Saturday, September 20, 2008

What's Wrong With This Country...

Like many Americans, I listened to the news this week about the economy with a growing sense of dread and then, hearing the bailout plan, disgust. How could we have gotten into such a mess? How could this happen in America in the twenty-first century? I know that we can thank Phil Gramm and deregulation for a lot of it, but on Friday I got a really good glimpse, up close and personal, of another reason we end up in such messes.

My department at work is chronically under staffed. It was that way a little over two years ago, when I was hired as a contractor, and although I’m now a permanent employee and we’ve hired one additional person, the volume of work has increased, so the overall situation hasn’t changed.

Earlier this summer, my boss posted two permanent positions for which we’ve been interviewing candidates. Shortly after the posts went up, we interviewed a candidate whom all of us liked and who seemed well qualified for the position (i.e., she was personable, genuinely interested in the job, and had a master’s degree in a medical field as well as extensive clinical experience). A verbal offer was extended via voicemail on her phone, but before she could accept it, it was retracted by HR because new Company Policy is to hire only MD’s and nurses for these positions (I’m not kidding about this), and this candidate was neither. For what it’s worth, no one currently or historically handling cases in our group is a nurse or doctor.

And then, in true Office Space fashion…shortly after being told she could not hire that candidate because she wasn’t a nurse or MD, my boss was told there was someone she had to hire who is not only neither a nurse nor a doctor, but who has absolutely no clinical experience. Of course, this person has something much more important than the newly posted requisite requirements for the job…this person has An Important Daddy. But that’s not all this person has. Since this person has started working with us, it’s become obvious to everyone that in addition to An Important Daddy, this person has…ahem…how shall I put this delicately? a substance abuse problem…ensuring that this person will never get within a hundred feet of actually doing the job that the rest of us are doing, which requires some public contact. On the plus side, this hire doesn’t count against our two positions posted (ain’t corporate America grand?).

The candidate we had lunch with on Friday will, though (count against those positions). We didn’t actually get to interview this guy formally “because he doesn’t need to be asked any tough questions”. Uh-huh. This guy is an FMG (foreign medical graduate). He doesn’t have An Important Daddy, but he has a comparable card to play: he is A Friend of Someone With Power, which is why he gets onto the playing field with some of the thinnest credentials I’ve ever seen.

For starters, there are typos on his resume, which is badly written and filled with fluff phrases like: “Track actions. Reply to regulatory requests. Give expert advice.” Reviewing it, I decided to track a few actions myself, and in doing so, I couldn’t help but notice that his time line doesn’t work. Either there are 5 years unaccounted for or he’s not only a bad speller, but also bad at math, or it’s an old resume that he didn’t bother updating. He has a generic name and didn’t provide a middle initial, making it difficult to check his credentials, but I’m a fairly good internet sleuth, and with only a little work, I found his middle initial and his birth date (he’s 62), enabling me to check to see if he is, as he claims, a licensed MD. From what I can find, he’s not.

As I said, we didn’t get to formally interview him, but we had lunch with him. Talk about a tarantula on a wedding cake…this guy looked like a skid row bum who’d been given a shower and a suit. I don’t know what his story is, but having worked both inpatient and outpatient adult psychiatry, I know a squirrel when I see one, and this guy is a total squirrel. My boss asked why the guy has to come to our group; under the New Regime, there’s a plan for a whole division of doctor consultants, why not place him there? The answer was that he’s not qualified for those positions(probably the only honest statement that we’ve received regarding this guy). In short, he’s an MD (maybe) who’ll theoretically be doing exactly what I do, except of course he won’t, and his salary requirement, which will probably be met, is so high that he’ll have to be a higher grade than my boss…and the guy has typos on his resume.

Welcome to America! Land of Opportunity!



mlraminiak said...

Judi...this is SUCH a sad story.  The only (printable) comment that comes to  my mind is that this is one of the reasons I have my own business...  Lisa  :-]

mutualaide said...

Oh, my hubby and I just had a rather long, loud discussion about just such practices this week.  (We really should stay away from all discussion that might end up in loud tones ....)  I said, and I'm sticking to my guns, that there should be more regulations (forgive me) ... and while I hate more paper work, more regulations and anything along that line there just comes a time when ... someone has to take the bull by the horns.