Monday, 7 January 2008

Stick or Twist? A New Year's Dilemma

Happy 2008 to one and all.

The New Year marks a time for new beginnings, new hopes, new aspirations and, in my case, a huge new dilemma. It won’t come as a surprise that my dilemma is, once again, related to MMC. For those who don’t know, MMC (Modernising Medical Careers) was the government’s attempt at reforming medical training. The idea was that doctors would get a clear career path and a structured training schedule. It’s failed, all that the government succeeded in doing was fucking up the lives of thousand and thousands of junior doctors, created endless reams of extra paperwork for us to do (taking us away from our patients) and the “training” is exactly the same as before – the big difference is that we now have less of it.

Not exactly progress, if you ask me.

The failings of MMC and last year’s MTAS fiasco have been discussed no end on the web, in the papers, on the radio and on the telly, so I won’t go into all that again but I will explain to you the dilemma that MMC has left me with and maybe you guys can help me out.

Last summer, I was working as a doctor in general medicine and MTAS/MMC fiasco left me staring down the barrel of unemployment. With only 9 days to go until I had to sign on to the dole, I managed to secure a “run-through” ST1 job doing anaesthetics in a different part of the country. “ST” jobs were like gold-dust and the competition for them was fierce, so I was very pleased to be offered one and accepted the job offer with much relief.

I then relocated myself to a different part of the country, found myself a lovely apartment to live in, and set about seeing if a career in anaesthetics was for me. After working here for 5 months now, I love my job. I find it the most interesting, exciting and rewarding job that I’ve ever done and I KNOW that this is what I want to do for the rest of my working life.

So far, so good and you may now be wondering what my dilemma is.

I’ll tell you. It’s this city. I really enjoyed where I was living before but my new city (NewCity) just doesn’t have the vibrancy, the character and the things I enjoy. My first impressions of NewCity were that it was ugly and uninteresting and, after living here for almost half a year now, I know that my first impressions were correct. NewCity is just a bit rubbish really. Entertainment comes from the “Let’s Go Out, Drink 12 Pints, Dance To Cheesy Music And Try To Get Off With A Slightly Overweight Bird” school of good times. I’ve nothing against this once in a while, but my problem is that there is NOTHING ELSE to do here and the “living for Saturday Night” mentality gets a bit tedious after a while. I don’t know – maybe I’m just getting old!

Another part of the problem, I feel, is that I am now living hundreds of miles away from my family and old friends. This isn’t as huge a deal for me as it is for some people because I’m pretty good at making the effort to visit people or call people. Also, I’m a pretty affable and sociable person and tend to make new friends quite easily. That said, I’m not at the “popping round unannounced to your mates house to watch the footy” stage of friendship yet, and I think I miss that a little too.

So my dilemma is this. Should I stick with NewCity? As things stand, I have a seven year Specialty Training contract here. The fact that I’m doing a job I really love and have found a gorgeous apartment to live in would suggest sticking with it. But then again, should I remain in a place I don’t like for seven years (the rest of my youth)?

Leaving would mean giving up my run through training and I’d have to navigate my way through the quagmire of the applications process once more. There is even more competition for training positions this year than there was last year, so if I decide to leave, there is a real chance I won’t be able to get another job and end up being unemployed.

The 2008 application process began on Saturday, so I have to make a decision pretty quickly.

Should I stick or should I twist? I really am torn, what do you guys think I should do?

- Michael

b.t.w. the system does not allow me to transfer my contract to another part of the country because my reasons for wanting to move are not “compelling” enough.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stick. 7 years is not much as a proportion of your total life. You'll hate yourself if you take the risk and end up unemployed.

Also once you're a registrar you'll have no fucking time for a life anyway.

Micheál said...

I'm not sure. Seven years is a long time to stay in a city that bores you. Is there any way to apply for training posts in other parts of the UK without giving up your current post? Surely with the level of ineptitude at MMC HQ noone involved would realise if you sneakily applied for run through training again this year?

steph said...

Stick with it!

How many people can say that they've found the job they love? Not many. Count yourself lucky, mate!

Which is worse?

Having to work at a job that you don't like just so you can enjoy your time off...

Or...doing a job that you love but it means that you have to work a bit harder to enjoy your time off?

I know which one I'd choose. The old saying holds true "You can't have your cake and eat it". Cheers!

Anonymous said...

i'd find something to do in the vicinity of the city ... a new hobby / sport / etc that will break you into a new circle of people and give you something to do other than the "standard" night out you described. it'll also take your mind off where you live.

i dont know what you're like (ive literally only read this one entry) but if it was me i'd be saying to myself "the sea is nearby and ive always wanted to surf" or "they've got a dry slope near here and ive always wanted to ski" or (most likely) "where is the nearest dropzone?!" (i am a qualified skydiver, and you'd be surprised how many doctors i know in the sport!) ... 7 years is a hell of a long time. thought about emigrating?! ;)

good luck!

Jo said...

Really tough...

I'd say "stick" - seven years is a long time, true, but it does zip past, particularly if you are doing a job that you enjoy. There are probably more things to do in your city than you realise - you should have a "what's on" type website (putting "This is {NewCity} into google should help) which will give listings of different societies and clubs.

Also - would the application process look at the fact that you had a job, and were reapplying? If they did, it might be detrimental to the application.

Good luck, whatever you decide!

Anonymous said...

Stick and see if it gets any better, both the city and the whole MMC mess, I'm sure you can apply again next year?

the little medic said...

I'd say stick.

I know just how shit it can be to be in a place that you don't like. I was sent to such a city for my 3 clinical years. I hated it so much I commute 80 miles a day.

But at the end of the day, you've got a job, something which many others haven't. You're enjoying it too. I'd say stay with the job but try and make more of the new city - or spend your free time visiting new places.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

The Junior Doctor said...

Anonymous, Micheal, Steph, Anonymous, Jo, Anonymous & The Little Medic - Thank you all so much for your advice.

Over Christmas time, I had long chats with my family and friends about what to do and opinion was pretty much divided down the middle. A week ago, I had more or less decided on one course of action, but now, my feelings are swaying the other way. This is unusual for me, because I'm normally a pretty decisive person.

I'm going to give myself a dealdline of 6pm tomorrow (wednesday) to decide one way or the other...

Micheál said...

Although, having just logged onto www.mmc.nhs.uk, given the seemingly inpossible to decipher application system put in place this year, maybe you should stick with what you've got!

By the way, my personal dilemma at the moment is whether or not I finish the second year of an ever more frustrating medical SHO scheme or jump ship [and perhaps city] to start BST in... Anaesthetics! Hence the interest in your blog.

Decision making. Easier when it refers to other peoples' lives rather than your own, strangely enough. Best of luck with the choice!

Merys said...

I will put money we're in the same place! I hate this city, but for the love of god I'm noyt quitting now.
I say stick.

Yaya said...

My son is in exactly the same position, when he asked for my advice, I told him to go get a girl friend, fall in love or even get married so that I can have me some grandchildren since there is nothing to do in this dire city and instead of him sitting around being bored! ;-)

Don't forget how 'lucky' you both are given the heartache the applicants of this year are facing and remember, life NEVER turns out exactly how you want it.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't mean he should be stuck in a city he hates for seven long years or more just for the sake of the job! I bet that's how Dr Shipman acquired his perversion and ended up killing his patients. I'd leave myself because I wouldn't be able cope with the situation for that length of time

Junior doctor, who said you can't apply this year anyway? You have every right to apply to wherever you want, whenever you want providing you give your month notice. It's called 'your' right to human rights.

Anonymous said...

and you don't have to give notice before you secure your next job either

Anonymous 1 said...

Dr Shipman becomes serial killer due to lack of local leisure opportunities: interesting theory, Anonymous 4.

fiona said...

Stick it mate. You're lucky. My son had to go to Australia to do the job he loved.

anonymous 5 said...

I think anonymous 4 means Shipman killed due to frustration, before he developed interest in free money, which is plausible imo

anonymous 6 said...

Stay, sit and get a cat ;)