Posted in My Thoughts

Lessons I’ve Learned In My Career Field After Ten Years

*If you are interested in only reading the list I have put together, keep scrolling as my introduction is a bit lengthy*

I started my journey into the Medical Billing career field after graduating from high school in 2007 and immediately attending college that fall.

Unfortunately, my high school didn’t offer much in terms of college counseling or any assistance in what my next steps could possibly be after graduation. As a matter of fact, I had absolutely no idea that I was even supposed to be applying to colleges in the beginning of my senior year, and only realized it when I heard classmates talking about what schools they had been accepted to. I remember thinking to myself, “oh shit, what am I going to do?” I had never even taken the SATs, nor did I have any idea of the importance of taking it or why I should even take it at all.

I applied to one school and was accepted. It was a private college and the one school I knew it was unlikely I would see many people at who I graduated with, which at the time was my ultimate goal.

My parents gave me a check for the $30 application or admission fee, and my dad and I went to the school together and got me signed up for the fall semester. It is one of my best memories with my dad, knowing I was doing something to make him proud. We joked about how I could become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company one day, sorry dad…

My first major was in business marketing, but with the economic crash in 2008 I figured it may be best to change my major. I had never considered the medical field as an option. Honestly, I thought the medical field was only doctors and nurses, and I definitely didn’t have it in me to peruse such a path.

By 2008 my best friend had joined me at the college and had started her major in Human Resources. I had told her I had decided business just wasn’t going to work out, and I wanted to see what my other options were. So, we picked up the college catalog, looked into what would probably be the most attainable degree in the medical field and decided on Medical Billing. I vividly remember going into the admissions office together and the officer telling us, “I don’t even understand why this is a degree program, all you need is a certificate to do medical billing.”

Oh, my, how the times have changed.

I’ll spare you the rest of the dirty details of college life, pre-algebra, and Saturday morning anatomy and ICD-9 coding classes. However, I will tell you it took me FOUR YEARS to complete an associates degree in applied sciences due to the inner workings of the college, classes only being offered at certain times of the year and having to switch my program for a third time.

I competed a two-year degree in applied sciences with a concentration in Health Information Technology in less than a year by going to school year round and taking 17 credit hours per quarter in an accelerated program and of course working my ass off.

Once I finally had that degree in my hands, it was 2012. The whole class of Health Information Technology students got absolutely screwed by the school after the director of the program retired and had nowhere to place any of us for the internships required to complete our degree. I ended up doing two different internships, one at a nursing home in the Medical Records Department and the other at my uncle’s chiropractic clinic.

Of course, no one wanted to hire me after I got my degree due to no real on the job experience in the field. I took odds and ends jobs, selling Avon, working at Kmart, and as a one on one student aide for an amazing little boy who had Autism in an elementary school.

At this point I decided I should probably get back into gear and get my bachelors degree, so back to college it was. The friend, that I had mentioned earlier, and I had parted ways for nearly three years and on my first day in creative writing class whose name do I see on the sign-in sheet…

Every day I dreaded going to that class. I didn’t want to face her, I didn’t want to talk to her. How could I? What would I even say?

Halfway through the quarter during some downtime in the class I see her in my peripheral vision walking towards me, she sat down and started picking up where we left off nearly three years prior, and we became friends again.

Luckily for the both of us, she had landed a medical billing job and had become the leader of the department. I never asked her for a job, not once, I thought that would be extremely tacky and besides she didn’t owe me a thing, certainly not a career.

However, two weeks later, she offered me a job. I was finally going to get my foot in the door as a medical biller on November 12, 2012, and I have been ever since.

Admittedly, in the nearly ten years I have been working in the Medical Billing field I have had many roles and positions-from the nobody to the director and then back to nobody again.

Recently, due to my Medical issues, the company I was working for had enough of dealing with me and my problems and gave me an ultimatum-resign or go on a performance improvement plan and if you don’t meet our quota by the end of May you will be terminated.

I decided I wasn’t going to be backed into a corner, and I was going to go on their performance improvement plan and see if their goals were achievable-they weren’t, and I ultimately decided to resign.

Luckily, I had an offer on the table with an awesome company that is rapidly expanding, going back to my roots of professional and facility billing with a higher pay grade than I had ever made in my career. So here I go again, on to a new chapter.

The past few days I have been reflecting on my time as a medical biller and the companies I have worked for in the past and have compiled a list of the dos and don’ts of having a “real” job.

So, my gift to you, a comprehensive list of things I wish I would have known going into the workforce. This list applies to any chosen career field, not just medical billing, and is a cautionary tale of my own career blunders.

Lessons I’ve Learned In My Career Field After Ten Years

Keep A Copy Of Your Companies Policy ALWAYS: Of course when you start a job you have to read through the company policy book and sign a paper ensuring your compliance, but do you actually have a copy of that handbook still? Probably not. Always make sure you save a copy of your company’s policy book in a safe place. You never know when you may need to access it for crucial information regarding attendance policies, paid time off, FMLA, or literally anything else that may come up in the future. That way, you have the information handy before you have to start asking questions. For example, I had quit a job in the month of January when my paid time off had started over for the calendar year. My employer refused to pay me out my vacation time, and I had to go to the State Of Michigan and file a complaint. I had a copy of my company’s policy stating that they do pay out upon termination of employment, and I was sent a check for a week’s pay. Even though the company tried to fight it- it was clear as day that it was in their policy that they were to pay out employees earned paid time off. Always make sure you have that policy and procedure book in your grasp, you never know when you are going to need it.

Keep Your Own Daily Record Of Productivity: Most companies are very number driven, especially if you are working in the Medical Billing field. The amount of work you are doing is your bread and butter. Usually numbers are ran on a weekly or monthly basis, and you always want to make sure you have your own productivity recorded to ensure that your numbers match up with what management has in case there are discrepancies. Regardless of your quota, always remember to never compromise quality over quantity.

Be Transparent: Transparency is key with your employer, whether it is struggling with your job duties, mental or physical health, and or with anything that could be affecting your job performance, make sure to let either a manager or your Human Resources department know before it becomes a problem.

Ask Questions: Never be afraid to ask questions. Even if you have asked the same question ten times before and the answer is still not clicking with you-ask again. Sometimes it just takes asking one more time, maybe from a different source, for the mental pieces to fall into place. Although it may seem like you are annoying your manager or trainer, companies appreciate it when an employee asks questions until they fully understand before making a detrimental mistake or creating a habit of doing things incorrectly unknowingly.

Keep Good Records: Make sure to keep a good record of all emails, screenshots, and or things that could come back to haunt you in the future. If something doesn’t sit right with you, or you have a feeling that you are being told something that is incorrect, keep all pertaining information given in a safe place just in case it comes back up in the future.

Work-Life Balance: Life is not work and work is not life, make sure you are taking care of yourself mentally and physically. Take those breaks and lunches that you are entitled to daily, you need them and when it’s time to clock out or log off for the day mentally take yourself away from work, watch a movie, do a craft, go for a jog or walk, do something you enjoy, work will be there waiting for you tomorrow enjoy your “me time” and mentally check out when you are done for the day.

Keep It Professional: Work relationships and friendships can be amazing, trust me, some of my fondest memories are working in a dumpy little office with my coworker listening to 1980s love songs on Pandora and dancing to Motown when no one was watching us. I have even made lifelong friendships with past managers and bosses who I’d become close with over the years. However, it is very easy for work friendships and or relationships to turn sour, quickly, especially when promotions and other factors are involved. I know I said transparency is key with your employer and even your coworker friends, but always make sure you remain tight-lipped when it comes to certain information, especially about yourself and other employees. Trust me, this has come back to bite me in the past, giving too much information to sources that were untrustworthy or giving your boss a little more information than they should realistically know. Go with your gut instinct, use common sense, and just be smart with information you decide to share about yourself or others.

Know Your Worth: Listen closely, I have left jobs, taken $3 pay cuts and went back to the bottom of the barrel when a very high paying job broke me down to nothing. I remember being so physically ill, dry heaving and vomiting when I would have to be on phone calls with the doctor who owned one of the practices I was employed at. I would be called into his office every Friday only to be screamed at and verbally abused until one day I came home so broken down I laid on the floor of my living room and sobbed. I knew that I didn’t deserve that disgusting treatment after four long years of dedicated employment trying to prove myself worthy to a “top physician” who didn’t give two shits about me. So, I got out, I took the pay cut, and it wasn’t pretty, but I knew my worth, and it wasn’t being treated like a doormat. Regardless of that dollar amount you are being paid, your life and mental health is worth so much more.

Ultimately, I hope someone will take advice from this list and apply it to their own journey, as there are a lot of people who may or may not be out to get you if they don’t care for the cut of your jib.

Proceed, always, with caution, and make sure you know your rights as an employee and know how to protect yourself in case of an unfortunate event that could leave a blemish on your personal record.

Posted in Journaling

Stuck At A Yellow Light

April 26, 2022

I’ve been through a lot in my life, as much as I hate to say it, but what hasn’t killed me has made me stronger, even when I don’t feel strong.

So many people tell me how strong I am, but I don’t see it. I feel like a prisoner trapped in my own body-with internal pain boiling up inside, so much that I want to claw my way out… Maybe the “real me” would show up- whoever that is.

I feel so lost in this world, so alone. Sometimes I like it that way, other times I feel like I wish someone would save me. I feel like a burden, turning to others for strength. Maybe that’s the key? To finding…me. Lean only on myself and learn.

I’ve always been an open book-maybe too open, maybe the book should close, so I stop externalizing support from others and teach myself how to self soothe, like a baby.

A secret, to me, feels like a fire in the pit of my stomach. I can keep secrets for anyone but me. Chronically over sharing is not good, but under sharing is even worse.

What is the middle ground? Modesty?

Who knows.

I want to change, I want to transform my life, I want a clean slate, a new chapter. A stable sense of purpose. I want to help people.

I remember telling someone that many years ago, “I want to help people.” They responded with, “You need to help yourself first.”

I thought about this last week. I felt resentment.

Then, just now- I understand, eleven years later.

The thing is… how?

Do I rely on others so much that it has formed the basis of my happiness? Where did I go wrong? Is it too late?

A woman told me today she is feeling like she is always stuck at the yellow light. I don’t think I can identify with much more than that right now.

“What do you think I’d see
If I could walk away from me…”

Candy Says, The Velvet Underground

Posted in Interesting & Informational

Alpha Females- Misunderstood.

I have always lived with the intent of being an open book in hopes that my experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly, can be a lesson to someone else who is struggling or going through a similar situation in which I have encountered in the past.

Yes, I do live with shame regarding mistakes in my life I have made, however, if I can help another person avoid the same mistakes I no longer feel the shame, I feel as though it is an opportunity to educate and guide others.

It has come to my attention on several occasions that I have a tendency to be brash, aggressive, and speak without a filter. I can, at times, be very brutally honest, especially with those who I am most comfortable with no intent of being malicious. However, I still find myself constantly being villainized and misinterpreted, and I feel bad about that, I don’t ever want to intentionally hurt anyone with my words, but I also don’t want to be a doormat or not be my authentic self.

With that being said, I started to do research into aggressive female personalities and the same term kept appearing, “Alpha Female.” So of course I fell down a rabbit hole and started researching Alpha Females, here are my findings and what checks the box for me, personally:

Alpha Females are obsessive learners- whether it’s researching for entertainment or work, furthering her education, reading a book, or listening to podcasts and watching documentaries, she always feels the constant urge to continuing feeding her mind with all things interesting.

Alpha Females strive to inspire their man to be the best version of themselves, as well as encouraging and lifting others around them.

Although it may seem hard to believe for some, Alpha Females are fully aware of their emotions and have a high emotional intelligence, she is able to read her own emotions and accept and take responsibility for her mistakes.

An Alpha Female is a highly unstoppable force and highly self-motivated. Once she has her mind made up, she refuses to let anyone drag her down. She is always up for a challenge and is continuously developing.

She trusts herself more than she trusts anyone else, she may ask your opinion, yet will be more likely to go with her gut instinct rather than taking someone else’s advice.

She knows her self-worth and is proud of her accomplishments, she has the ability to stand out and be self-assured, is confident, and refuses to settle for less than she knows she deserves.

The Alpha Female is very often in a position of leadership and stands out as a strong and powerful force, she can navigate smoothly through conflicts and trials. She doesn’t cut corners and is typically viewed as having all the answers. She can always put on a brave face and complete even the most difficult task at hand.

There is no room for toxic people in an Alpha Female’s life and toxic behavior of any sort will not be tolerated

An Alpha Female’s assertiveness surfaces in her personality when she feels the need to be assertive in a situation.

The Alpha Female deals with the expectations that society has set for women, that they should be timid, ladylike, and feminine always.

Men tend to find the Alpha Female sassy and intimidating yet intriguing. You will never find an Alpha Female intimidated or backed into a corner, and will always stand her ground in a group of men.

In conclusion, do I believe I am an Alpha Female? For the most part, yes. At times in my life, I tolerated things I definitely shouldn’t have and put up with toxic behaviors for far too long, which is not very Alpha Female like. I am very forgiving and have allowed people way more chances than they have deserved, however, everyone is evolving and growing, as am I, and I do believe that people can change, and I am willing to give them the chance to prove it in the right situation.

I am not in any way a hater of men, however, I am a big fan of strong women. Could my approach to things be a little more softer-yes, and that is something I am becoming more aware of and I will be working on within myself.

I think in the end we all, unapologetically, have to maintain our authentic self, regardless of who we are and what we believe in. We will forever be evolving as people, and must learn to tailor things as you maneuver through life, the real ones will stick with you and support you through it all, and you should find it in your heart to do the same for others.

Posted in My Thoughts

My Ultimate Blogging Goals

Although I am considered “new” to the blogging community in 2022, I have been around a lot longer than you have been aware of me- I have actually been blogging on and off since 2011.

In 2017, I officially started The Ella Eris Beauty and lifestyle blog, as well as obtaining an EIN as my intentions were to start an ecommerce business – selling makeup tools and eventually creating my own line of makeup. The intent of the blog was to begin gaining exposure and eventually start my business, praying I would be successful.

I enjoyed blogging so much, however, I never achieved as much success that I could have due to the fact that I really didn’t know how to plug my blog. I depended strictly on other WordPress bloggers as well as my own personal social media accounts for exposure.

My blogging journey ended in 2019 when I deleted all of my content. I felt like a failure, and I was embarrassed because I wasn’t able to follow through with my dreams, mentally or financially. So I decided to just get rid of all evidence that there ever was an Ella Eris Beauty in existence, and I never gave it a second thought.

Around the holidays in 2021 I started entertaining the idea of bringing Ella Eris back to life for the first time. At that point, my wedding planning was over, I was working crazy hours and I decided that I wanted to take up blogging as a hobby again – no unrealistic expectations, strictly creating content as a creative outlet.

At first, I started buying random things, self-improvement books, subscribing to various monthly beauty subscription boxes, different types of skincare and makeup, trying to lay a foundation as to what my blog was going to be about. I started writing down different ideas about things to review and share with my audience, and it became clear to me that I didn’t just want to be a beauty blogger. Of course, I love makeup, but it’s not as important to me as it once was.

I stopped religiously doing my makeup for quite some time, and I hardly had any products that were not expired at the time of starting this blog, at this point in my life my priorities had changed, I was more interested in maintaining healthy skin than painting my face. I had matured in so many ways from the time I had first started blogging until now. There were other things that were more important to me than the latest makeup products and buying a ton of makeup that I probably would never end up even using completely.

As I got to writing more and more, I found myself wanting to share more of me and who I am without the beauty products being my main focus. I wanted to turn my readers on to new things that I love, in hopes that they would find whatever I may be talking about to be as interesting as I did. I started to feel the need to be transparent about things I struggle with such as mental health, self-love, self-care, and confidence.

With the discovery that I can be more than a makeup lover and writer and start really diversifying my content, I started to realize that my blog would be more successful than if I just concentrated on one main fixture.

I have so many goals and aspirations for this blog and my brand that I want to follow through with, and I want like to share them with my audience, as being labeled as a Beauty and Lifestyle blog can be confusing for the reader when I am writing a one off post about anything other than beauty and lifestyle.

I want to create more content regarding mental health, such as suffering with body dysmorphia, coping with bipolar disorder, and share my own experiences about my own journey and what has helped to get me through some of my darkest periods. When the time is right I would like to talk about grief and the loss of my sibling, Jacob, however, I just don’t feel like I am ready yet. My hope is to put my struggles out there so that a person who may be going through or has gone through the same thing in their life knows they are not alone.

Ultimately, I want to be able to help others and support others and be a source of comfort and someone they feel they can talk to freely and share their struggles with, as sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone outside the box, even if you don’t know them or are corresponding with them via virtual platform.

I want to be able to share my world in terms of the things that I enjoy, such as music, in hopes that someone else will find joy in a band or song that they may have never even heard of in their lifetime if they hadn’t read about it in my post. I want to share my favorite books and albums, educate others about people they have never heard of, such as in my Icons & Muses Series, not only for the education aspect, but to keep the memory of those individuals long gone alive in some form. To be able to contribute, even the smallest fragment, to a person’s legacy, is of the highest forms of honor to me.

My goal as of now is to grow my blog, perfect my craft, create awesome content and network and connect with as many people as I can through various platforms. I want to subscribe to everyone’s blog, I want to follow and support everyone on their social media accounts, I want to share other writer’s work with the world and to help inspire others and give them the push of confidence they need to continue creating their content when it seems like no one is listening. I truly believe that there is a place for everyone in the blogging community as well as any other platform, you just need someone to believe in you and help you put yourself out there for the world to see.

My long term goal is to build this blog, continue to do what I love, monetize and start giving back to the community. As you may have read in my Boxycharm reviews I would like to start making donations of unopened and unused makeup, beauty tools and skin care products to local women’s shelters instead of letting it go to waste, I can give someone else an opportunity to enjoy a product that makes them feel beautiful and self-confident, that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.

Recently, I have started thinking of more ways that I could help out in areas of community outreach, such as providing donations of feminine hygiene products, self-care products, clothing, and other forms of donations to help women in need who are receiving only the basic human needs. I want to be able to form networks with brands and sponsors who are willing to aid in this type of community work. I would love to create some kind of curated special beauty box that I can deliver once a month with new products for women to try, so they can feel amazing about themselves and special while they are going through a rough patch in their lives. Likewise, I think that if I were in a difficult situation like that, it would mean a lot to me to have something that makes me feel good on the inside as well as the outside. I would also like to include some kind of activity such as a fun journal prompt book or self-help work book that is entertaining and fun as well as therapeutic in my “care packages.” I just want to give someone in need something beautiful and fun to look forward to as they work through the difficult situation life has thrown at them.

I want to build relationships with those in need and to be able to provide some kind of emotional support as well as friendships, learn their stories and possibly help them build their own platform to share their stories with others, help them to put what they are feeling into words and help them create something beautiful that they can be proud of and hopefully pass on to someone else that is just starting the journey they may know all too well.

It is my goal to start creating a business plan very soon and start the process of getting things up and running and figuring out what I have to do to make things happen. Although, I have a lot of work and research to do to be able to achieve these goals, but I do not think in any way that they are unattainable or unrealistic. As I keep working on myself, my content and connecting with others, I believe that with a lot of research, hard work, and persistence I WILL be able to achieve my goals and live out my dreams and everything will fall into place.