A hundred years ago I used to (try to) sell mobile homes, or the proper term is Manufactured Houses. These weren’t trailers and none of them could be hooked up to the back of a truck and moved in the dead of night to skip out on space rent. When I started in the business the licensure was a step above used-car salesman. I worked at a now defunct firm in Santa Clara called Roney and Associates where the broker was ga-ga over a real estate sales guru called Tommy Hopkins. He was big in the business at the time and he did seminars, boot camps in Scottsdale AZ and sold all sorts of books and cassette taped lectures. Though he was an accomplished real estate salesperson, he made his hard core money selling his classes, books, boot camps and cassette tapes. My mother internalized a lot of it as a professional way to manipulate the family. Her mistake was to let my sister C and I listen to the tapes and we could hear the “close” coming and realize we were being played. I bring him up because one portion of a lesson has always stuck with me…

The Stages of Competence

Stage 1: Unconscious INCOMPETENCE

This is a euphoric state when you realize everyone around you is floundering and you’re sailing through. All the square blocks are effortlessly falling into the really large round holes but you’re too pleased with yourself to notice. You keep plugging along because it’s working and you aren’t sweating it.

Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence

Suddenly the euphoria erupts into chaos. The round holes are smaller and the square blocks were actually pyramid shaped and they HAVE to go sideways into the only visible hole in front of you. You throw your hands up and scream to the heavens but you don’t quit because you know you can and will get it…..maybe……someday…..if they don’t fire you first. I will have to say, at this stage it never occured to me I could go back to my old job. Like I said before, the benefits are just too good to leave. So, the only thing to do is remember all the kind encouragement, barked instructions and training and keep pushing toward stage 3.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence

I think I hit this stage today. Our float to help out didn’t make it, probably had to cover for someone who didn’t make it to their site. It was steady and I wasn’t overwhelmed by a throng of patients. Luckily. I found myself pausing when stressed and taking a deep breath and (I hate to admit it but…) the trainer from Training Is Fun-Da-Mental‘s advise of highlighting everything (even though it eats into the wait time) is helping me catch things like stool samples that also read as blood, duplicate orders and other things I’M SUPPOSED TO BE CATCHING but generally don’t. We’ll see how well this works when it’s busy tomorrow, especially if I’m alone at the desk but it was nice to evaluate myself today as not drowning at the front desk for the first time EVER.

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence

The hithertofore yet to be obtained stage for my work at the front desk and in the lab.

This is the goal.

This is the ultimate of ultimates.

I know once I subdue the beasty known as the front desk my next battle royale will be the lab. I’m doing okay, I have help if I have any questions, but I need to go faster. But I’m not beating myself up about it because I’ve learned in the post apocalypse, I can’t handle more than one challenge on my plate at one time. It stymies me into inaction which doesn’t help anyone…..especially me. So, for the front desk, I’m hoping by the end of this month or the middle of next I will have a handle on it and the aforementioned trainer won’t have too much of a need to bark instructions at me from over my shoulder. The lab is just a matter of accurate speed. Speed is a matter of muscle memory. Muscle memory in a body which feels like it’s wrapped in dementia most of the time is the hurdle I need to clear. But that, my dear reader, is a blog for another day…..soon.

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