Monday, April 13, 2009
I've been noted to be in a pessimistic cloud recently.. more so than usual. I'm even out-cynic-ing weathered senior colleagues at work. Which is a big thing since they have gone through years of thankless patients, long hours at work with little financial gain, and the constant battle of the hospital hierarchy. I'm just a pleb- barely 18 months in clinical practice. I shouldn't be like this- rather fresh faced and bright eyed, with the only reward for my work, the knowledge that I've contributed to healing a fellow human being (Who may or may not be onwards towards the next St Mary MacKillop).
Why is this happening?
I've thought about this quite a lot recently.
I've blamed my IT background and the fact that I've had to deal with inter office politics, absurd dead lines, working late producing a work of art that no one reads (aka documentation). Perhaps that has made me cynical and once you are there's no going back? But surely it's pessimistic to think that once you've engaged in the black humours, there's no going back?
I've also thought it was because a few of my friends (and myself) have had unfortunate events occur to them. All (typical, it seems) relationship woes- All ending in heartbreak and tragedy.
It doesn't make me optimistic hearing stories of break up, cheating partners, general relationship uncertainties, unrequited love..
Then I've thought it might be the fact that I've got no idea what I want to be when I've grown up. Unlike all other degrees, graduating from medicine means not very much. It gives you the licence to work in a hospital as a junior. To be a specialist, whether it's GP, Psychiatry, Cardiology, Surgery, anaesthetics.. it all required at least 4 to 7 years of extra training including exams.
And I constantly think, the sooner I know what I want to do, the sooner I can start on this training and the sooner I can work my way to being someone.
But no, I have no ideas about what I want and hence in a bit of a limbo which may be contributing to my pessimism especially when most people around me know what they want to be.
And then I've thought that I'm just perverse and enjoy black humour in the first place, and find quite a lot of humour in the misfortunes- intentional or otherwise- of others. (And in hospital, lets face it, there's a lot of ammo for my sarcastic remarks, from various objects 'accidentally' placed in orifices they shouldn't be in, to drunken stupidity causing gross wastage of resources.)
I've recently finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo, and at the end of his intricate planning, and vengeance against those who did him wrong, the Count learns a lesson himself. That there is such a thing as a second chance; That there is reason to be optimistic and hopeful. People can pull you out of blind alleys if you let them. If only you just looked at the whole picture instead of the blinkered path you're used to seeing.
It's a hard manoeuvre, broadening your depth of perspective, but I don't want to be one of those angry, jaded doctors around work that eventually becomes an angry, jaded person full stop. So I guess despite my pessimism, I am a little(!) hopeful for the future.