It’s time to renew my professional license. In order to be able to call myself a psychologist, I have to be trained and competent to continue to work in the field. These things I believe I am, although you may disagree about the “competent” part. I also have to pay my dues, which have risen to $725 this year. This is a cost of doing business.
I’ve paid my dues willingly since I was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012, so that if I felt I could work, I’d be maintaining the proper accreditation. Looking back on it, I don’t regret that decision. I wasn’t always able or competent, however, resulting in my suspending my work in 2012.
Sick or not, I love my work and I feel so lucky to be able to do what I do. I was never good at marketing myself, but I had developed enough relationships with other psychologists, physicians, and clients that, after many years, I didn’t worry about where the next new referral would come from.
Things are different now. The only clients who call are those who don’t know I’ve got cancer, or those that have been referred by people who don’t know. More often calls are from people wanting my money. Each year the Yellow Pages gal encourages me to add something new to my account. Maybe it’s time to tell her (it’s a different “her” each year, mind you) that I have leukemia and she’s lucky to get any money from me at all. For the past few years, I’ve been spending more money than I’ve been making to be able to see the few clients who call.
Also, my disability pension limits my annual professional earnings to $5200. If I make any more than that, the government will reduce or eliminate my pension. I understand that. If I’m able to work, why would the government consider me disabled? But there are times when I can’t work at all, and those times are highly unpredictable, so I don’t want to give up my pension, which is my only stable source of income.
When I was hospitalized last December, for the first time I questioned whether I should give up my license altogether. But the wise people I consulted with at the time told me that a crisis is not the time to make such a decision. It’s like selling the house or moving to a new city too soon after a spouse dies rather than taking the time to deal with the grief and figure out what would be best in the long run.
Using this same logic, I have decided to pay my dues this year, knowing that I will be operating my business at a loss yet again. This way I will be able to continue to see clients who call. Working makes me happy, and I’m not ready to give up calling myself a psychologist. So the little shingle stays up for now. But if you’re seeking business advice, I can’t help you. I can, however, give you the name of a good accountant. He’s got some time because he’s given up on me.