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Looking for some career advice...

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I work in the healthcare field and my job performance is based primarily on production metrics. I review medical information, make a clinical decision, and populate a document based on my findings. Over the course of the last 10 years, I have used MEP to automate virtually all aspects of my job (with the exception of having to make a clinical decision) to the point where I could, in theory, be twice as productive as the highest producer in my department. I say in theory because after being fired at my last job for being suspiciously too productive, I have made it a point to fly under the radar so as not to raise any eyebrows as to what I’m doing.


But just as I’ve automated a lot of my work, so too has my employer, not unlike so many businesses worldwide, and now I find myself in a race to increase my efficiency in order to meet higher and higher production goals. I disagree so strongly with some of the things we’ve implemented that are meant to be time savers… they were designed either by people with no clinical background, or no knack for automation.


What do I do? It would be hard share what I’ve done with members of my management, who aren’t themselves high-level decision makers or particularly tech savvy to know what they’re looking at. I would see this playing out any number of ways:


  • I could be fired for violating some policy (time wasting or something like that).
  • They wouldn’t see any value in what I’ve done or not really be in a position to do something about it other than give me a pat on the back.
  • In the best case scenario, I think they would see the value in it and want to implement these ideas… but as you all know, these macro often require maintenance, tweaking, workarounds, and do not have the polish of a professional program.


All this to say that I feel sort of stuck. I know what MEP has done for me and how it has changed the way that I work and even the way that I think, but what do I do with this skill? Knowing how to use MEP doesn’t make me a software developer, but I think that the skills I’ve acquired could be applied to so many processes or for so many companies. How can I leverage these skills and present them to my employer, or a future employer?

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I don't have any great advice for you, all I can do is share. 

I started using MEP a lot when I was the "IT Guy" for a small financial company. I started maintaining systems but when I showed them how much labor I could save them, I needed up spending most of my time doing projects, like a paperless conversion project driven by MEP, or writing macros to improve employee performance and increasing data integrity. Since I was an independent contractor, I started doing automation macros for other companies. Many I met here. There's even a testimonial of mine on the macros.com website about the big hospital back in Bridgeport I did a lot of work for. So I was making great bucks and was my own boss and had no skills at programming. 

Eventually I became increasingly frustrated with MEP becasue although it's a great program for automation operations for a user and WinForm programs, it's poor at web automation. This is when I decided to teach myself VB.NET and started making web scrapers and other automation tools with it. Been doing that for 11 years now and I only rarely use MEP. 

I don't have a clue what to tell you to do in your case. I'd be inclined to pitch my macros to them and hope they see how it could make them more money. Maybe they could create a new position for you as a macro writer. Or maybe become a contractor for them and do your own thing. BTW, being self-employed is not all a bed of roses and is not for everyone. But if you're independent, you could culture other clients. 

Feel free to PM me if you would like to chat more about this. I don't want to share too many personal details in a public forum. 

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I followed your path of using ME to automate a lot of repetitive functions in my regular job, which was operating-system-management / maintenance / application design / programming of large IBM systems.  I always said ME was worth half a person in time savings.  You discovered the same in your job.  


Later I used ME to automate repetitive functions for about 350 other users.  MISTAKE!!!  Managers of those users wanted what you describe as "the polish of a professional program" -- they wanted Macro Express to protect against stupid and to substitute for the users' really knowing how their applications interacted in "vanilla" mode (without macros).  Though the macros performed well 99.9 percent of the time, that last 1/10 percent was a constant headache.  


So it is easy to over-reach the capabilities and strengths of Macro Express.  In an ideal world, you might find a job where you could develop macros for sophisticated users, to ease and speed them along as you eased and speeded yourself.  If you do, don't think of it as a forever job -- use it as an opportunity to train yourself and move into other computer jobs you see around you in your company.  You will eventually need more tools and skills to remain relevant, so always be learning new stuff. 

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I wonder whether there are any organizations that include a job title of "macro developer" on their organizational charts!


I know a few organizations that recognize the need for someone to be able to muck around with Macro Express (or similar tools). In general, these organizations don't implement scripts to automate repetitive tasks for many, but to provide accommodations for employees with disabilities. I'm often brought in as a consultant to do this kind of scripting, but there are organizations that have an employee who handles macro development as part of a larger job, usually a programmer. Developing macros as individual workplace accommodations works out nicely, provided the macros are maintained.


However, I have worked with a small number of organizations that have implemented Macro Express scripts as productivity boosters for everybody. Results are mixed. If the number of employees is small, and they get good support when things go wrong, Macro Express has become indispensable. But like rberq, I've seen organizations reject automation tools even when the scripts obviously increase throughput and reduce error, but "only" work 99.9% of the time.

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