From #WestWardFro to #WestWardNO Lessons from the West

If I had to describe my feelings for Oregon in one word, anger. I’m angry that I moved 3000 miles and put my life on hold and never realize the benefits of moving out here, besides the wineries there aren’t any. I’m angry that every storm you can expect hurricane level winds up to 65 miles an hour, I found this out when my awning was ripped off my RV home this morning. I’m angry that the  responsiveness of insurance agency  in Oregon is so much less than it is on the East Coast. I think these guys have limited hours and I’m just not used to all the slackness and inattention to detail that I’ve discovered out here. If I had known about realistic coastal weather, the disorder, and lack of enforcement these are to name a few things that would have discouraged me from ever making that cross-country trek to the state. Oregon is one of those types of places that you should visit but never should live in. This article is the first of a three-part series to detail what I should have known prior to taking this new position.

This Position Has Been Open For How Long?

The following are example of questions I would’ve asked, because if answered with the information I know now, there would’ve been no way I would’ve taken this job. First question I would’ve asked is how long has this position been open? If they say more than 90 days or if it took them 18 months just to get a viable interviewee,  runaway fast.   The recruiters sure issue are not going to be up front on the realities of the position. They are just trying to protect their finders fee. And the facilities are not forthcoming on the realities of practicing in the middle of nowhere. The reasons  For the disconnect between what is presented in the job posting and the actual realities of working in an extremely rural place are varied. There could be issues surrounding lower pay or the reputation of the facility in the community or no one wants to be in the middle of nowhere.

Higher Salary But Lower Take Home Pay…Wait What?

Always take into consideration salary and the calculated state and federal income tax the federal income tax for a single woman with no dependents is as high as 25% and the state income tax rate for Oregon is one of the highest in the country at 9%. You have to factor in a cost-of-living that almost is equal to Seattle without any of the benefits of living in a real city.  This is how you can take home upwards of $5000 less a month even though on paper your salary was higher than at your previous position.

Introducing Our Newest Medical Provider!! But Wait, You Will Be Our Psychiatrist, Case Manager…without support

Next you have to take into consideration what is the true case mix of the location. If you are an inpatient provider, and is and you are purely medical, you have to take his consideration if there is a indigent or psychiatric population and if you truly are equipped to care for those patients. Fourthly, will you ever be afforded the opportunity to utilize your other skills? Or are they focused on just having a medical provider solely and ignoring your other capabilities.

Make sure you are well versed in the finer points of your contract and review constantly for any interpretation with legal representation.   You almost have to be a boarded lawyer to deal with some of these organizations.  Don’t be surprised if you actually have to prove  when an employer is in breach of a contract. if you are not careful with the specifics of a finalized contract, you can also be subject to a term of indentured servitude. But you will have to know your rights and what you’re entitled to and be ready and prepared to fight for what you are owed. They will try the okey-doke as far as your signing bonus restrictions and make sure you are in full understanding of PTO accrual. Make sure they don’t try to prorate you on anything from education to insurance if those details are not in your contract.  Your employers have no right to change the language of a finalized contract. They cannot add any addendum’s without legal approval. Furthermore all contracts are negotiable you have to know how much your worth and negotiate accordingly but you also have to be willing to walk away if the negotiations don’t turn out.  Don’t be afraid to discuss dollars and cents, you have entered into a business transaction that should be value based and should conform to the details of your contract. Next never think HR is working for your best interests their purpose is to maintain the status quo in the best interest of the organization within the confines of your contract. And lastly, the isolation of this small town is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in my life from sketchy’s satellite link ups to phone coverage these finding of being truly disconnected from anywhere else in the world is completely overwhelming. I’ve worked in small towns all my life but this is the first time I have felt this isolated.

Final Thoughts

Knowing what I know now, I do not think I ever want to practice in a small town America ever again. I don’t ever want to live full-time in the Pacific Northwest especially  during the winter months so that means there’s only two months out of the year that I would be feel comfortable living in Northern California or even Washington state. The state is beautiful and green and there are many outside opportunities to explore nature in its purest form. But no one needs this much water or wind.


The upcoming article entries will be around out processing  from a former employer and relocation preparation





NC Home, Backyard Misty Sunrise

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If you like what you have read and want to see more please donate to support the ongoing activities of the site.


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If you like what you have read and want to see more please donate to support the ongoing activities of the site.


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