Change

I am sorry to inflict yet another tale of my work place on the Baboons, but this is something big. Tomorrow marks the end of an era where I work. We are transitioning from the computerized medical records system we have used since 1999 to a completely new one. The new one is complex, completely different, and incompatible with the old one, and is still being tweaked and altered as we speak. We go online at midnight tonight.  We were supposed to go online a year ago, but they decided it wasn’t ready. Well, it still isn’t really ready, but it is starting anyway. It will be used by all the human service centers and the State Hospital. It will be the system by which we document all our all our progress notes, evaluations, assessments, billing information–all the records of client services at our agencies.

All our old electronic records are to be transferred to the new system by midnight. It is interesting that none of the private pay insurance information transferred, so the business office folks have had to manually enter all the insurance information for all the open clients.  I wonder what else didn’t transfer. They had a trial run of the system a couple of weeks ago, and the whole system crashed when the hundreds of employees  tried to log on to it.

In 1999, many employees retired so they wouldn’t have to start using an electronic record system. We haven’t had mass retirements, but the anxiety this change is causing is palpable.

Oh, change in the work place can be hard. We are prepared for a wild ride.

What major changes have occurred in the workplace for you in the last 20 years. How do you deal with workplace change? What changes do you worry about for the future?

24 thoughts on “Change”

  1. my workplace over the last 20 years has completely rewritten itself.
    i used to feel sorry for sales guys who were not able to adapt. i don’t know what ever happened to those guys
    i guess most people look for a job. i look at the opportunities available and try to figure out how to monatize that idea
    if i were still selling the same stuff the same way maybe i’d be frustrated by the screwed up walls you hit but instead i retool and l learn a new technique.
    my regular routine changes every year. looking forward to it.

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  2. Oh my goodness… I’ve seen this happen often.
    Way back in 1986 I had just started working as a ‘Field Reporter’ for the ASCS office. (A part of the Department of Ag). They were transitioning from paper records to computers. Part of it was we had to go through all the paper records of the farmers and as they were entered into the computer, we had to say if they were crop farmers or beef or dairy or what. So we figured between the several of us in the office, we would know them all and could label them. And we knew 97% of the farmers.
    If we didn’t know them we said they had both and let it go at that.
    Now of course, the work is all done on the computer and I go home with several pieces of paper…

    In lighting, the biggest change has been LED’s. They just keep getting better and better. Price hasn’t come down let on the good stuff but it’s getting there.

    The first show I did on a computerized lighting console was in 1992. They’ve gotten better since then too.

    The “Source Four” light fixture was a revolution because it had a glass reflector (which lets heat go out the back rather than the front as it does with metal reflectors) and the lamp is different which gives more light for less wattage. That is still huge even with LED’s becoming more prevalent.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Having been in Corporate America for nearly 40 years my list could make a book. But one stands out. When I started here, if you wanted to send a fax you had to write out what you wanted to send on a piece of paper (or type it we did still have typewriters.) And then you fill out another form and carry both of those pieces of paper over to another building. There were two women whose job it was to fax things around. And now all these years later faxing is pretty much irrelevant. We don’t even have a fax machine in my department any longer

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I remember an era when a lot of time was spent either reading something to someone over the phone so that they could write it down, or being on the receiving end of such a phone call. There was a lot of phone tag, too, and many little pink message slips would await when you returned from a lunch break.

      FAX and e-mail, when they first arrived, seemed heaven sent.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Me too. When I was at Software Etc we actually had a secretary there who filled out those little pink slips and left them in big stacks on my desk. But haven’t seen them since then.

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        2. I think I have one or two tucked away in a box of mementos. I remember I had one that said Noah Adams called. I kept it, thinking not everyone has one of these that says Noah Adams called. It didn’t occur to me at the time that the message slip itself would be a sort of ancient artifact in a few decades.

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    2. i remember when in 1982 the canadian snowblower maker i was working gave me a new fax to try and man did it make a difference
      prior to that the week long lag between sending a question in letter form and getting a response was standard . the fax made it instant wow

      now it’s too cumbersome just click on a file and boom

      Liked by 3 people

  4. When I left my last corporate job over twenty years ago, I was almost 50 and too old to realistically expect to get hired elsewhere. Advertising and/or graphic design work is a young person’s job at the corporate level. So I decided to proceed as a freelancer. I didn’t at the time have any clients but fortunately had some good contacts. After a series of odd assignments like writing television commercials for K-TEL, I signed on with a former co-worker who was starting a project to produce a series of how-to books for Handyman Club of America. He was the writer/editor and I was to be the designer/producer. That meant I had to come up with a format for a book of about 128 pages, the text heavily interspersed with photos, charts, illustrations and sidebars. Then I would have to compose that material electronically within the format and prepare it to go directly to the printer. When I took the job, I had never produced a book on the computer before or prepared electronic files for the printer. In the corporate world, those jobs are divided between specialists. Anyway, I approached the problem rationally, learning as I went, and for the next few years produced books on home- related subjects not only for Handyman Club but also for the TV show Hometime, for Home Depot, and for about a half dozen other publishers.

    I thought that was going to be how I would finish out my working life but early in the 2000s, as the recession was beginning to take hold, the publishers cut back, pulling all the book development in house and republishing material they already had rather than developing new stuff. Also, the shift from books to dvds had begun. Overnight, all my book production gigs dried up, which left a big hole in my income stream.

    Providentially, about that time I got a call from General Mills. Someone had gotten my name as a possible resource to do some on-site sketching for a new product development session. Now I had participated in sessions like that since the 1970s, so I knew what to expect. Naturally I said yes and sketched for the session. My General Mills client was pleased with my work and so that led to my participation in a great many sessions.

    At some point, General Mills began testing some of those new product ideas with consumers via online surveys. For those surveys, they needed visual representations of the concepts and for the consumers to take the ideas seriously, General Mills wanted the representations to be believable. That was the beginning of a period where my primary employment consisted of creating photo-realistic representations of products that didn’t yet exist. In Photoshop, I would not only create the physical shape of the product and its packaging but also create package design for the labeling and packaging visuals. I would do this for perhaps a dozen product concepts at a time. It was time consuming and profitable.

    As time went on, however, General Mills began backing away from those online surveys and also from the hyper-realistic representations of the product ideas. My work sketching for new product concepting continued and, through a contact who had moved from General Mills, I began doing similar sketch work for 3M. That was good for a couple of years but things have changed, as things do, and I get few calls to sketch anymore.

    Fortunately, we have social security to supplement our monthly income now. I have taken on a job writing articles for an online resource of information for new homeowners and have written between 40 and 50 articles for them in the last year.

    So the changes for me have not only entailed adapting to a new procedure, but also finding a way to make it adequately replace the previous engagement financially.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I am spending today doing as much documentation for the month of February as I can. All therapy notes must be entered into the old system by 11:00 PM mountain time. The new system goes into operation at 11:01,PM and the old system will not be operational after that.. It is amazing all the loose ends that we all have. One of my colleagues had over 100 cases to close. I was kind to myself and didn’t schedule any late afternoon clients. I don’t want to be entering therapy notes at the last minute. Then comes the stress of trying the new system in real time. We have had a practice system to play around with, but it won’t be exactly like the live system. There are still additions and changes being made to the system today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Transitioning from one software system to another is always fraught with perils. At one time a popular saying was that to err is human, but to really screw things up required a computer. That observation, of course, ignored the fact that no computer is smarter than the people who created it. One small programing error can result in a lot of headaches. I’m confident, Renee, that your transition will reveal some errors along the way. With a little luck, and loads of patience and diligence, I trust you’ll work through it all and come out just fine. Good luck, my friend, may the cyber gods be with you and your coworkers.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. It is sad to contemplate all the jobs that have disappeared in my lifetime. Jobs disappear because of technology and the evolving patterns of occupations. Probably the most famous example is mill work. It wasn’t glamorous and it didn’t make many folks rich, but mill work used to support many families. People sold shoes for a living, or repaired electronic equipment.

    Some jobs that disappeared have come back in new forms. Centuries ago people worked as scribes, writing things down in elegant handwriting. Contemporary medical practice requires doctors (never known for good handwriting) to record information about patients. While that data is critical, doctors struggle to record their work. Now doctors might be accompanied by a medical scribe, a person who follows the doctor with a compact computer and records data while the doctor is seeing patients.

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  7. Well, I’m a nature photographer. I haven’t been doing this as a career for long, in fact, it’s not really a career yet, but photography has changed a ton over the years. Mainly going from film to digital. I suppose that really good photographers (e.g. Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, etc.) did their own darkroom work in order to get the best quality prints possible. I’m glad that I don’t have to have a darkroom and work with various chemicals. The software available nowadays is amazing in what a person can do with it.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Changes in construction is a mixed bag. Construction management is awful. It’s a layer of bs -acracy that makes it difficult to assign responsibility for deficiency. Usually a general contractor could be the endstop from problems between trades to who sweeps the floors. Safety is one of the better changes. Sometimes its over the top but I am getting used to wearing a hard hat, glasses and gloves. Also the treatment of minorities and women has been positive. We construction people can now affirm our respect for human dignity. Boorish behavior no longer must be tolerated.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I started out as a teacher, and I can’t imagine how that must have changed by now, adding in the computer element. One positive thing would be that it’s now much easier to show films – we had to learn how to run a projector…

    Several of my jobs involved this transition. At one in San Francisco, early 70s, I supervised getting the manual inventory transferred to computer. The coders were not consistent at first (using slightly different abbreviations and punctuation, upper vs. lower case..) , and things had to be redone. I was glad when that job was over.

    At a physiology lab at U of M (1980), I learned word processing to use for our correspondence. That was life changing, esp. when we finally got our own PC in the 90s. At the consulting firm, I strongly resisted putting our calendar online, which they did the moment I was out the door.

    Now it’s hard to imagine doing the things I do without a computer – i.e., scheduling meetings and song practices – how did we do this before email? Getting song lyrics copied for everyone involved – finding them first on the internet. Etc.

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  10. My mother was a legal secretary, but she never learned how to take shorthand. She worked for a lawyer taking dictation from a dictaphone for awhile. Then he fired her so he could hire someone who could take shorthand.

    I think shorthand is pretty much extinct now.

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    1. I learned and used shorthand early in my so-called career. The whole idea of taking dictation now seems so antiquated to me, but I have no doubt that the whole trajectory of my work would have taken a much different path without it. There’s no question in my mind, that many, many successful businessmen were so because of a good secretary.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. a good secretary covered many sins. i loved my secretary. i was 18 and giving dictation on letters and correspondence and lee christiansen was a shorthand and typing whiz. i remember learning to hunt and peck on a typewriter but the amount of whiteout i had to use to fix my bad typing skills and the papers overall appearance was enough to make very appreciative of my secretary. gosh remember carbon paper? and the cc at the ned crediting the secretary with her good work?

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  11. a good secretary covered many sins. i loved my secretary. i was 18 and giving dictation on letters and correspondence and lee christiansen was a shorthand and typing whiz. i remember learning to hunt and peck on a typewriter but the amount of whiteout i had to use to fix my bad typing skills and the papers overall appearance was enough to make very appreciative of my secretary. gosh remember carbon paper? and the cc at the ned crediting the secretary with her good work?

    Like

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