(For full effect listen to John Fogerty's Centerfield while reading)
No Problem. I can do that!
Today I had the bleak realization that I’m not the interpreter I once was. I was asked to take a call to simply take a message for the provider. The provider was calling through with a patient already on the line and they couldn’t gather any information to identify who the patient was.
Sitting in my office a non-Spanish speaking interpreter asked if I could take a call. I'm still fluent so I thought "What the heck...I can still do this. It's only a message." There was a stark and violent reality check that followed.
It was all about 'me'
From the beginning I had no control over the conversation flow. The PSR asked me to gather some information. The patient then gave me all of that information and so much more! She told me why she was calling and all that she needed. All was communicated in the end but when I got off the phone I felt a mix of feelings.
First, I immediately felt flustered by how inefficient and confounding I was. If I heard an employee handling a call the way I did, there would be a problem. I went from interpreting in third person to first person and back again. I did a horrendous job at managing the flow of the communication. I did nothing to empower the patient or provider. And I was definitely the main hub of attention.
I was a disaster. I apaologized to the provider for being so bad. I was a help, but I wasn’t an interpreter. You never really know all that you know until you see it realized before your eyes.
But the most amazing thing happened. I was hit with three amazing realities.
The Power of Three
The first was how amazing our interpreting team is. They can handle constant ebbs and flows of communication and never once be the center of the call. They seamlessly connect the patients and providers without ever making themselves a focus of attention. To see them work is truly awe inspiring.
Second was the gratitude for the training team we have. Without strong structure and expectation none of the work we do would be possible. Our care and consideration for making our interpreters successful is second to none. We show them how to be unassuming while mightily lifting up the power of kind hearted and important communication. To be able to pass that skill, knowledge and gratitude for the work we do along to others is a blessing, to be sure.
And finally, and a bit more light heartedly, I am an official coach rather than a player. The only thing I could think of after getting off of that call was Mike McCarthy, head coach of the Green Bay Packers. I could only think of how effective he is in leading his team to greatness. Then I imagined him going in as quarterback or as defensive end. That makes me smile 😏
Who am I ?!?
At one time I was a great interpreter. And I’m sure if I flexed those muscles I could be again. But today I am the Mike McCarthy of the Connecting Cultures team. I am blessed with being the leader of an amazing company that still lives out the values and beliefs we were built on over 17 years ago.
Today, on that phone call, I felt like Mike McCarthy in for Aaron Rogers against the Minnesota Vikings. Thinking of myself today gave the same sly smile.
Forever looking for a way to distinguish between my personal self (Rashelle) and my working self today I’ve discovered the name for my alter ego:
Hello! My name is Michaela McCarthy 😏