Reflection

Episode 16 April 05, 2024 00:26:27
Reflection
Stimulating Stuff
Reflection

Apr 05 2024 | 00:26:27

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Hosted By

Rich Vogel

Show Notes

Rich talks about slasher flicks, Shakespeare, navigating unemployment, and a new direction for the podcast.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:09] Hey, welcome back to the stimulating stuff podcast. I'm your host, the pulchritudinous rich Vogel, walled up and broadcasting from the catacombs like Fortunado, from the cask of amontillado. Who loves obscure references? This guy. Okay, the cast of Amontillado, that was one of my favorite Edgar Allen Poe stories. I'll leave it at that. No, I won't. Edgar Allan Poe was brilliant, and I have to say, what I love about that particular story is it's told from the murderer's perspective. Not sure how many of you enjoy scary movies or scary stories, but I know I do. And it reminds me, there is this new movie that's coming out May 31, called in a violent nature. It's definitely a slasher flick, but it's shot from the perspective of the killer, and it has a score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes in a violent nature. Check out the trailer on YouTube and tell me you don't want to see this thing in IMax. Anyway, I took some time off from podcasting, but some of you just weren't cool with that. No, you had to bombard me with emails and text messages and phone calls urging me to continue. There's a million dead podcasts out there. Why'd you have to pick mine? To resurrect? I probably shouldn't be so sarcastic. Seriously, I want to thank all the listeners who sent me and continue to send me truly inspiring, beautiful messages about how much they love this podcast and encouraging me to continue. You know, I was just going to shut this whole thing down for reasons that I won't discuss, but it was you who inspired me to keep this flame burning. I hope you know that I sincerely appreciate you. So what's happening in our tiny little world of neuromonitoring right now? I guess the big news is that empower recently announced their acquisition of assure. It's a bit more complicated than that, but basically it's an acquisition. In other news, the as and M annual meeting is right around the corner. The meeting will be held in Washington, DC, May 17 through 19th. It's exciting for me for two reasons. First, I'll be starting my term as president, and second, I was a program chair along with Brian Willent, and I think we've designed a great program, a great educational program. We really went out of our way to bring you new speakers and fresh topics. We also have a whole track set aside for people who are newer to the field, who need basic education and training. I think this conference is going to have record attendance our room block is all already sold out and we've added additional rooms. So definitely secure your hotel room as soon as possible if you plan to attend. We also have so many exhibitors attending this meeting that we recently had to redesign the exhibit hall to accommodate everyone. Hey, if you're going to break away from whatever you're doing, I'd definitely love to see you in DC. Most of you, anyway. Just kidding. [00:03:26] One more thing about as and M. If you are a voting member, be sure to vote to approve the bylaw. We really need everyone's participation in this thing. If you haven't voted yet, check your spam folders for an email from eballot. E b a l l o t. It was sent March 15. Please vote. Polls are closing in mid April, so what else is happening in the neuro monitoring news? Oh, I know, I'm unemployed. It's crazy. You know, I went to my GP the other day and the person at the check in desk asked me my employment status. How embarrassing is that? Well, for me anyway. You know, I've had a job since I was 14 anyway, so I currently have some time on my hands to write and produce this podcast. At least until I find my next, and hopefully last career placement. All right, all right, all right. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Everybody slow down. My ears are ringing already. Before you start inundating me with messages asking me what happened and how I became unemployed and all of that, let's not focus on the past. There's really nothing to see there. I'm a forward looking guy and so let's just talk about the future. I think the more interesting questions are, what are you going to do next and what do you want to do? The answer to what are you going to do next? Is, I don't know. I'm actively looking for a job, hopefully joining forces with an organization where I can leverage my knowledge and skills, spread my wings, grow professionally, support and empower a team, and just grind hard toward a shared vision. In the meantime, I'm looking for that opportunity and otherwise filling my spare time with podcasting, personal growth, and professional development. [00:05:22] I think a far more interesting and exciting question is, what do you want to do? Aside from finding that forever family and an amazing organization like I just described? Well, I have to start by looking at this whole thing optimistically. From this perspective, I think you could say unemployment is a feature, not a bug. What do I mean by that? Look, you can focus on the negatives of unemployment, like having to say it out loud to the receptionist at my doctor's office, like the bank account draining faster than sand through an hourglass. The very real prospect of having to sell things, the prospect of having to pick up and move nationally or internationally, the constant feeling like you need to be busy finding employment and the list goes on. Or you can think of unemployment as a feature. It's an opportunity to do some reflection, some soul searching, some professional development, to work on little projects that bring you enjoyment, to focus on relationships, and to spend some time looking at your life and identifying the intersection between what you love to do and what you're good at. So that's some of what I've been doing. [00:06:36] When it comes to that part about self reflection and finding that intersection between what you love to do and what you're good at, I've definitely learned a lot. You know, one of the more regrettable or inauspicious repercussions of my 15 year career in neuromonitoring is that people tend to think of me solely as a. Like an IOM guru, someone who would be good to lead their company's education program or their quality assurance program. [00:07:06] And as a result, people may be quick to say, man, it would be great to work with rich, but we really have someone leading in our education program already. It's almost as if the scope of my utility is unidimensional because they go straight to neuromonitoring education. [00:07:27] Of course, I don't blame people for thinking those things about me. In fact, I think a large part of my public Persona is connected to sharing that expertise in the form of clinical education. [00:07:38] Even though I've posted episodes about the business of neuromonitoring and I've published articles about the economics of our business, most of the hundreds of invited lectures that I've given all around the world have been educational and clinically focused. So people's perspectives of me and my competencies being rather unidimensional is totally understandable. And it's really my own doing. [00:08:04] When I think about it in more depth, I find myself somewhat conflicted. You know, I don't mind being thought of as an expert in neuromonitoring or a guru or whatever. To a certain extent I am. [00:08:19] Even though it's been a while since I've stepped foot in an operating room, I've stayed closely connected to thousands of cases over the years. I certainly know best practices and standards of care, and neurophysiology will always be second nature to me, so I embrace those perspectives. [00:08:38] On the other hand, while I love to teach because it empowers people and it improves patient care. I have little desire to pursue a career in teaching neuromonitoring and certainly no desire to work in quality assurance. That's not where I focus my attention when it comes to professional development and career advancement. It's not where I see my value, utility, or contribution when it comes to working in this field. And that's probably a good thing, because there's no jobs left in that space. Many companies are struggling right now, and they just can't afford the caliber of people that they need to lead those efforts. Also, while I was happy working in the operating room, albeit not fully professionally fulfilled, I did that work in a clinical climate very different from today's. And beyond that, salaries have also changed dramatically. So I'm just not personally interested in that. But I deeply appreciate and value people who work in those important roles. [00:09:42] I know all of this may come as a surprise to some of you, and particularly those who only know me from conferences. And so you may wonder how I see myself. If I don't want to teach or do clinical work, if I'm not defined by neuromonitoring, then what? What else am I good at? What else can I do? You know, I've isolated about doing this, but let me tell you a story about how I got here. [00:10:08] As far back as I can remember, I loved writing. When I was in high school, I filled my bedroom walls with short stories and poetry. Sorry about that, mom. And the painting that needed to be done over it. And beyond that, I won a writing competition to give my high school commencement address. I started college as an english major, wishing to pursue a career in writing, but I hated going to class. I was bored out of my mind. I much preferred playing hacky sack outside the cafeteria and looking at girls. I mean, what? I was like 19? So who wasn't? Obviously my grades suffered and my parents threatened to pull me out of school. They made me go to a school clinical psychologist, because I presented with classic symptoms of ADHD. The psychologist met with me over the course of several days and put me through this extensive test battery. Aside from my parents, I don't think I told anyone about this back then. But, you know, when the sessions were done, I went in for this final meeting and the psychologist gave me a five page report, which I've kept all these years. And the report is dated February 6, 1996. So it's old, like me. [00:11:28] So I'm sitting here alone, fortunato in the catacombs. [00:11:32] Sorry. I'm reporting this podcast and I honestly have no idea if anyone's listening because I haven't produced an episode in over three months. So what the hell, I'm gonna get a little vulnerable with the airwaves and share some of what the psychologist wrote in the summary and recommendations section of his report. I know this is odd. I probably shouldn't be sharing this. I'm not going to share all of it, obviously, because it's very personal. It's a little embarrassing. [00:12:02] But the only other person who's ever seen this is my mother. And I think it's so relevant to this whole discussion about what am I good at and what else can I do. So I thought I'd share it with you. Here it is. Summary and recommendations. [00:12:18] Your mental abilities fall within the highly superior gifted range from the collective results of your comprehensive testing, I estimate your iq is in the range of. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. [00:12:35] Come on. I'm not going to share that. All right, here's the meat. Let me get down to this now, okay. [00:12:43] You reported to me that you were bored by your academic experience, frequently missing class and not completing assignments. Your grades have suffered as a result. I would encourage you to identify a major that challenges your intellect because this will likely inspire you to engage academically. During the course of our sessions, I found you to have remarkable aptitude in both verbal and written communication. You are a thoughtful listener, a persuasive speaker, adept at reading social cues, and you adapt well to your surroundings. You have a large group of friends in various social circles, which means you are very well liked, and you seem to fit in everywhere, effortlessly. You demonstrate emotional maturity. I can't believe he said that about me back then. But his opinion, not mine. [00:13:37] Licensed clinical psychologists. Okay. You demonstrate emotional maturity, exceptional cognitive abilities, a strong aptitude for learning, and you're unassuming. Given your intellectual exceptionalism, I get the sense you are embarrassed by your capabilities, perhaps trying to downplay or mask them. I think you would be well advised to embrace them. The report you provided from the career services center indicates that you are equally well suited, greater than 99% match for careers in science, medicine, law, economics, finance, management, sales, communications, and writing. Your career options are limitless, and I believe you will excel in any profession you choose. [00:14:24] Oh, my God. Gross. [00:14:27] I feel like I need to take a shower after reading that. I guess there's a part of me 28 years later that's still embarrassed. But then again, here I am reading this report to the world, or at least to my dog, who may be the only person listening right now. Shout out to Polly. [00:14:44] Anyway, the report goes on to recommend that I pursue consultation with a career consultant to nail down the ideal trajectory. Of course, I didn't follow that advice. I didn't follow any advice back then. But the point is, here's a licensed clinical psychologist who put me through a multi day battery of neuropsych and IQ tests at the dawn of my adult life and professional career, telling me that I can literally pursue any career I want because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. Just kidding. That's a quote from Al Frankens Saturday Night Live character Stewart Smalley from the early nineties. If you're as old as me, you probably remember. [00:15:29] But seriously, the psychologist is telling me that the world's mine oyster, which I, with sword, shall open Shakespeare. In discussing this report with my mother, she recommended that I consider a path similar to hers, study psychology, then pursue a career in neuroscience. So that's what I did. I became fascinated with the brain, as many of you probably know, I went to graduate school, earning phds in neuroscience and psychology, and shortly after that did a postdoctoral fellowship in neurophysiology. Whatever. But that's when I found neuromonitoring, and I fell in love with that, too. Neurophysiology was shockingly easy for me, and I loved working with patients. I used to tell people I was one of the few people I knew who really loved their work. But I wanted more. Despite all my education and training, I wanted to learn the business. [00:16:30] I wanted to be in leadership. So I made my way out of the operating room and into the office. [00:16:38] Around the same time, I started doing things with as and m and other societies, getting involved in non profit leadership. Leadership in our profession, that was all very rewarding to me. But the problem for me back then is the same as it is for so many people today. [00:16:57] Organizations already have leadership. [00:17:02] There tends not to be a pipeline or a pathway. When neuromonitoring companies get large enough to build infrastructure, they tend to add positions in education and quality. They tend to do that last. It's a good role because you're in all the high level meetings. You learn how to run a business. [00:17:23] People listen to your perspectives, your input, your advice. But there's rarely an opportunity to step into one of those c suite roles. So people like me tend to get sort of pigeonholed into those roles that I like to call last in, first out. They're the last positions a company creates when they're growing, and they're the first to get cut when the companies are struggling, and that's been the majority of my career in neuromonitoring, although I did have a highly successful stint as CEO of a neuromonitoring group in Milwaukee. But I left that role despite my successes there to pursue a marriage, which is by far the most rewarding and satisfying part of my life. So good job there, rich with that decision, but professionally, there just isn't much out there in our field. [00:18:15] It's okay though. I've been preparing for this when I first started in management in our field, and I'm going back almost ten years now, maybe more. I started preparing for the future by reading books and articles on leadership, management, operations, economics, finance. The list goes on. Anything I could get my hands on a few years ago, mostly in prep for taking that CEO role, I enrolled in Harvard's extension school for distance learning, earning credits in economics, accounting and analytics along the way. In the course of my career in various leadership positions, whether I was out in front or behind the scenes, whether I was the leader or just the guy lucky enough to sit at the table, I learned to manage, change, plan and execute strategy, assess and optimize culture, inspire people, negotiate, persuade, engage, advocate, problem solve, build brands, assess markets, improve processes, and so much more. I'm not saying I'm an expert in all of these things, but I've made a personal commitment to be a lifelong student and pursue continue continuous growth and these aspects of business in general. And I know I'll find success. So all of this is to say, I've been doing some reflection and I realize there's more to me than the education or clinical expertise. And I don't need to stay in neuromonitoring. I can apply this stuff anywhere. So I have to take a look at the intersection of what I really, truly love to do and what I'm really good at. [00:19:56] When I look at past work experiences from that 30,000 foot perspective, the concepts at that intersection that come to mind for me are leading, developing and empowering people, collaborating, being part of a team, communications, writing, crafting a message or story, being a decision maker, making the right decision, critical thinking, influencing, breaking down complex information for any audience and public speaking. Man, I really love public speaking. You know why? Because there's such an art to it. Because a key to being a great speaker is understanding and empathizing with your audience. In order to do that, you need to be selfless and a real student of people, of humanity. And I just love that. [00:20:54] I also have to look at what people say about me and what I'm good at, the people that I respect. Anyway, it feels kind of gross saying this, but because I swear I'm a humble person, but people say I'm really good at the things that I just mentioned. They also describe this magnetism, and I've heard this from people a bunch of times over the years, that people are drawn to me. They love to hear me speak, to read what I write, and that I'm just relatable. And what I say resonates in ways that just appeal to people. I guess it all goes back to understanding and empathizing with your audience. [00:21:36] Those are very kind words, by the way. I appreciate it when people say those things. I don't. I don't seek it out. But it is. I mean, isn't it always nice to hear when somebody has something nice to say about you? So, anyway, I don't know exactly what I'm going to do for work. I don't know where I'm going to land. I might start a consulting company. I might move into pharmaceuticals. I might stay in the field of neuro monitoring and neurodiagnostics, working on the non clinical side if there's anything left out there for someone like me. And if not, I'm okay with pivoting. I have knowledge and skills to leverage. [00:22:12] In the meantime, while I'm looking for a new job career, it's entirely possible I may do some consulting work to help pay the bills. I know I just talked about not wanting to be the education guy, but I also have that skill and reputation. Reputation. So that might be part of what I do. [00:22:31] It's just not necessarily what I want to do, but I'll do it. Well, just don't be surprised if you see me out there grinding, doing what I said I didn't want to do, at least for a little while. I have a hungry dog at home, after all, and she loves her fancy treats. [00:22:49] So what's the lesson here? The lesson is this. If you find yourself out of work, no matter what the reason, no matter how you got there, don't let it get you down. Don't think of it as a bug. Know that you have value, and there are plenty of opportunities out there. It's good to take a pause. Spend time doing the things you love to do. Find enjoyment and enrichment in life. Focus on your relationships. Exercise. Do a deep dive on your passions and core competencies, and identify the right path forward. Then pursue it. Whatever you do, don't let yourself get down and depressed. There's always a path forward. You just need to find it. One more thing before I go so what's next for this podcast? Well, I want to expand my presence on social media and I want to broaden the content that I talk about and talk about things that interest me other than neuromonitoring. [00:23:49] So I'm going to use this podcast platform to share information from other realms, including business, psychology, neuroscience, and I'll probably throw in some stuff about neuromonitoring just to keep those of you who have been with me from the jump interested. [00:24:06] I haven't decided yet, but I might even use this platform to give my monthly as and m presidential updates. When I assume that role this coming may. I have to think about that, but I'll keep you posted. I will tell you that my next few topics are going to be on navigating a job search because it's a complicated maze to navigate and I want to share what I'm learning. I'm also going to share some info on leading people, how to think about organizational culture, how to be a good writer and editor, and I may spend a few episodes sharing secrets about public speaking. Beyond that, I'll get into topics like persuasion, negotiation, psychology at work, and how basic principles of economics apply to the work we do. I'm going to have fun with this. I hope you'll join me. Well, that's it for today. Thank you so much for listening. Please continue sharing this podcast on socials and through word of mouth. And also thanks to everyone who's been sending me emails and texts. Actually, almost everyone. I get some weird stuff sometimes, and usually they come from somebody anonymous, but I'm not gonna respond to that stuff. So send me comments, send me email, just don't send me weird stuff. But please continue sending questions, comments, insights, critiques, pushback, validation, thought provoking questions, whatever you want to. Stimulating stuff [email protected] I always love hearing from you, unless you're weird. I'm rich vogel and that was stimulating stuff.

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