Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Please pass me my cane, bifocals and hearing aid...

Apparently I am a very elderly senior citizen who is facing many challenges - or at least according to the chief medical assistant I had an interview with today.

The practice itself was impressive.  The office was gorgeous, the equipment all new and top-of-the-line,  convenient freeway access.  The works.

But then as I sat in the waiting room biding my time until they called me back for my interview I noticed something that struck me as odd.  By that time I had seen approximately 5-6 employees, several at the front desk, then several MAs coming into the waiting room to bring patients back.  ALL of them were extremely beautiful and extremely young.  By young I mean that there is no way any of them had seen their 30th birthday yet.

Enter the chief MA to call me back for me interview.  Yep.  The same, as was the office manager who accompanied her.  Gorgeous youthful perfection.  I noted each of them sizing me up briefly, looking me up and down.  Their expressions were not ones of delight, even though I was dressed in a classy business suit, looking sharp, brief case containing extra copies of my resume and my personal and professional references in hand.

I was escorted into an exam room (I have found that interviews conducted in exam rooms generally do not go well for me - curious that).  They pulled up three chairs, motioned for me to sit in the center, and we began.  Unflattering florescent lighting beaming down on my face and grey streaked hair from above, they proceeded to pepper me with questions, and unusual number of them containing the word "old".

Example:  "I'm assuming Dr. So-and-So was older.  I think you will find it challenging, therefore, to keep up with our fast-paced office."

EXCUSE ME?!  There is NOTHING in my resume indicating the age of the doctor in question, and the doctor actually demanded that I work at lightening speed, multi-tasking all day.  And the doctor was well please with my performance, in fact, she said that I was the best MA she had ever had.

No.  It was ASSUMED that the doctor was older because I am older.  And it was assumed I wouldn't be able to keep up, because of course, I am old and decrepit.

It was also mentioned that they had concerns about me catching on to the computers.  Seriously?  I'm extremely tech-savvy.  I own and operate  (or did own) several online communities, personal websites as well as those I've created for my church, for special functions, for real estate...  I am not only trained in EMR and the major computer programs, I have successfully worked on them.  They wondered if I could "keep up" on an iPad.  Good gravy.  I had to inform them that I do indeed know how to operate computers of all types as well as have mastery of many programs.  They looked incredulous when I informed them that my personal computer at home is a MacBook, that I also have an Android-based tablet, that I often use my iPhone to scan QRS codes, can convert a paper document into a PDF file simply by taking a photo of it, and that I have not only frequently used my husband's iPad in business, but I used an iPad exclusively at a previous medical office for all of my charting via EMR.  Their expression told me they thought I was lying.

Meanwhile I could feel their eyes almost burning into me (or was it my cheeks that were burning?) as they seemed unable to stop looking at my hairline and the emerging grey.  Meanwhile, I had to fight not to stare at the too-perfectly-full pouty lips on the office manager.  It seemed like she had a bit of trouble forming some words, as though she were still getting used to the size of her new lips.  Nonetheless, they, and she looked perfect and flawless.

After this brief but insulting 15 minute interview, the office manager informed me very quickly as to what the benefits would be IF I was selected for the position.  The benefits she began listing were AWESOME.  Even free scrubs!  One thing was missing, however, that had been mentioned in the ad:  Retirement benefits.  Ohhhh!   How very telling that was!  Then she told me of a benefit that was NOT in the ad:  Discounted pricing on all first-time cosmetic procedures such as Botox, facial fillers, fat reduction through cooling the fat cells (snake oil anyone?), collagen lip injections, etc., because "ALL EMPLOYEES ARE EXPECTED TO LOOK AND SELL 'THE BRAND'"!

I was then thanked and rushed out the door.

It is very obvious that they consider me too old for their office.  They are not a medically-based practice, but are rather cosmetic-based.  I would far rather be in a medically-based office of course.  Helping people get well is why I got into medicine in the first place.  If I'm to work as an MA again, I  would prefer to be in an office where I was assisting in surgical procedures again, comforting and educating patients, dressing wounds, etc., etc.  I wouldn't have minded the cosmetic aspects as I've done that before, but well...I guess I'm feeling a bit rejected today.  If it had been because they felt I lacked the experience or skills that would be one thing.  But I was rejected the minute they met me, just because I am not in my 20s, beautiful with long swinging hair, skin plumped and polished in all the right places to dazzling perfection.

I feel like an old and ugly slug.  The pity party begin at 7:00 p.m.  BYOB.


  1. Good gravy indeed!! I will join you for the pity party. I'm facing the same thing and I am overweight. And a whole head full of gray too. It doesn't get any better than that. As interesting as a cosmetic surgeon would be to work for, I would definitely not be good advertisement for his office. Now if he wanted to showcase his work on me? I might be up for being his free advertisement...

    Me? I'd like to work for an ER in a hospital, or a surgical doctor, or an OB doc. No peds, no geriatrics...just something interesting. I bet I will have trouble too when I finish this program. Sigh...

  2. Honestly, this is the first time I had trouble with my age. It's been a plus because it's associated with experience and maturity, even if I didn't have any (experience). I think an OB would prefer a more mature MA. It is comforting to the patients and we older ones have the maturity and life experience not to be shocked by much. I've found most patients prefer the older MA to a very young one. They don't ask us how long we've been working as an MA, but they do ask that of the young ones, which of course isn't fair to them either. I wish I had your full head of grey! I think I made a bad appearance having dark hair on my length and inch long white roots. Not much I can do about it yet, so it is what it is. :)