Monday, July 3, 2017

Time To Move On



Hi, I’m new here.  And very honored to be here, at that.  I’m a pathologist, in private practice for > 5 years (settling in to the flatter portion at the top of the exponential career curve of knowledge/abject terror), but < 10 years (I suspect, the point on that curve at which cynicism overrides all other basal functions and drives one towards a retirement countdown sticker chart).

I’m in my second post-training big-girl-pants job, and I’ve been here for a little over 8 years.  I briefly tangled with a super-crap job, lasting only six months right out of training, working for a very bad man rocking various personality disorders.....but that will be another story for another day.  This current job is where I became an adult.  And this job is where I damn near had my love for pathology drained of my brain completely.  But it’s time to move on, and I’m doing just that.

Over a period of years, I had somehow found myself struggling to get through the work day, doing twice as much work as is safe to do, getting paid a quarter of the money being made off of my back.  I had become everything to everyone in my office and to the clinicians in the hospital, and nothing to myself professionally. I hated every minute of it.  And my marriage was suffering for the long hours, which I finally figured out after hearing myself in every conversation trying to justify my absences. It just didn't sound authentic to me. Working 60+ hours a week as a pathologist is not particularly normal. But it took a while for me to figure this out -- Stockholm syndrome is real, ya'll. And then, nearly exactly two years ago I had a gorgeous baby girl, induced at 36+1 weeks for oligohydramnios, weighing in at a whopping 4 lbs 15 oz.  And my placenta was just as small as that tiny girl, 5th percentile.  Everything was "fine" until it wasn't.  I've since learned that many of the births to female docs in similar situations to myself are premature for various reasons, commonly for oligo……………can’t help but think there is a link there. 

I’ve worked with some wonderful people over the years while doing this job.  Most of the ones who have stayed for longer than a year are the type that persevere long past the expiration date, and they just keep on going.  Each seems to have his or her own reason for doing so:  'finish what you start', 'I cannot be defeated', 'everyone will like me eventually', 'it’s not really that bad', 'I deserve this pain', 'it is too hard to change'.  What is my reason?  I’ve already made too many mistakes.  This can’t be another one.  I can make this work.  My family is depending on me.

Life is too short to stay in a job that is soul-crushing.  No job is perfect certainly, but no job should harm your psychic core or fizzle your spark.  If you don’t recognize the person that you were, that idealistic nerdling resident, marveling at those exquisite enterocytes mingling with those gorgeous goblet cells, and you can’t find her deep down in there somewhere………..it’s time to make a change. And preferably before that gal has packed up her shit and moved to the outer recesses of the universe, never to be seen or heard from again.  Mistakes will always be made, some big and some small, but they can always be corrected.  Be the change, as they say (whoever they may be).  You always have the power to make things better.  I have become a path beast during my time here, and now I’m doing my best not to become a pathological beast.  Put yourself into the situation that you want to be in, whatever that may be.  It could take awhile, sometimes may even take eight years and some major life changes.  Remove yourself from the people and entities who take everything from you and give nothing back in return.  I’m doing just that in short order.  Even though it’s a move to a more backward state than the one in which I currently reside, but that’s yet another story for another day………

Take care of yourself first, the rest will follow.

Progress and peace to my fellow burnout warriors :0)
TheUnluckyPath

17 comments:

  1. Welcome! Glad to see another path mom here :) Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to your future posts! May you live happily ever after :D

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  2. Yay another pathologist! Look at it this way, your torture has led to a level of comic cynicism that had me in stitches. I've been unlucky in many areas of my life but I got the right job out of the gate. I can sympathize though - seems at least half of my friends did not and had your same level of abuse without compensation or even the promise of being a partner. I've seen it in academics and private practice. Seems all the old dudes want to make all the money and spend their day at the golf course - ha ha that sounds like Washington D.C.

    And I can echo a story about one of my attendings who was overworked and had bad birth complications. Wait, that was me as a chief resident too. Jack was 6 weeks premature. I was working my ass off. He was 4lb. 5 (or 6?) oz. too. He caught up quickly in the charts but I have some serious big tall dude genes on my side of the family.
    Welcome, welcome UnluckyPath I hope your luck turns and can't wait to hear all about the past and future:)

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    1. Thank you :0)
      We'll turn things around......

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  3. And by the way I'm 11 years in and no countdown sticker chart yet - I'm sometimes relieved to come back to work after a vacation - even if it's a good one, routine stabilizes me.

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    1. LOL me too but not countdown to retirement ones I want to work into at least my mid 70's like my mentor here did. Ah remember sticker books? What a great fad. Maybe I'm dating myself though.

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    2. I'm reliving sticker books through the eyes of my daughter, it's awesome. Also, check out Paint By Sticker books on Amazon......one of my fav zone-out craftivities!

      #RetireBy55 for me!!

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    3. Who knew I could create a "Weird Al" Yankovic masterpiece by sticker lol!! I need another zone out craft for my staycation in a couple of weeks I'll have to check that out thanks:)

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    4. Check out planner stickers! My new obsession- basically my planner is a grown up sticker book!

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    5. Oh I have had the same planning desk calendar for 10 years I take it everywhere even on vacay - can't wait to check out those stickers thanks Cutter!

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  4. Welcome! I'm looking forward to hearing more of your story and learning about your next steps. I hope they prove empowering and rewarding and you're able to share all the wisdom you gain with us. I'm 9 years out of residency and I love sticker charts, sticker books, sticker anything so I likely will succumb to the retirement countdown sticker chart. I'm looking up the Paint By Sticker books on Amazon right now...

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    1. Thank you :0)
      Hope you love the Paint By Sticker books, they're super-rad!

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  5. The countdown to retirement is so depressing! It's like enduring life as a countdown which ends in death. Far better to at least not hate the process.

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  6. Welcome! I especially loved this: "and you can’t find her deep down in there somewhere………..it’s time to make a change. And preferably before that gal has packed up her shit and moved to the outer recesses of the universe, never to be seen or heard from again." Such an important reminder for us all!
    ~Beckster

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