There is this paradox of thought that creeps in most days (if I allow it) and most of the time I will even ask a fellow coworker, “Do you love what you do?” or “If you could go back in time, would you choose pharmacy again?”
This article by Paul Graham found its way to my feed this morning through another reading, and though it took me all morning to read and digest the whole thing, I feel validated. There are moments when I look at myself from another’s point-of-view and think, “Is she happy?” Happiness is the thing that I tend to search for… you see I couldn’t tell you exactly how much money I make to the penny. I have no idea to the hour how much PTO I have built up. I can tell you I have been a drug expert since 1999 and only recently so feel I can use that term and MEAN it.
Would I do my job without pay? That, according to the article, seems to be one of the qualifiers of finding and doing what you love. Would I do right now for money for free? Maybe. I mean, I would definitely change the job. First, I wouldn’t sit in a room and just enter orders all day. I would probably do more of a clinical job but not clinical that is defined in my current job today.
What would that look like? More patient contact. More ER contact. More of a presence where knowledge is valued and needed in a moment’s notice. I have that to offer. It would make me happy, even if momentarily in that the Sallie Mae bill I continue to pay monthly would see more worthy.
But, if I was really honest with myself I would stop and say I may find something else someday. Even if it is something on the side. Being in-demand was a lovely time when district managers valued your license (not so much your credentials) and would throw new cars, sign-on bonuses and time off your way. They would appear like vultures outside the retail pharmacy with a suit on and ready to beg.
Today? The students are graduating and learning the art of begging.
The creative life doesn’t seem to coincide with making money.
“The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.
Art suffers the moment other people start paying for it. The more you need the money, the more people will tell you what to do. The less control you will have. The more bullshit you will have to swallow. The less joy it will bring. Know this and plan accordingly.” – Hugh McLeod
And this one by him:
“The best way to get approval is not to need it.
This is equally true in art and business. And love. And sex. And just about everything else worth having.”
What about approval from myself because I am so excited to face the day and go to work because it is not work but my passion? Is that possible?
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
What if that looking takes more than 20 years because quite honestly I am THERE. 20 years and able to say apologetically I am still seeking.
The bottom line is start doing the things you love. What do I love? Well, I do love medicine. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that. I do like how convoluted and complicated it can get. Throw in another disease state and another medication and a genetic tendency to metabolize differently and weight changes. Throw in some food or no food or grapefruit juice (though in some medications you would have to drink about a quart a day maybe?) and complicate the black and white definition.
Then give it some time because years ago hormone replacement therapy was all the rage and now it’s not. Thank you Women’s Health Initiative for that one.
Back to the question at hand…
The realization: A 21-year-old chose this career path for me. She, in her silver spoon mentality felt it was prestigious but not to a fault. She could forsee perhaps having a family and not being on call. Oh, and Todd Gean’s house was close to the biggest house in Adamsville, TN. He owned and still owns his own drugstore. Guess what? I never spent ONE SINGLE DAY in his pharmacy prior to going to pharmacy school. I am not even sure I was aware what went on except he put pills in a bottle all day.
“If one wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely, to mete out to him the most terrible punishment,”wrote Dostoevsky, “all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning.”
Yes, I am searching.