Adventures of a Midwest Transplant

Some Thoughts On My Career Path

Back when I was in medical school (I will eventually write a post explaining that situation to my newer readers), I lamented the fact that the next 30 years of my career were basically planned out for me. I envied my friend who were getting Master’s Degrees and working for non-profits.

Now that I am planning on getting a Master’s Degree and am working for a non-profit, I rejoice in the open-ended opportunities I can make for myself. So far, the grass is indeed greener.

Right now I work in organ and tissue donation. I love it so much. The part about actually helping people and saving lives with tangible results was missing for me in med school. At work, I get to do it every day. Every single day I work, I have proof of someone’s life who was saved on enhanced.

So far, I even personally know one person who’s life was saved through organ donation. That was a moment in my life I will always cherish.

The exact work I do from day to day is not something I can maintain for years to come. Working 12 hour shifts is no good for my sleep needs, spending time with my man, maintaining a relationship with friends and family, and general sedentary behavior I’d like to avoid.

The question is how do I keep up with the joy of my work, but with better working alternatives? It’s something I’ll be thinking about over the next few years.

For now, I intend to stay in the same type of job. All the lateral moves within my company are to jobs with even worse hours and work I really wouldn’t want to do.  I’m only 7 months in at this point and so I”m too new to think about advancement.

Do I want to move into administration? Yes, eventually. I’m planning on getting my Master’s in Healthcare Administration. Even though I’d be doing more paperwork than actual life saving, I know I’ll be okay with that. I love making charts and crunching statistics. Filling out paperwork is something I actually enjoy (I know, I’m weird). Plus, I’m too ambitious to not eventually end up in a position of power.

Do I want to move to the private sector? Probably yes. I know that the fiancé and I want a relatively large family, and he really wants to make a career of his music. We’ve agreed he will do this even if he never gets big enough to command the payment for gigs that would match his current annual salary. So finances is a consideration. I want a pay ceiling that’s very very high and the private sector has a higher ceiling than non-profits.

Do I want to stay in organ and tissue donation? Still undecided. I love what I do, but I was so uninformed about this whole world before I got this job. I’d have to explore it some more and see what related fields have to offer before I’d make that decision.

One thing that makes me happy is that I can do this job anywhere. They have organ and tissue donation all over the globe. The process is pretty similar all over. I’ve got great training and can do this job, so I can travel with the fiancé and still be employable wherever we end up. At least, that’s the idea.

I don’t know how much time I need to sort this out, but I think I”ll revisit this topic in six months to see how I feel then.

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2 responses

  1. silverneurotic

    Always keep your options open and realize there are better things out there. Granted, right at this moment you probably want to stick around where you are…too many changes at one time isn’t exactly good for mental health….and the job market still isn’t ideal but definitely keep in mind that what you are doing now is not the be all, end all of jobs.

    January 13, 2012 at 20:19

    • Thanks! I’m trying to reach for the stars (assuming I stay on this path), and I appreciate the encouragement.

      January 13, 2012 at 21:40