Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.
This morning, I researched the meaning behind “sabbatical”. I was not aware of the religious context behind it. I learned the term in college, as professors used their sabbaticals for research and educational travel. I had also come across the concept from a friend I knew that worked for Intel for 10 years.
What about the rest of us that don’t teach at the college level or work in industries where we stay for 10 years in a company? Do we also not deserve a break from work? It is not plausible when you have bills, the need for positive income, and really no direction on what to do with your time.
Well, I had to make a decision. After two years of working at a dead end job, working in my family business, teaching, and other side consulting projects, I was exhausted and burnt out. I know most of you would say, “Well that’s life, get over it, move on.” I even thought that myself. But, as I started to feel more suffocated, more suppressed, I realized that even if I didn’t have an opportunity to leave for, I was better off creating my own opportunities as I was on a negative path.
Most of us went into healthcare with a different outlook of what our lives would be. You think people are like you with the same cause, especially when you are in your school bubble. Then you start working and realize that you are just another employee. Do more, say less has become the workplace of most healthcare institutions. You feel as if your approach, your efficiencies, and your mindset are not used for a creative good. You are just used to produce numbers.
So there you go, I am going through life like most of us, asking what the hell am I doing? I remember in Pharmacy school all those that came back to school at a later age for many reasons. Maybe, I am on my self-schooling, or as I call it my self-sabbatical. I write a blog, not sure if my words mean anything. I wrote a children’s book I Like French Fries Too! on Amazon. I am writing a business plan. I am still job searching and finding new opportunities or collaborating to work on efforts that don’t require me to answer to unreasonable people. I might even travel to do some volunteer work.
Do I worry? Of course. I planned this the best I could. I was going to lose my job at the end of the year anyhow, so I decided to take my retention bonus and make the decision for myself. I spoke to my financial planner. I am not near retirement, go figure, but I am minimizing or conservatively spending. Already I have identified so many things and items I don’t need. Utilizing what I have, selling unnecessary items on Facebook marketplace, cooking a lot more and not buying all the junk snacks I used to need to get through me work — all ways I can save.
Am I wasting time? Am I not looking at the cost outcome? Am I just not coping with what life is? Maybe. Maybe, I am finding a new trajectory for myself. Finding my potential, finding a way to help people and help myself, finding a way to live for me and not let all the things that have shaped me continue to bully my path.
We as healthcare professionals also have to take care of our mental and physical health. How can we can encourage others to do something when we ourselves haven’t taken those steps. Take that vacation, speak out against the unbalance of work, and slowly we can reform the healthcare workday.