The past few weeks have been confusing. After a lot of persuading by various people, I’m starting to realise that I might be able to do this whole academic/research thing as a career. (I mean, always assuming that there are things like academia, research, and careers in the future. Having seen the budget, I’m not convinced.) Having the chance to do research has always felt like a lucky break until now; a hiatus from my “real” job. I’ve tended to see the academic jobs I’ve had as something temporary and finite. It’s not been in the career plan (I mean it has been on paper and when I talk to people; that’s not the same as believing it in my head)
So, the first confusing thing has been making that mental shift from seeing research as a phase in my life to something integral to my future (see above for caveats on there being a future). (If you’ve read some of my other posts, then you would be right in thinking that I seem to keep making this mental shift and that it always confuses me. All I can say is that it’s an ongoing process)
But the second confusing thing is that I’ve started to think of my PhD as my real job. Not even a part-time, 50:50 split with clinical work job. But a real job. Something that’s worth doing in its own right and not as an adjunct to my clinical work. I want to work on my PhD more than I want to go to the hospital. Not just for on-call days when I can’t do oncology; but even sometimes my ward work.
A paradigm shift is fine, but this one has gone too far! Yes, there are the usual annoyances with training and staffing etc etc, but this felt different. It’s an extension of “I don’t have to be a Dr” because now I can be something else instead.
I can be something else.
Maybe I want to be a researcher. Maybe I don’t want to be a doctor. (Please bear with me: I’ve been ill and very tired for the past few weeks. I’m fairly confident it affected my thinking.)
And today I went in to work (I am on holiday, I promise. Just sorting out a few bits). As I walked through the entrance to the hospital, I recognised a parent and waved hello. They looked like they wanted a chat, so I went over.
He did want a chat. He wanted to give me an update about his child. He wanted to share that with me, somebody he’s only ever met in this horrible place where bad things happen, and I got to be a part of his life. Not because it was my job and I was working, but because he invited me to be a part of that.
I know when the relief hits, sometimes you just need to share it, and a familiar face will do.
Even so, that’s still pretty awesome.
I like doctoring