Sunday, October 21, 2012

How things change...

Way back when I was a naive undergraduate I worked for a physician. It was probably my biggest learning experience in a job ever. My first really professional type position. And the physician I worked with became a strong mentor for me over those 5 years I worked for him.

I remember one lunch we went to he told me about his ex-wife. They had gone to medical school together, but the marriage couldn't survive two medical students and two careers at critical points. He told me that she was moving home, giving up medicine (after hundreds of thousands of dollars of school debt) and was opening a deli.

I remember wondering how this could even be? Is it that these people you hear about just never really know what they want? Are they just flakey? Why in the world would you go to years of schooling and pay so much only to hit 40-ish and call it all quits? What is wrong with them?

Naive. I think if everyone who switched gears mid-stream stopped and paused in college with 20-20 hindsite, very very few people would ever graduate - or at least graduate in 4-5 years.

I work with a nuclear physicist who I cannot imagine him doing anything else in life. Neither can he. We travelled together recently and in his mid-40's, nuclear physics is all he ever wanted to do and all he ever wants to do - even at the expense of having a family, traveling, etc. Nuclear physics is what makes him happy.

He is rare. I think the vast majority of us are NOT like him (at least I hope) and while we aren't necessarily inclined to start over, maybe it is just a slight modification on what we did to get to the mid-career level.

My best friend jumped ship from HP and then bought a flower shop. But I look at her and working at HP isn't what you would peg her for when you meet her. The flower shop suits her perfectly!

Maybe my physician's wife - maybe running a deli in her small town is what suited her.

I never really questioned my own career goals in life - I wanted to be a scientist of some type throughout much of my schooling. Though right now I have to admit right now that science, totally interesting and love the knowledge, doing it is far less interesting to me.

A scientist friend of mine was forced to leave science due to medical issues a few years ago. She finally has her health nearly back and is contemplating what she wants to do with her life - and working in a lab isn't it.

As AB and I ponder our path forward this coming year between his contract end, a possible new job for him or even maybe a move for the family, I start wondering what I want to do. I still love technology and can't imagine running a flower shop, or a deli myself, but I can't help but wonder what else, in the area of technology advancements is out there?

No comments: