I find it funny to frame the question within the context of the inquisitor. For fellow doctors, especially those I have worked with, they see it as a loss of talent. Not because I am such a superb doctor, (although of course the reason for leaving medicine is not because I messed up and killed a patient!) but because the acute lack of doctors require that I work as one, in any capacity.
Officemates would ask me why I decided to leave such a lucrative profession, seeing that their family doctor owns two houses, two cars, and sends his children to the most expensive exclusive school in the city.
Usually when I am asked this question, I qualify the context and respond accordingly. I would say that I have tried to contribute by going to residency, not once, but twice. I would also say that there are only a few doctors that have hit it big and that it would take a longer time (and a lot of sacrifice) for new graduates to earn their keep.
Those are the simple, let's-move-on-to-the-next-topic answers. In reality, this blog has been a running account of my second attempt to enter and remain in residency training, as well as my first job in a call center, and now my new job in one of America's Most Admired Companies (for eight years straight).
Our journey in life is all about choices. I have never seen the need to crystallize my journey so far in terms of what was the penultimate choice that made it so. Because it is so unpredictable that I have yet to see the journey completed halfway to be sure of my destination.
Three years ago, I would still be asleep, too exhausted to blog about my experiences as a surgical resident. I wouldn't know that I would get sick, go back to my alma mater, get sick again, and land a job at a call center. If I knew then that I would be making a career change, I wouldn't have wasted time and went to an IT school right after passing the medical boards.
Now, I am waiting for the result of my application to the UP Open University, to be able to study while working in a better environment. I honestly can't tell you where my next "checkpoint" would be.
I am guided by Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford University Commencement Address:
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.I can only hope that when I do connect the dots looking backwards, they will make sense.