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The first day of the rest of my life

My name is Anjalee. In October 2015, at the age of 26, I resigned from my job as a junior doctor in the NHS. Now I’m a writer, business consultant and mentor for career-questioning doctors.

Despite all the political turmoil surrounding junior doctor contracts at the time, and the threat of worsening working conditions, the government’s idiocy was not the only reason I left.

It had been a long time coming. I never really wanted to be a doctor, but when you’re 15 years old and choosing your GCSEs at school, it’s very difficult not to be influenced by the people around you who tell you that you’re good at science, and therefore you should do medicine.

I tried. I really did. I passed every exam at medical school, I got a good job in London, I got very good feedback from my peers, my mentors and my patients – but there was always something missing, and that something ate away at me inside for months on end, killing my passion, turning my colours to unvarying shades of grey.

When I left, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had no plan as such, only a dream to get back into my true loves: creative writing and modern foreign languages. I had no new job lined up for when I finished in December 2015. It was perhaps a little mad to do things this way, with no plan B, but I hoped quitting would give me the impetus to do now what I have been putting off for a very long time.

I now use this blog to document my journey, and also talk about my experiences as a doctor: the good, the bad, and the terrible. I can now be brutally honest about what it’s really like to work for the NHS – since I’ve left anyway, I don’t have to worry about losing my job for speaking out!

I now mentor other doctors who are going through difficult moments in their career. I know how isolating it can be to start questioning your life’s work, and I often find people simply need someone to talk to.

I have no regrets about my medical career; it was a fantastic experience and has made me who I am today, but it does not define me. The day I left felt like the first day of the rest of my life, and I couldn’t wait to get started.

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