The world has taken to Twitter to disclose their #firstsevenjobs. In fits of nostalgia, we’re jumping in to line item our sequence to now. Mastermind Austin Kleon weighed in that you are not your job. He suggests that we may be defined on some level by our history.
I suspect this to be true in a physician’s work.
What third year medical student has any idea of what she’s getting herself into? In our mid-twenties we commit to a path rooted in an ideal. Along the way we find only those options exercised by the generation before us. In the end we take one of a few jobs and hope that it meets the imagination of our post-juvenile core clerkship self.
Years later some doctors find that they can’t see beyond the next shift or exam room. Burnt out and locked in they know one thing and see few options other than their job. The paralysis is in part due to what I call medicine’s culture of permission.
But true to Kleon’s suggestion, I suspect our true work may be identified in our past or just beyond the narrow clinical spaces where we land. This isn’t about leaving medicine but coupling it with our true purpose.
It took me this long to begin to get my hands around what drives me. My biggest job now is reconciling my work with the skills that I’ve spent the better part of my life refining.
Tapping in to your creative self? I might suggest a look at Austin Kleon’s brilliant Steal Like an Artist.