After my unsuccessful bid for the charity job, I renewed my search for work with vigour. Medic Footprints put me in touch with another recruiter, who spoke to me about some promising leads in medical education and clinical editing. I signed up for an online business course, which reminded me of the joy of learning. My mentor Dr Gyles Morrison and I have been talking about setting up a business together that combines our shared clinical background with my creativity and his expertise in User Experience Technologies. I worked on my novel, interviewed another ex-doctor for the Medic Footprints blog, and continued scouring the Guardian’s job section for any enticing offers.
Then suddenly, something happened. You may have read my blogpost from the day of the junior doctors’ strike, in which I explained how I went down to Dr Morton’s – a startup online and telephone GP service aimed at busy, working people who might not have time to book an appointment with a GP. I only went there to help them out with their coverage of the strikes and do some vox pops. The team were lovely and I had a great chat with the CEO. I showed them my work with Medic Footprints and this blog, and we had a quick chat about my decision to resign, but I never expected anything to come of it.
“They liked you, I’m sure of it,” Gyles told me, “I wouldn’t be surprised if they said they want you on their team.”
I didn’t dare believe it, but sure enough, a few days later, the CEO John Wilkes emailed this to me:
‘I spoke to Gyles this morning and I have in mind that I would like to recruit you to work here. Startups are a great place to work if you want to try out lots of different roles to learn fast and find out which suits you best. With Dr Morton’s, you would be able to use your medical knowledge in a practical way to change delivery of medical care for the better. To make a difference. You would be able to pursue your writing ambition because we want someone with a passion for the subject matter that already uses social media and can write. That person also needs the intelligence and curiosity to learn new skills like SEO and how Google works.
Will you come back and have a chat?’
I read it twice, three times. Was I dreaming? No – we had a chat on the phone and the offer seemed to become more and more unbelievable: they wanted me to hire me to co-manage their PR and marketing strategy, along with their marketing team, despite my complete lack of any experience or knowledge of the sector! They were happy to train me in all the necessary skills. My medical knowledge, combined with my creativity and curiosity to learn new things were of enough for them to believe I could do the job.
I went along for an interview, which lasted nearly 3 hours, as I met and spoke to the rest of the team, met Karen for the first time and had a tour of the website and current situation from John. It was a funny, informal chat and I felt really comfortable. I liked the fact that it was a small team that I could develop relationships with. One of the things I found unsavoury about my medical training was the constant moving around – every few months there was a speciality change, team change, even hospital change. I guess some people might like that, but for me, not being able to put roots down and get really good at something just didn’t suit my personality.
A good friend of mine, who transitioned last year from publisher to professional chef, once told me that you never know whether you really want a job until you’ve had the interview. After my experience with the charity, I didn’t feel that keen on the role, but the feeling I had this time was completely different: I knew I really wanted this job. It seemed ideal – the chance to try lots of new things, to learn about online business and to combine my medical knowledge with a non-clinical role. It was almost agonising waiting for the confirmation that I’d got the job. Gyles didn’t have any doubts but I didn’t want to be overconfident…
Then, last Friday evening, the call came. They were offering me the job. They offered me the job! And the proposed remuneration was…
Phone cut out. Damn! Why now of all moments?
Anyway, when we finally resolved the technical issues, I got offered a salary comparable to what I was earning when I was a full time doctor, but with a third less of the hours! I really couldn’t believe my luck, and of course, I accepted. They wanted me to start immediately, so in short, today was my first day. I’m shadowing the current marketing manager this week with a view to trying things on my own by next week, and I can’t wait to get started.
As the weekend went by and the last of my unemployed hours passed, I reflected on how strange it was that I was unable to truly appreciate my time off because I was so anxious about finding a job. I thought about all the gloriously free hours I wasted freaking out, beating myself up and crying my eyes out, when I could have been writing my story or studying or seeing my friends. I didn’t trust in my own abilities. If only we had the ability to go back to bygone days, like Tim in the film ‘About Time‘, not to change events, but to change our attitudes. How much more relaxed and enjoyable life would be if we knew that everything truly was going to be all right in the end…
I rang my dad to tell him the news. He congratulated me, but advised me to do some locum shifts in my spare time, just to ‘keep my hand in.’ Classic medic thing to say!