Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Random memory

When I was working as an underwriter for Centrallife Insurance Company in Madison Wisconsin, the company was bought by Employers Health Insurance, out of Green Bay Wisconsin. It was a requirement that my department take two medical terminology courses. Those that passed the exams with a total score of 100 were allowed to keep their jobs. Those that failed would lose their jobs. We were given medical terminology books to study. One teacher had a Jeopardy-style class. She would provide an answer (like- this is composed of red and white cells, platelets and plasma), and someone would give the question (like- what is blood?). I 'won' the class. The other class was taught like a grammar class in which the teacher would provide prefixes (like-cardi/o, conjunctiv/o, and  dermat/o) and suffixes (like-ology, itis, scopy. and osis) and she would put the prefixes and suffixes together and ask the class to define it. I'd raise my hand every time, and the teacher would let me give the answer. I was the only black person in the class. My coworkers were upset with me. They told my boss that I wasn't giving them the opportunity to answer any of the questions. My boss asked me to stop answering all the questions and give my coworkers the opportunity to do so. That pissed me off,  I replied, "I'm not keeping them from answering the teacher's questions. Why should I pretend to not know the answers if I do?"   My boss continued to ask me to please, for  once, let my coworkers answer the questions."
I reluctantly obliged. The teacher asked what a cholecystectomy was. I knew the answer, but I didn't raise my hand. Neither did anyone else. Then the teacher looked at me and said " I know you know the answer."  I smiled, saying "Gallstone removal."  I was correct. Then the teacher asked what a Nephrolithotripsy was. I knew the answer to this one as well, but I didn't raise my hand. Neither did anyone else. Then the teacher again said " Alieux, I know you know the answer. Why aren't you raising you hand? "  I smiled, saying " Kidney stone removal." Again, I was correct.  I was ready for my coworkers to bitch and moan about my still answering the questions so that I can tell the boss that they're jealous that they didnt know the answers and that the teacher asked me for the answers.  I will never forgot how my intelligence posed a threat to their success and how my boss enabled them.

I was one of only 4 (out of 17 underwriters) that got to keep my job.