So, today I’ve decided to share with you a little bit more about myself. I’ve always been a little reserved about revealing what I do besides Florence Finds and although it’s no secret behind the scenes, I’ve never shared my day job with my readers. Occasionally people ask what it is when I mention the generic ‘day job’, or every now any then someone will pop up who has come across me in that role. In my day job (and sometimes at night too for that matter!) I’m a doctor.
So why spill the beans now? Firstly, I don’t have any real reason to hide it. I trust you all not to bombard me with questions about your fungal toe nail while I’m eating (oh yes, standard dinner party fodder!) I’m also finally in a place in my career where I don’t feel my blogging needs to be a secret at work.
I’ve mentioned before that my job is a vocation; it affects nearly every aspect of my life including the way I see the world. Being a doctor offers me a unique perspective on life’s trials and tribulations and it is without doubt an honour to play a small, but sometimes pivotal role in so many people’s lives day to day. Many an opinion I share on the blog and in fact my whole perspective on life, is influenced by my daily practice, my training and the things or people I see. That can range from feeling positive that I am fortunate enough to have my health, to observing people’s personality traits that I have learned about as part of communication training. Sometimes I feel like it’s hard to truthfully and fully explain why I feel the way I do about some things, without you guys knowing why.
Lastly, I hope it adds another dimension to Florence Finds. I’ve often talked about the intelligent conversation you might find here (on a good day) as modern women. I speak to you, the readers, as my contemporaries, women who might be striving for career sucess but still want to indulge in glamour and creativity. I’m not a ‘fashion type’, just an ordinary wife and worker bee, daughter and friend, like all of you.
Because so many of you are pursuing careers or striving for quality of life, I thought I’d share a little bit about mine today, then move on another day to how it impacts on me as a blogger.
I’m 29 now and started medical training at University in 2000. It took 6 years of medical school (due to a spectacular first year flunk setting me back) before I was a fully fledged ‘junior doctor’ and I absolutely loved it. At that point I already knew I wanted to do ‘women’s stuff’, or Obs and Gynae. I was obsessed with the natural miracle that is pregnancy and the potentially disasterous birth. I loved the idea of dragging babies into the world kicking and screaming and never failed to marvel at the fact that I had the first pair of hands touching this new life. When it came to working in that area though, the reality was different. Whilst I loved the work the environment was difficult and the politics unbearable. It was the first time I hated going to work. I still applied for specialist training in O&G but by then had escaped, rotating into a GP job and I started to love the relationship you build with patients there so applied for GP training too.
In the end I got both, but I opted for GP. Within medicine, General Practice is often looked down on, the poor relation of being a big shot hospital Consultant. In the past, and still now when people can’t get into competitive speciality fields of medicine and surgery, they take the GP route, looking for an easy life, which in reality it couldn’t be further from. For me it wasn’t a poor second choice at all, in fact it was a greater challenge. I am by nature a surgeon, act now, think later, all efficency in a black and white world. Pursuing a career as a GP for me was taking the more difficult route, and I haven’t regretted it. Of course the lifestyle can’t be knocked, although I never minded the night shifts so much it’s great not having to check my diary to see if I’m working this weekend 😉
Even back then I had ideas of wanting to do something else too. I wasn’t dissatisfied, but I enjoyed so many things and harboured secret fantasies of owning a florist’s shop part time or the ubiquitous cupcakery. Little did I know blogging would be the answer to my creative needs.
When RMW came along (The wedding blog I worked on for the 18 months before Florence Finds) there it was, the diversion I was looking for, the thing I could do alongside medicine! The timing was awful though, with more than 18 months left of my training to go. As RMW grew, my life became a cycle of work-eat-work-sleep-work. I’d spend the day or night at the hospital then come home and blog or do business admin and emails all evening. Without doubt the hardest time was 6 months of working in A&E and the brutal weekend and night shifts that I had to balance with getting blog stuff done. The final year of GP training is a registrar year in a GP practice and to say it was stressful was an understatement, exacerbated by the lack of sleep and general down time that my ‘other life’ meant I got. Final exams and assessments came and went – I was counting down the days to completing my training in August last year and going part time to spend more time on the blog.
Of course it hasn’t quite worked out like that and my life since August when I finished training has been a rollercoaster of new experiences, thankfully all of them positive. I’m working towards becoming a ‘Portfolio GP’ – a fancy term for a GP who doesn’t settle into a daily job at a regular surgery but has lots of different roles. I have a regular part time job, do locum work in different surgeries and Out of Hours emergency GP sessions (so I still haven’t got rid of those pesky night and weekend shifts!) My quality of life has improved so much – no more sleepless nights due to stress and I actually have a life! Instead of blogging about things I’d like to see and do or try, I actually do them and blog about it later… of course. And the business skills I’ve developed whilst bogging and learning the ropes of GP management also complement each other well.
Working less (and being self employed) has brought financial insecurity but has been worth it so far. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been happier and in part that’s to do with Florence Finds… I’ll be expanding on that in another post soon. My personal happiness and fulfilment impacts on my patients too. Not only do they get a happier doctor, but I love the fact that I can really identify with the women of all ages who inevitably gravitate towards female GP’s, occasionally admiring their shoes and lending my experience of hospital gynaecology to (hopefully) solving their contraceptive, fertility and gynaecological problems.
So that’s me.
I’d really love it if you would share your career choices by leaving a comment today… I know several of you have emailed me about trying to make better choices, career changes or of course my fellow medics who read Florence Finds too.
Don’t leave me hanging!