About 2 months ago, I joined the ranks of the unemployed. Do you want to know what is the worst part of losing your job? Not having one. For 10 years, I studied, and trained for a very specific job description and for the past 2 years, I was gainfully employed in that role. But 2 months ago, in the middle of my training, I was told that I would not be allowed to stay on. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was floored. One would have hoped that I would have picked up the signs, had enough sense to work on my deficient areas perhaps. But perhaps I simply “didn’t want it badly enough” and so even though I was floored when I was told I was no longer wanted, I didn’t neccesarily fight it. Because if I’m completely honest, my relationship with that department was wrong from the start. I didn’t fit in that culture and lifestyle, and they didn’t fit into me. I was expected to mold myself into one of them but I never could. In many ways, it was a bad relationship, a relationship that I should have ended, but never could. But they could.
And so now, I find myself undertrained, but over educated. Unsuitable, really, for anything in the real world. I could, I suppose go flirting from residency to residency in the hopes that I’ll complete my training one day. But honestly, I can’t bring myself to do that either. Part of the reason why I decided not to become a full-time researcher was because I couldn’t stand the lifelong uncertainty. To be so uncertain if at the end of a lifetime’s work whether or not I made a difference. It would have eaten me alive. Of course, I never did know that one could be cut off so dramatically, and coldly as a resident either. But now I know.
Someone pointed out to me the other day that I seem to be taking this “delayed adolescence” phase a little too far, and a little too long. At the ripe old age of 31, I’m still a student, one of the famed “professional students”, out of touch with reality and the working world. He said “its irresponsible”. Perhaps he’s right. I can defend myself by saying that the world of medicine is complex, we all train forever and only get real jobs when we are 50. But deep down, I know he’s right.
I’m moving off the prescribed path again of course. I’m going back to school. I hope that this time Iget it right. I still hope to be able to complete my residency training, and that this is merely one (of many) diversions from the Path. But if I can’t find a position by the end of this academic year, I have to accept that its not meant to be and hope that I had made the right choice and opened the right door to another career.