Mark Lewis: What to do next?

I celebrated my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary with them at the weekend, which turned out to be a large family and friends affair with many people that I hadn’t seen for many years. Naturally all wanted to know how things are going with my job and what I’m planning to do next. When I try to explain about the difficulties getting onto a training post they seem astonished – their solutions to the problems are hardly revolutionary – have I considered going abroad? can’t I stay where I am? leave medicine?
Funnily enough I have thought about all these things – and on the surface all look like fantastic ideas; going abroad leaves me with visions of practising medical in a tropical climate with not just a change in location but a total change in lifestyle – I am sure the reality is very different! My own inhibitions about going abroad range from the unnecessary carbon footprint and expense of relocation to leaving behind all the people in my life. Besides, are you running towards something better or running away from something terrible? Plus there are currently concerns about returning to the UK – I already know of a few peers who are staying in Australia to complete training programmes out there – 5 year rotations. I wonder if there will be a large cohort of English emergency medicine consultants in Australia in a few years.
As for staying where I am – we all know that isn’t possible – but the general populace have a difficult time understanding why we are moved hundreds of miles every few months/yearly. Obviously some specialties are bigger culprits here than others. Being an SHO forever doesn’t really appeal anyway!!
Leave medicine? Sounds so simple. Lots of people talk of investment banking and law as if the door is being held open into those professions from medicine. I can see the appeal and the obvious benefits – a fellow SHO who left last year for a desk job at a drug company now has a stable salary, bonuses, car, expenses … however, I just don’t see myself there … yet 😛
So, what’s left – change specialty, work on CV, research degree? Please send your answers on a postcard …
So other than that discussion, it was a lovely night!