After 18 months of hard work the first paper I’ve ever properly written up was finally submitted. It wasn’t a solo effort by any stretch of the imagination. I was lucky enough to work with James Fisher and Andy Teodorczuk in putting it together.
I’m also under no illusion that it has a long way to go yet and may not even be published at the end of the day. However the sense of achievement once I clicked submit was amazing!
That said it was a project that pushed me well out of my comfort zone. I’ve always liked the idea of being involved in academic medicine but thought I wasn’t really a good fit for it. I have many preconceptions about my academic colleagues. For one they are very smart. They make it look easy. Also they must be very patient people given how long research projects can take to bring to fruition.
It also seemed I was making similar assumptions about myself – I get bored easily. I like detail but only so much. I have no patience.
Here’s the thing though, while my own personal attributes may be based on the gazzilion psycho-analysis questionnaires I’ve done over the years, they are by no means set in stone.
Over this past year or so I have become much more patient. No really, I have! I still have a low boredom threshold but it’s definitely higher than it used to be. However the ability to spend literally hours on detail is something that I have come to enjoy. I’m not sure it’s fair to say my brain has slowed down but it definitely has an ability to concentrate for longer.
I think I may’ve managed to modify some of my fundamental personality traits.
Now you could argue that will happen when you are doing something you care passionately about. I’m not so sure. I have seen people work in the same way, doing the same thing their whole lives and I don’t remember seeing any fundamental change happen to them. I’m not even convinced they were all that happy either but that’s just my opinion…
I think you need to slightly step out of your comfort zone. It could be that you work in the same speciality but perhaps try a different facet of it like I have with the delirium education work.
Or you could be like some of my colleagues who have moved their work environment to say the community or ED. Some are changing hospitals but staying within the same Health Board. I also know colleagues who have taken up work with the Scottish Ombudsman, GMC and the Scottish Government.
I’m pretty sure if you asked them 20 or even 10 years ago what they would be doing in the future, it wouldn’t be what they are now.
This idea of a mobile workforce has been around for a few years now. However how doctors define their working career is beginning to evolve. The challenge for organisations is how to adapt to this.
Perhaps we all need to challenge preconceived notions of ourselves from time to time. Try something new or just a teeny bit different from the norm. Who knows what you might be capable of…..