“You can apply for a job, but you cannot apply for a career.”
A job is a specific occupational position within a business or organisation. When we complete medical school, doctors are taught that our career means pursuing a post-graduation. Is it so?
Let’s take a simple example of a vocational career like teaching. We want the people who are teaching our children to think of it as a career, not just a job. We want them to have an interest in our children and care about the success of our children.
Same applies to us as doctors! The patient assesses the technical quality of medical care indirectly by evidence of the interest and concern of professionals with their health and wellbeing. Such evidence is perceived through empathy. To achieve this, we need to love our jobs.
Jobs can help people start careers in many ways – experience, knowledge, learning about what they like and dislike. Eventually though, striving for a career is a very positive step because it means you want more out of the work you do than a paycheck.
I can share my own journey of a job to career. When I worked as an ENT Surgeon dealing with deaf children, I knew to perform surgeries to improve their hearing. I was one of the few surgeons in the country performing the cochlear implant surgery. However, performing surgery was a job and I knew that outcome of the surgery was dependent on post implantation habilitation. There was a dearth of well-trained habilitationists. I needed to strengthen my team and improve my surgical outcomes. This started the journey of my career.
First, I went for further training in cochlear implantation by the best surgeons in the world. I learnt performing cochlear implantation in anomalous cochlea by the surgeon who gave the classification of vestibular cochlear malformation to us. It was a lifetime experience to see his involvement with the deaf children and the outcomes of his implantees.
Next step was to strengthen the habilitation of my implantees and lead a strong team. We not only trained our staff but I did a deaf educator course and certificate course in early intervention in children with disabilities.
As I went looking for options to upgrade my skills, I realised they were unlimited. I completed various courses on Edx and Coursera platforms ranging from “Medical ethics” to “how to become a resilient person”. I am pleased to inform that many of these courses are free. I am now a mentor for Coursera and would recommend everyone reading this article to take at least one course.
Whether a job or career is the right fit for you will depend on your stage of life. Jobs can help people start careers in many ways – experience, knowledge, learning about what they like and dislike. In addition, earning potential is much higher in a career than in a job in most cases.
There is a lot of unrest amongst doctors these days. Doctors are stuck between good medical practices and economics of getting that paycheck. I personally feel that the balance can be struck if we develop our jobs into careers. Every specialty has something to add to the quality of patient’s life than just treating a disease.
So as you can see, while one can work very hard at a job and even be paid well to work a job, a career takes much more motivation and forward-thinking effort than a job
“A job is given to you, but a career is made by you”
Dr Sheelu Srinivas
Consultant ENT and Cochlear Implant Surgeon
Columbia Asia Hospitals, Sarjapur, Bangalore