We first heard from Dr. Gigi back in March when she was preparing to leave her job without a Plan B. As a courageous member of The Doctor’s Crossing first Career Transition Posse, she is sharing her career change with us in real time as it unfolds. Today’s blog features a recent interview with her, as well as some photos she’s taken on her journey (except for this first photo). If you missed the blog introducing Dr. Gigi, you can read it here. Her update is a compelling example of how one doesn’t have to know where one is going to start moving forward.
Q: Back in March, you were considering retraining in a different specialty, as well as contemplating some non-clinical options. Has anything changed?
Dr. Gigi: I’m still considering informatics, medical writing, and utilization management. I’m also exploring the option of becoming a wound care physician.
Q: Which ones seem most compelling at this time and why?
Dr. Gigi: Currently, health informatics, with a focus on data analytics and/or public health, seems to be one of the more compelling options. My ideal job would involve complex problem-solving for the benefit of others and society. I feel the field of health informatics could provide that. Medical writing, specifically editing and quality control, also seems interesting. I’m detailed oriented. I like working independently, and I love researching a topic. I feel I have done similar work before for free, and I found it interesting. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had dedicated time for it.
I also recently started exploring the field of wound care. I had considered this in the past, but I was under the impression that I would need a different initial specialty (different from Ob/Gyn) to get into this field. This does not appear to be the case. I like working with my hands, doing procedures, and helping others with specific and concrete problems. This field might be a good fit.
Q: Which ones, if any, have fallen out of favor?
Dr. Gigi: Retraining in a completely different specialty has fallen out of favor, at least at this time. I feel a lot of my frustrations with my current specialty would still be present in any other specialty I would consider.
Q: How have you been researching options?
Dr. Gigi: I’m in the process of taking an online introductory course on healthcare data analytics. I’ve also been researching online about the field, different options for training, and various job opportunities. In addition, I’m learning about medical writing and editing and considering taking a low-cost online course. I’m also researching the field of wound care.
Q: Have you been doing any networking?
Dr. Gigi: I have done some networking, online only. I’m a member of a Facebook group for physicians looking for non-clinical careers, and I have communicated with some of its members about different positions. I applied to a few utilization management jobs several months ago, and I was able to speak with their recruiter after being referred by another member of the Facebook group. Those positions ended up not being a good fit, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn more about them- all thanks to networking!
Q: How is it to not be working?
Dr. Gigi: Weird! But time has gone by really fast- hard to believe it has been 3 months already.
Q: What have you been doing in your free time?
Dr. Gigi: Mostly traveling- I spent a month with family, and then I did a 3-week cross-country road trip by myself. I visited 6 National Parks in the process and saw some of my friends. I recently came back home and am now trying to decide on the next steps.
Q: What’s been the hardest part of these past few months for you?
Dr. Gigi: Not having a clear vision of what I want. Also, the feelings of guilt still resurface from time to time. I always felt that being a physician was a privilege. I had the privilege of becoming a physician, and I had the privilege of patients letting me treat them. And here I am, with the ability and the privilege to treat those in need, and it feels like I’m wasting that opportunity, like I’m ungrateful.
Q: What’s been the best part since leaving your job?
Dr. Gigi: Not being on call and being able to travel without it affecting others. Also, one of the best parts is not regretting the decision to leave my job. I think back to how I felt while working at my last job and how unhappy I was. Also, I have looked at other job descriptions in similar roles and they do not appeal to me at all- that is how I know I made the right decision.
Q: How is it dealing with the uncertainty of your situation?
Dr. Gigi: The uncertainty gives me some anxiety and stress. Even though financially speaking, I’ll be OK without working for a while, I still feel the need to work and to contribute to society somehow. I feel anxious about the thought of never finding something fulfilling, of not having a purpose. What if I miss the correct path because I’m not looking in the right direction?
But I also feel better than I felt while I was working at my last job- no regrets there.
Q: Anything in particular you’ve learned so far about yourself?
Dr: Gigi: I have learned to accept and embrace certain aspects of my personality that in the past I was either not aware of or tried to change. I’m an introvert and I never considered that aspect of my personality when thinking about my career or specific jobs. My past impression (based on society’s feedback) was that being introverted (and everything that comes with it) was a negative. I have become more aware of my personality type and now I’m making sure that my next job is compatible with it.
Q: Any advice for others who are in the transition process?
Dr: Gigi: Be honest with yourself and do not worry about what others might say. Be open-minded and take time learning about different career options. Learn about your personality type and take it into consideration when making decisions about your current or next career. I am inspired by this quote from Steve Jobs: “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Thank you so very much, Dr. Gigi, for sharing your journey with us as well as your lovely photographs. We are looking forward to seeing where the road less traveled takes you next.