About 2 weeks ago, the director of my department came into my office, in the middle of the day to talk to me. At the end of the discussion, it became clear to the both of us that it was time for me to move on. I kid you not when I say that I basically went through the 5 stages of grief in a span of 5 mins (because you know…WHOLE afternoon of patients…certainly can’t blow THEM off), and then went through it all over again, but much more slowly over the weekend.
denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance
At first, I told myself, no no no. This can’t be happening. I’ve got bills to pay. WTF am I thinking offering to tender my resignation? I should be fighting for this job. After all, as the Beau would say, its a great job. The benefits are great, its a 10 min drive from our current home. And then I got angry. I’m a doctor. If I wanted to be micromanaged, I would have been a physician assistant (Sorry to all the wonderful physician assistants out there! Some of you have been even better than the attendings I’ve worked with! But …. argh). And if I wanted to be customer friendly, I would have gone into hospitality. This is MEDICAL CARE for goodness sakes. Sometimes patients simply have to hear things they don’t want to hear and I sure as hell am not going to apologize for explaining birth control to a 15 year old especially if she is already hearing about it from her classmates! This was followed by bargaining (with myself). Maybe I’ll take a month off and re-calibrate. But who the hell am I kidding. And then I got sad. Like really sad thinking I’m a failure. And by the end of the weekend, I was at acceptance. I mean, I think telling myself that I was never a good fit for this place and that I was bending over backwards to fit in was probably part of the bargaining stage too. But once I accepted that either I was going to quit with dignity or be subjected to more humiliation before being fired, quitting just seemed like a much better move even though I know it would not look good on the resume to have been on the job less than a year.
For the past 5 months I’ve been dreading going to work. I would look forward to the days I could go to the other alternate site. I kept telling myself maybe because I’m just adjusting, maybe its just a different population type and it was simply growing pains. But once I accepted that I was going to quit, I kid you not, I actually felt better about myself. Sure, bouts of self-pity still creep in and I still feel like a failure. But I honestly do think that this is a good thing. I should have recognized it earlier and taken the proactive step of saying “peace out” instead of being asked forced to make that decision.
But the question is when do you know enough is enough? When you are feeling so physically sick to go to work? When you find yourself drinking more and more coffee?
The only saving grace is that I think I’m leaving with my head held high. So far I haven’t told my patients or my staff that I’m leaving. But so far, I would like to think that I have been nothing but professional. I haven’t slacked off. I’ve not used my office time to search for jobs or answer recruiter phone calls. I’ve been keeping job searching strictly to my allocated time offs. Which also means that its been a little more slow going on the job search front. But that’s ok. I still haven’t really figured out my next move yet. And this time, I think I’m going to be a lot more deliberate in settling on a job. I’m not going to take a job simply because they said “We would love to have you!” It really has to be a better fit for me this time before I would say yes.