Picture of Linda Van dillen

Well, the time is actually arriving. I have contemplated, tentatively scheduled and delayed over and over the actual date of my retirement for probably the past two years. It has become a source of jokes from my family and friends – saying “they will believe it when they see it”. Why have I willingly continued to delay this date? Because I love what I do!

I won’t bore you with a recounting of my work history – if you have an interest in how much society and opportunities for women have evolved over the past 40+ years, you can read my blog article, One Nurse’s Path to #EACHforEqual that I wrote in honor of International Women’s Day 2020 earlier this year.

Instead I thought I would pass on some words of gratitude, and perhaps what some would consider as wisdom to the next generation of nurses and workers’ compensation professionals. I have always been so grateful for this platform I have been afforded. I hope I have never abused it for my own benefit, but rather to provide a space to learn about new concepts, treatments, and even provide a little humor.

First of all, I am grateful to my parents. They set the groundwork for my desire to always try to do my best. I am so grateful for the love of my family – for my two daughters, my late and new husbands, and my siblings, new family members, etc. They give me the confidence to keep pushing myself.

I am grateful to my previous business partners. We developed a wonderful, cutting-edge case management company, and when the time and business climate was right, we were in sync, and able to combine forces with the awesome CompAlliance! Jim and Julie Weir of CompAlliance asked me to stay on after the sale of my company and asked me how I thought I would add value. They listened to my thoughts each time they were presented and when they made sense, allowed me to run with them. We developed an award-winning blog, became URAC accredited, and were able to share our thoughts on what made CompAlliance unique in the workers’ compensation case management and managed care space. They also encouraged me to represent our company in a variety of spaces that a case management company of our size did not normally participate. IAIABC nominated me to join their editorial team which I have to say was one of my favorite gigs over the past two years. I have enjoyed working with the entire professional staff at CompAlliance, and they are a big part of why I have stayed so long after my initial proposed retirement date.

So now I get to the unsolicited words of wisdom section of this article. I think of the GEICO commercial where the guy (because he bought a house and is now like his dad) is offering unsolicited advice at the hardware store. It cracks me up every time I see it, because I find myself doing that often. Well here goes:

  1. Always try your hardest at work. Make your goal to help everyone around you excel and look good, including your supervisor. I can tell you from experience that at least twice in my work career, I was promoted right along with my supervisor, as they went up the ranks, because they knew I would always have their back.
  2. If you are in a position of influence, in charge of a conference, or some other type of organization, this one is directed to you. Do you seek out new talent to share their thoughts? Or do you always seek out the usual suspects? I know the speakers you typically engage usually work at large companies that have provided a sponsorship, but there are many and varied voices out there that have something valuable to say and add to the mix.
  3. Consider trying to learn a skill totally unrelated to your normal job. It can be painful or scary at first, but after you begin to gain some success at this skill you will be so proud of yourself!

I wish you all the best, and if you are ever in the Bradenton, FL area, look me up. I will be the one with a golf club in one hand and a guitar in the other (both skills I am currently trying to learn).