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My rule of thumb is a $100 minimum

Posted By: Sue on 2006-07-09
In Reply to: Graduation gifts - Mary Franciscus

Of course, closer relatives and friends receive more, but always at least $100 for graduations, wedding gifts, etc. when someone is an acquaintance.

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Rule of thumb - THERE'S NO FREE LUNCH
If you don't want to do much, don't expect to make much. That's just the way it is.
Rule of thumb in the NE is October & April when

the time changes. Daylight Savings starts in April and Standard Time in October. It always works for me. Change all the clocks and change all the batteries.

For those who haven't done so yet, though, better get changing.

Rule of thumb on dictation. A dictated
minute on average takes 3 to 5 minutes to transcribe. So, at the top, 60 minutes of dictation can take up to 5 hours to transcribe. Would not do it for less than $20 personally, and then based on what I do now I would be losing money.
I use Verizon mobile and the rule of thumb with mobile broadband is...
Basically, it will work whereever your cell phone will work.  If your too remote, it may not work, but I do know a lot of campgrounds like KOA offer Wifi, which means you should be able to pick up that signal too. You can always call ahead to the campground etc. I use mine going down the road for the most part but every great while going through the mountains I lose reception.  
One for the thumb!!! nm
I know what you mean about the thumb.

I also stretch my wrists, hands, fingers often and it helps a lot!

I agree, my right thumb too, cause it's the
My right thumb aches constantly, sometimes to the point of almost a burning feeling. I know it's because I use this thumb only for the spacebar!
thumb w/ mind of its own
I just recently noticed that my left thumb likes to extend when I use that hand to type.  It is not to the point of being sore or achy, but it is feeling kind of stressed.  I don't know of any other way to describe it.  Does anybody have or has had the same issue?  How do I make it stay down?  Help!
thumb issue
I was thinking that might be it. I do not have an ergonomic keyboard as of yet. I might want to get one pretty quick. I did try buddy taping it to my index finger and hand earlier. That seemed to help too, but took a little getting used to.

my thumb issue was due to
De'Quervans? (I'm not going to look it up right now) tendonitis.  It's located on the side of your wrist by your thumb.  Mine got pretty nasty, had to go the route of cortisone injections then finally surgery but 7 yrs out and no more issues or pain. 
thumb problems
It could possibly be DeQuervain's tenosynovitis.  I had it.  I was in a lot of pain for a long time.  Finally had surgery after several cortisone injections and physical therapy.  All better now, though.  Good luck.
thumb issue
it is DE Quervain's, I know because I do PT reports. Whether or not this is my problem, we'll find out. I have an ergonomic keyboard coming, as I am not going to mess around with this. I did put a hand towel under my wrist pad. It is helping for now. At least, I don't have to buddy tape. That's a pain. lol. Pun intended!
Actually the ones I have do not have fingers, just a thumb.

I really love them, There is a strap around the wrist to adjust the tightness, but the neoprene is a great fabric that seems to work really well for me.  I hate to recommend anything because sometimes what is good for one is not so good for another.  I would recommend going to a surgical supply store and they should let you try them on, that is what I did. 


Thumb soreness
Anybody have any remedies to help with sore thumb.  My thumb is constantly sore from hitting the space bar. The longer I type, the more my thumb is tender.  Any suggestions to soften the blow to the space bar
A good of thumb is 30%, that should cover everything.
ExText-sore thumb

Does anybody have trouble with a sore left thumb from doing speech recognition in ExText? I have been doing it now for 5 months and have constant pain in my thumb. Just wondered if there was a better way of doing it.

Left thumb backspace keyboard
I can backspace with my left thumb and space forward with my right thumb. No reaching up with my pinkie to the backspace key at top right. It's called an "Erase Ease" I think. Let's me fly.
But it isn't a "rule of thumb" anymore...Carla is right...sm

Bella, it's not a "rule of thumb" anymore. That was before the advent of word processing software. Word and WordPerfect do automatically adjust the spacing at the end of a sentence to make it more readable and pleasing to the eye. The only reason so many companies still ask that it be done is because that USED to be the norm in the time of typewriters and that's what we learned from Gregg. Companies I work for who are newer generations and know about the ins and outs of Word and WordPerfect know that they adjust automatically in order to put a clear, able to see, nice looking space at the end of a sentence.

However, with this being said, the original poster should still ask her contractor/client/company what they prefer. It is never left up to us unless we're the owner of the contract and developed the template or format ourselves. Especially if it's an MT account that pays based on character lines. Some would say that extra space is no big deal, but just how many Keystrokes do you think that is in a day hitting that extra space after a period? Maybe enough to make up about 10 extra lines or so? Probably. I'd rather get paid than not if they don't want you doing it and you are anyway.

Soooooo, after my ramble....always ask your supervisor, etc.


Is it at the thumb base? I had mine x-rayed, and it
NSAIDs and wearing typing gloves seems to help. Also, after the initial 1-2 yrs. of constant pain, it did settle down considerably, now only hurts if I use my hands for twisting, such as opening jars, wringing out wet washcloths or laundry, or using screwdrives instead of a power drill bit to assemble, dissasemble things. I also have a lot of pain riding a bike. I padded the handlebars as much as possible, and try to ride with the the sorer of the 2 thumbs resting on top of the handle bar with my other fingers, not gripping it.

Anyway, good luck, and hopefully it'll settle down in a few months!
My left thumb is the only "finger" I don't use, carpal tunnel is bad enough already.nm
I just noticed my right thumb twitching. I tell ya I'm falling apart! Last week my rear end and

left leg were going numb and now my thumb is twitching.  Ya know how you have your thumb poised above the space bar, well whenever I pause my typing my thumb twitches slightly and softly taps the space bar.  I keep rubbing my hand hoping it will stop.  Anybody else have this problem?

Maybe I'm getting to old to be an MT anymore.  Been doing this for almost 14 years and never so much as had a headache.  Now within the last year, I have head, neck and shoulder problems with muscle spasms and tightness, my rear end problems, and now this!  Frustrating to say the least! 

Had a Sony hand control years ago, then my thumb killed me! nm
What a win-win situation!

I wish the animal shelters took better care of our pets (since they are a part of the government and all). I don't know why those shelters smell so bad; the shelter in my county stinks so bad that you are constantly aware of it. Taking care of displaced or hurt animals should be a big part of their job, and they could take measures to ensure the animals don't get sick. I understand all about their being overworked, but then someone should report to the higher ups what is needed, and then there should be no problem meeting those needs.

In a neighboring county where I live, the public went toe-to-toe with the director over the animal division; demanding answers about the operations and procedures. (That director said he needed a new building, but the public thought the changes should be made in their operations and procedures.

When I want a dog, I always adopt (so far over the years I've adopted 2 beagles).

Nice post!
First rule of being an MT

That's what I was taught.  Everyone is in the same boat and has to take the bad with the good.  Refusing to do the hard stuff makes it worse for the other MTs on that account, and they will not appreciate it.  Until the problem doctors go poof and disappear, nobody has the right to say they can shove all the bad jobs onto the next MT because THEY are here to make money (everyone is, and someone has to type it).  And there is such a thing as Karma - one day you might log on to find ALL the work is the dictator you dread, because all the MTs that came on before you felt entitled to leave the crap work for YOU.  You really won't make any money on that shift, as opposed to doing a few bad jobs each shift.  So type them as you get them, like the rest of us. 

If everyone got together and went to management about the problem guy, that's one thing (and yes, we all feel this way about at least one doctor).  Deciding you don't have to do it because you don't want to is quite another, and often grounds for disciplinary action.  Work is often just that, hard work, and with time and practice it becomes easier.  Nobody promised you a rose garden, challenges are what this job entails.

MY first rule, before being MT. is I have to
Don't know if you can get 400 lpd. Minimum at
The first rule of being self-employed is that

you set your own line rate.  However, we all know that NONE of the MTSOs hiring IC MTs allow us to set our own rate.  They "offer" a rate, and we accept if it's OK.

I worked for a real cheapo doctor when I first started out.  He paid hourly and kept riding my backside to type faster because he only wanted to pay for the actual time dictated instead of the time it took to transcribe.  More than once I told him that it takes an average of 3:1 typing to talking ratio to get it done.  It worked out to be $.03 per line.  I dropped him like a bad habit.  He bounced through a few other transcriptionists who all quit on him before he wound up having to pay to outsource to a service.

as a general rule...

I use an "f" after any abbreviation that I want to expand.  I just use the standard abbreviation plus f, so I do not forget what they are.  My ShortHand is full of things like this.

ex: cbcf  tcpf  tshf

Works for me!


date rule
Thanks. My mind just blanked and I couldn't remember. It seems like it has changed so often over the years!
I have been an MT for 33 years and the rule has always been...sm
to use mg when preceeded by a number.
and there are so many exceptions to all those rule! lol
that's the english language for ya! I really don't know.
My rule for semicolons
is that if the two statements support each other and each statement could be a separate sentence, I use a semicolon. Example: He underwent an ultrasound in March 1999; AT THAT time he was noted to have BPH. The sentence you asked about should be done like 'NM'says: He underwent an ultrasound in March 1999, at which time he was noted to have BPH.
Thought that was already a rule
Hmm...I thought that that was already in effect, that no US Govt transcription contracts could go overseas/be outsourced - at least the V.A. has that standard in place...
minimum wage is Fed
I know some cities/counties and I guess states have their minimum wage requirement to allow a business to operate. I know some cities in NJ (where I live now) won't allow a business to operate unless they pay minimum around $9/hour. But minimum wage is a Federal standard and is set at $6.XX an hour - that is for all 52 states.

And it is illegal for anyone to pay less. Actually, I found out that if you are working for someone on a production basis and it comes out to less than Fed. min. wage, you can actually file a complaint and recoup wages.
Minimum wage in NY now $6.75 hr - sm
Working at Burger King is looking better all the time!

At least minimum wage
I worked inhouse for a company.  We did not have to be there at any certain time, but we did clock in and out to show how many hours we were there.  This was, as the other poster said, to make sure we made at least minimum wage.  Also, they figured this by the pay period, not by the day. 
Not around here you can't. Minimum wage. sm
I live in the midwest in a rural community. Wages are lower.
LOL no it's not, it's because of the alernative minimum tax
IC and minimum wage
I have read on the forum where an IC should make minimum wage. Is this no matter what her line count pay equals?  I am new to being an IC and have just accepted a position with a service.  Is this true with every service?  Do they have to pay you minimum wage?  Also, if the service is not in the state where you live does this make a difference?  I just figured you were paid for what you produced.
minimum wage
7.00 an hour would only require you to type about 90 lines an hour. Let's say minimum wage is $10 an hour, that would only be 130 lines an hour - I do that in 15 minutes even with my ESL doctors... I say if you are only making minimum wage, this is probably not the field for you to be in.
Less than minimum wage
AND a bad platform, and you are staying? There are jobs out there for way better pay, but you have to start looking! With your four years experience, definitely do not settle for 7 cpl!

I have months when I clear $1500 and I have months when I clear $2000....the difference is ME. Over the past 8 years I have learned to work smarter, more efficiently, and that it is a necessity to have the tools to work with. What good is it if I become an expert swimmer but I'm stuck in a bathtub? If my company's platform would not let me do better, then I'd be testing for other jobs. You are the only one who can do a thing about your income situation.
minimum wage
Walmart pays minimum wage with infinitesimal increases over time. Work schedules are constantly changed to keep the employees off balance. The work is extremely exhausting and at least in our local area, they have a very hard time attracting employees, so there are some real tough scary characters working there. Across the street at Target, it's a different story. Employees are well-groomed, happy, and eager to help the customers. The stores are always immaculate, and you never have to negotiate around towering stacks of boxed unshelved merchandise like at Walmart, which has turned into a filthy mess most of the time. Considering that Target's pay scale is not much more than minimum wage, we can assume that there are cultural differences in that company that provide a better quality of life for their employees. If you have a choice in your local area, go for Target.
I keep my IMing to a minimum while sm

I'm working.  I have in the past had the neediest people constantly pestering me with questions, I would say 40 or 50 questions a day from a few of them.  No more of that. 


Legally they cannot pay below minimum
wage. Anyone making below that should check with their state government and make sure that if they do not make minimum wage that this is rectified. Even at the Q, they have to make up the difference to minimum wage.
I was always told as a general rule
it was double.  Most of the time, however, I think it is slightly over that.
Rule Books and AAMT
AAMT sure brought this profession to the forefront. However, when they started publishing their own Bible (BOS) there are a lot of grammatical errors in there. Also, the styles they use are not accepted in this part of the country and will be considered "errors" by the client, hospital or clinician who do not want their reports set up in this manner. It is wrong to test people on a style that is not accepted in their part of the country. You are only forcing people to learn a "new style" which the facility in your area will consider completely wrong. Then the private company will comply with that particular hospital and change the set-up. Sadly, the person who took the test and did not use the BOS has a lousy score and is not considered for the job although s/he meets the set-up criteria for hospitals in the area where they live. Go figure, spend all that money for the book, or just test and get 100 per cent and then study the style of the facility who is paying for the work and then be 100 per cent right. Don't judge all tests by style, wait and see what the hospital is paying you wants for the style. You are putting the cart before the horse. Been in long enough to know that the BOS is absolutely not the "Bible" and the testing companies should take this into consideration. You could study this book until you're blind and then have to "unlearn" it to comply with the paying $$$ facility who is the ultimate "boss" of how the work will be turned in and accepted. Kabish? If I turn in a discharge summary in my local hospital according to the BOS style, I would be considered a total idiot. If I used the local hospital style for testing nationally, I would probably rate a 65% on what the hospital would consider 100% correct for style and grammar. Can't win.
It's the AAMT new BOS rule on numbers.
you two are the exception to the mommy rule(sm)
Most MT mommies got into this business solely for the purpose of staying at home and making a little extra cash on the side.  They try to juggle the kids and MT and the diaper changes always come before that STAT report.  And, yeah, I know what I'm talking about because I used to work in the hospital and that was always the way with the at-home mommy MTs.  There was always an excuse as to why they couldn't do this or couldn't do that.
Well, my husband and I rule the menu here.
We're sure not going to let the kids do it, otherwise it would be pizza, tacos, and hot dogs daily and everyone would keel over from clogged arteries at the age of 30!  Beside, like Kikki said, it's not good to let the kids call the shots.  That's why the good Lord made parents! 
No one said the kids should rule the menu
But if you love your kids then you understand that they are people too, with their own tastebuds. Just because they might have a suggestion doesn't automatically make it JUNK. Just different.

Trust me, my kids know who the boss is. Geez!!!!!
General rule is 3-5% a year. sm
If you currently get 8 cpl, ask for a raise up to 8.25 or 8.5 cpl, that almost covers cost of living and inflation.

Generic numbers here to show the math based on the 8 cpl with the raises:
200 lph at 8.00 cpl = $16 hourly/$33,280 yearly
200 lph at 8.25 cpl = $16.50 hourly/$34,320 yearly
200 lph at 8.50 cpl = $17.00 hourly/$35,360 yearly

When you ask for a raise, provide them with verifiable data to prove you DESERVE a raise. Say you are 99% accurate, remind them. If you type 250 lph or more, remind them. If you work OT on days off, remind them. If you come at them with your homework done and good reason to give you more, they will be more apt to say yes. (I have never been turned down for a raise, once even got more than I actually was looking for because I didn't specify how much of a raise I was wanting.)