Sometimes I wonder how I ended up here, doing this job. I reiterate: it’s the best job in the world, and I love it.
But this is definitely not what I had planned for my life.
I never wanted to do research: this is completely true. And I don’t just mean that I was ambivalent about it, or thought I’d have to do a bit to get ahead in my career. I never wanted to do any research.
And here I am, voluntarily extending my CCT date by at least 2 1/2 years (probably more), to build my own little niche in a research field that confuses my medical colleagues, and that I don’t have the expertise to understand the background knowledge of as well as my university peers.
I never wanted to do research.
I remember meeting my first clinical academic: a fellow in renal medicine. I was on my first clinical firm, at a busy inner-city London teaching hospital. It was an old-fashioned, firm based medical student attachment, and I loved it. I knew this was where I belonged, and who I wanted to be (not the renal bit). The SHOs were slick, the SpRs were knowledgeable, the consultants seemed like gods (in fact, I think they may have been). They expected a lot from everyone on the firm, and that included from their students. It was amazing…
But within two days of being there, I could tell there was something different about the research guy. He was no good with patients. He was no good clinically (I was better at venepuncture than he was by the end of my second week – and I’m really not that good at practical skills).
I wasn’t interested in cause and effect. I didn’t even consider that the two might not be related. As far as I was concerned in my highly experienced, all of 2 weeks on clinical firm, self-assured 3rd year wisdom, doing research meant sacrificing my clinical ability. That, quite simply, was not an option.
But slowly… very slowly… I got sucked in.
First there was the teaching, and the SSC, and the conference presentations that went with that. Quite a big deal for a student, but still peripheral to my “real” life.
Then there was the BMedSci – purely to make me more competitive for the clinical jobs. Naturally
Then the academic foundation job – because how else was I supposed to guarantee a paediatrics job going through MTAS? Sure, it meant moving away from the best city in the world (I’m not going to invite the torrents of criticism by specifying, but if you know me at all, you’ll know where I’m happiest!). It started building up, and suddenly I was applying for an ACF job; staying in the Midlands….
Eventually, last year, I caved in…
I think I want to do research *gulp*
There. I’ve said it now.