It has been almost a week since I last posted. And what a week it has been…
For this week’s How Did That Happen? I present How Did My Job Eat My Life? And How Do I Make It Stop?
Being in medicine is a time commitment. I have heard people say it is a lifestyle or a sacrifice. The guy from the bank who was trying to sell me a credit card called it those things and more.
Those were the last words I wanted to hear.
Usually I feel like my work-life balance is pretty good. At least half decent. But, the past few weeks before and after this conference, I am questioning that. And this week, I had significantly more work than life.
So, how did my job eat my life?
Step one… Work with staff who seem like to take extra consults, at least at this time, and acquire sick inpatients.
Step two… If something could go wrong with a patient, my computer, my schedule… It will. And probably more than once.
Step three… The internet never has the information I am seeking readily available. Clearly, I can’t find a good how to delineate a mediastinum on the internet. Or good information on BRCA2 in men and cancer screening outcomes. Lots of random stuff, but not what I want to see.
Step four… Try to get things done in a reasonable order. Suddenly everything less important will become a priority. And get rescheduled.
Step five… Someone will send you an assignment for half day the night before.
Step six… The number of inpatients will increase nearly exponentially over the course of the week before you are on call.
Step seven…. Lose all sense of organization on your desk so that it is covered with papers that need to be filed, organized or shredded. Get distressed by this whenever you sit at your desk then waste time trying to figure out if you have time to deal with it.
Step eight… Realize that your job has eaten your life and that you haven’t been home before 7 all week. Then realize you are on call for the weekend. And then worry about one of your inpatients such that you are up half the night even though you weren’t on call that night.
So yes, life eating has prevailed.
My plan to beat this is captured in this picture….
I’m on call… I can’t undo that.
But, I will win otherwise.
I will eat my delicious burrito and read a fun book tonight… Even if I take pages in between.
I will not work on research or study tomorrow or Sunday because it is already very apparent I’ll be at work a good chunk of the day rounding and admitting and all that stuff one has to do.
I will spend time with our friends visiting from home in between all of the work stuff.
I will say no to the second research project I already said I would work on because it isn’t something I am super excited about and I have other things that might come up. I will not die because I said no to something. I don’t have to say yes to everything. And I was kindly reminded this week that not everything that is work or residency related is necessary because it may not meet my end career goals.
I figured out this week that if I go to the gym by 6:20, I can get a workout in and still be at work for 8. That means I’m only dragging myself out of bed an hour earlier than normal. It still stinks. But, even if I do it once or twice a week that will increase my gym time, which is great for my energy and health and all that stuff. That also takes back some of my evening for studying or Patrick or other stuff.
I joined a band. Small groups are starting up again soon.
I finally got a day planner and it is awesome. Especially for planning ahead for presentations and classes (when they don’t get rescheduled a million times).
Work will stop eating my life. At least for the most part. I just need to be proactive about it. And remember that some weeks work is hungrier than others. I just need to make life fight back.