apologize and try to fix it.
Always go outside for lunch
I work 7-9 hour shifts, often sat at the same desk in front of the same computer in the same position. Therefore, it is important to me to not only get up to stretch but to have a change in environment. I find that this helps to wake me up and makes me feel like I have actually had a break from the computer.
Find a job you enjoy
You do not have to love your job, although it probably makes getting up before dawn easier if you do, but you do have to enjoy it. Whether that is the work you do or the people you work with, there has to be an aspect of your job that you enjoy. After all, it is estimated that you will spend over 90,000 hours at work during your lifetime which is appropriately one-third of your life.
What is one lesson you have learnt as a result of your job?
This post was inspired by Caroline’s post, titled I Was Thinking.