Sunday, February 24, 2013

World's Most Unemployed Hematologist

We are in a crisis. I am in a crisis.

We have no idea what we are doing after this summer. In the entire US, there are, at most, 10 hematology positions open. I have applied and gotten rejected - within minutes. I don't even get past the recruiter.

And what if I got a job? Cancer stresses me out so much that I feel myself aging by the hour. Within a span of minutes, I go from holding back tears for patients to resenting them for piling their problems on to me. Each individual story is terrible, and a new face comes through the door every 15 minutes. The Girl always quotes a mentor who told her "it gets easier once they break your spine", but somehow that hasn't happened yet. The getting easier part, at least.

And where are we moving? I have lived away from my son for 4 years, and now I may end up far away from both him and Natali. We are talking about Colorado, but that's a day's travel away from La Crosse. Where in the world did I go wrong? Natali is going to live with my Ex, starting in September, so this might be the last summer I get to live with her. I have been offered an okay job near La Crosse, but there is nothing there for the Girl to do.

It's so incredibly complicated. The Girl has to find a residency or post-doc, but she isn't sure what she wants to do or what she can get. It is virtually impossible that we are both able to find something good at the same time, in the same area.

And then on top of all this, I get injured. For the first time in 4 years, I get injured. One day, I am the fastest guy in town, running uphill intervals on the treadmill, and the next I am a guy who can barely walk. For over two months now, I have felt that same fiber bundle in my hamstring heal and tear.

It's all a sign of getting older. I am now 38 years old, unemployable and injury-prone. I have rarely been this depressed. Things have been confusing before, but never like this.


Olga King said...

I am sorry. Truly am. We often (almost always?) put a front up in the blogs for those who potentially read it, and it becomes our life. You know, especially when you started writing as for some reason, like, running...and then fear writing of other stuff. Of course, Girl's blog is a refreshing exception...Anyway, darling, tough. Jobs, kids, souses, countries...20 years I am a person without home and will die one. I also live away from my son (no matter how adult, he needs me), and in a place where I truly don't want to be - but with a person I want to be with, and he wants to be with his son. And I truly dislike my job. But I have obligations, and what I like had been put on a far-back burner for 20 years. So...things will sort out. Even if they never reach a dream state. Here. How is that for anti-depressant?

PiccolaPineCone said...

so here's what i have to offer... there is a time, it might be a year or three down the road, when many of these things will be sorted and your famly will have reached a happy equilibrium again. Not everything will be perfect because it sounds like something has to give, but you and SLG are educated, resourceful and in love with each other so most of thesethings will be okay. Compromises will be made and over time happiness and stability will be restored. Heck, maybe even no compromises will be made. I the midst of this blackness, you have to picture THAT time. See yourselves there. Know that this pain is transitional and temporary and those happier, sorted out selves are waiting for you.

Robyn said...

A lurker on your blog and SLG's, and another physician/runner about your age (but slower than you speedy folks!). I wish you the best in sorting out your plans.

It sounds like you would enjoy a break from oncology. How did you like working in the emergency department? Would that be an option? Are there locums jobs you could look at?

Whose career will drive the next round of decision making, yours or SLG's? I think it helps to be clear about whose job is the "priority" one (and of course this changes over time!).

What is the most important thing to you: your daily job, the immediate environment where you live, proximity to your children? Try to weight these factors and make sure your decision honors what you value most.

My thoughts and hopes are with you as you navigate a difficult time. (And isn't it amazing how an injury can put a pall over everything? Rehab wisely and get better!)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're having a rough time.

I'm a lurker here and SLG and was thinking along the lines of what Robyn said. I'm matching soon and it seems like getting a residency spot will be pretty tough for the Girl since it's always tougher the further you are from med school connections. Can you follow her and do a hospitalist gig somewhere since you seem sick of heme/onc anyways. My mom just took one working 7-3 with no weekends or call and decent salary. It seems like a pretty good match for young kids and a spouse in residency.

Hope things improve

Fast Bastard said...

Olga and PPC, I like your comments and read them several times. The uncertainty of what is coming is the worst. Especially factoring in the kids.

Robyn and 8ede...., it really is complicated with our jobs. I like your input, but we are not even at a point where the Girl knows what residency she wants to apply to. Hopefully, she is able to find an open PGY2 spot somewhere, because otherwise she isn't starting residency until the summer of 2015.

Danni said...

It's tough sometimes to feel this way, especially when so much has been invested in school and training etc., but you should figure out what your priorities are and how you will have wanted to live your life looking back from your deathbed. Will you have regretted not putting your career first? In my experience most of us can adapt to our situation, whatever we choose to make it, so the best option is to choose a situation that puts things we value most first. Don't know if this makes sense but maybe you don't have to be a Hemotologist.

Kirsten said...

As somebody who's kind of in the same position as you - I can really relate. My luck is that I'm not injured and can run myself into a better state of mood....

In the summer I'm going to move to a country I don't like very much to live with people I don't really like very much and I have to look for a job that I don't really know what should be. And have to leave my 17 year old son behind on his own to finish school. And my husband has some ieas of carreer change that really don't suit me. And age is not in my favour.

Why do I bother you with this?
Because you know, somtimes you have to force yourself to take the positive look on things. Even if that's the last thing you want to do. There's no other choice. Sometimes you have to suffer things that you really really don't want to do, but obligations force you. And then you have to dig deep to find something positive to focus on. Any little thing can be used. Running is not an option for you right now - focus on training core or strength. Focus on your kids, how can you use this time to be even more for them.

Focus on priorities.
You have to sit down and list the priorities and make clear decisions according to them.
List alternatives for each priority. See what both of you can live with. Find out if one of you can / wants to change direction. Cancer is depressing. Do sports physisians deal with hematology in any way? Would that be an option?
Why don't you use your skills as a runner for a while, train people untill SLG finishes her things? Then you are less dependant on the place.

What ever you choose, do something active to get over this phase. That way you still feel that you are in control.
The feeling of loss of control is the worst feeling and only helps to get you down.

So go out there and take control of your life again! :-)

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