Alumna revisits Johnson City campus to share insight, advice with current students

Students in the daytime Medical Insurance Billing and Office Administration (MIBOA) class in Johnson City, TN recently found themselves feeling unsure of what the job market might hold for them after they complete the program. They asked their instructor if she knew of any program graduates who would be willing to share their experiences since completing the MIBOA program.

Their instructor regularly stays in contact with her former students so she sent messages to those she knew would be a good fit to speak with the class. Freda Buck, who graduated from the MIBOA program in 2018, was one of the first graduates to respond to the students’ call for help. Freda recently achieved her career goal and had some tips to share with the students to help them achieve theirs.

During her visit, Freda emphasized the three keys to her success: maintaining realistic expectations, taking initiative, and not giving up on goals.

Maintain Realistic Expectations
“I knew I wanted to be an Office Manager after finishing school, but I knew I wasn’t able to get that position immediately. When people finish school, they enter the job market believing they’re going to get the best job right away. It’s okay to start at the bottom and work your way up. When I was first hired as a referral clerk, I was working part time. I wanted to work full time, but I had to remind myself it’s okay to start out on a temporary basis since I was still new,” said Freda.

Take Initiative
Freda became acclimated to her new position quickly and set out to work her way up the office ranks. “I’m an overachiever. As soon as I finished the tasks I needed to do each day, I would go to the Center Manager and ask what else I could be doing around the office, and that was when they had me start working on insurance denials. Once I finished those, I kept asking the Center Manager for more work, and that’s when I started working on insurance billing. Stepping up and taking initiative helped me to stand out as a new employee.”

Don’t Give Up
After four months working part time, Freda was moved to a full-time role. She continued working hard each day toward her goal of becoming an Office Manager, and in May of this year, she was promoted to the role of Center Manager.

“Set your goals and work for them. I had the goal of becoming an Office Manager, and I was able to achieve my goal in under a year and a half. Don’t let anybody tell you it can’t be done. I went up against people with Associate’s degrees and Bachelor’s degrees when applying for the Office Manager position, and I didn’t let it stop me,” Freda said.

Freda’s final piece of advice to students was to not doubt themselves. She said, “Once you’ve made the decision to put yourself out there, don’t second guess yourself. Stick with it and be the best you can be at whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish.”

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