Life After Medicine

It’s not supposed to be this way. What to do when your career feels all wrong?

September 29, 2023 Chelsea Turgeon Season 1 Episode 121
Life After Medicine
It’s not supposed to be this way. What to do when your career feels all wrong?
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever felt a deep longing for something more in your healthcare career, even if you're not sure where to begin? Do you find yourself daydreaming about breaking free from your current role, or even pursuing a completely different path in life? Do you yearn for greater fulfillment and purpose in your work? If you are feeling this way, remember that you are not alone.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to stop normalizing your feelings of discontent around your career.
  • How to ask the right questions and explore your values and passions to uncover a career path that aligns with your true self
  • About an upcoming opportunity for you to receive guidance, support, and practical tools to find a career that brings you freedom and fulfillment.

If you feel a sense of “wrongness” in your current life and find yourself daydreaming about a different path, you are going to want to listen to this episode!

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Welcome to the Life After Medicine podcast, where we help you create a fulfilling and non traditional career as a healthcare worker. I'm your host, Chelsea Turchin. In 2019, I left the hustle and grind of my OBGYN residency and set out to create a fulfilling career on my own terms. Now I'm a best selling author, career and burnout coach, and world traveler. Through this podcast, I'll show you how to enjoy your work, make an impact, and support yourself financially. Without all the stress and burnout you are currently experiencing. Let's get to the show. Five of the most common problems that medical professionals are experiencing right now are dread every time they drive into work, not showing up as their best self at home for their family and loved ones, not having the energy to live their lives, jumping into a new job. only to feel the same stress and lack of fulfillment. And in the past year, having a moment that made them realize they were trapped in the wrong career. If you are experiencing any of these problems, you are absolutely not alone. And the reason you feel trapped is because there's a lack of direction. This is exactly why I created Authentic Career Alignment, which is the most comprehensive and holistic career transformation program. For health care professionals, authentic career alignment is a six month step by step process to reconnecting to yourself, figuring out your direction and building a clear roadmap towards a career that gives you freedom and fulfillment. Enrollment is happening now and we start October 15th. So if you are ready to figure out your direction. Take intentional, decisive action and start doing work you enjoy so you can wake up and look forward to your day. Then come and join us inside Authentic Career Alignment. Click the link in the show notes to book your enrollment call and learn more. I am so excited to help you find a career that gives you freedom and fulfillment. Now let's get to the show. Today I am coming at you straight from the heart. Because this week, I'm opening enrollment for authentic career alignment. My signature group program for anyone who is feeling trapped in the wrong career and wants to find a career that gives them more freedom and fulfillment. I want to share with you. From my heart. Why I created this program who it's for. As I was thinking about what to share for this episode, I was really inspired by. A quote from this book called the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. By Charles Eisenstein. And in this book, he comments on this sense of wrongness that he feels. In the world. And this quote just felt so deeply relatable to how I felt in residency. And so I want to share it with you guys so he writes, I never fully accepted what I had been offered as normal. Life I knew was supposed to be more joyful than this. More real. More meaningful. And the world was supposed to be more beautiful. We were not supposed to hate Mondays and live for the weekends and holidays. We were not supposed to have to raise our hands to be allowed to pee. We were not supposed to be kept indoors on a beautiful day after day. I want to just take a moment and let that land. And ask you to check in with yourself. Is this something that you can relate to? Because this feeling of wrongness was exactly how I felt when I was working. 80 hours a week. And my OB GYN residency. It was just this underlying sense of life. Shouldn't be like this. That was permeating my daily existence. And it was hard to put into words. And so that I'm hoping that by sharing my own experience, it'll put language to what you might be going through right now. Because I had this sense that I was not supposed to be living like this. I wasn't supposed to have all of these continual escape fantasies. I wasn't supposed to be constantly fantasizing about jumping in my car and driving off to Utah and never coming back. But that's really where I was at.'cause I had so many moments where I felt like I was in the wrong career, but then I also felt trapped. One of the moments that stands out the most to me was during my gyn-onc rotation. Where you have essentially one day off per week. My off day was Saturday and I took my off day. And I went with a, another co-resident and we. It was Friday night that we left and we went to this hiking trail. We were hiking the north fork mountain trail in West Virginia. And so Friday night, as soon as I got off work, we jumped in the car and drove off and it was about two hours and we didn't get there until dark, but we hiked up the mountain. And had just a lovely evening camping in the woods. And then I remember. Setting up our hammocks and being like, oh, this is going to be so great. Cause we hadn't seen the view yet because we hiked up in the dark with our headlamps and I had no clue what was in store. As soon as the sun came up that Saturday morning, I was laying in my hammock and the moment I opened my eyes. I saw this view. And I felt. Ah, just this deep sense of wonder and awe around this view and this sense of wow, this is incredible. But then within a few minutes, I had this deep sinking feeling. That started to overtake the bliss and the awe and all the goodness and all the joy. And it was this thinking feeling of. I have to hike down the mountain today. And I have to go back to work tomorrow. I have to get ready for. My next shift. This is my only day off and it just, it this creeping sense of dread. Just put this damper on the whole thing. Because I realized in that moment I don't want this. I don't want my life to be. Living for the weekend and feeling this existential dread around, going into work. And so I have that day where we're like hiking and I, I enjoyed the day, but then having to come back down the mountain and go back in, get get ready to go back into work the next day, I just. It was like in, during that rotation specifically that I was like, this is not what I want. And I know residency is not forever, but it was just the sense of this whole thing. This is wrong. This is not what I want, but I felt trapped. And the reason I knew that I felt trapped it's because I started having these escape fantasies, like I said, about driving into the deserts of Utah. I want to read one of these from my journal from residency, because I know a lot of people I've talked to have these sort of career escape fantasies. So this is what I wrote. And so over residency, Please universe helped me because I feel trapped. I feel like there's no way out. My ultimate plan right now is to take my camper van to Utah. And just never come back. And that's not normal. We shouldn't feel this deep urge or desire to escape our lives and then just shove it down day after day. The fact that I'm having these kind of radical escape fantasies. That's definitely something to listen to. It was a sign that I felt trapped in the wrong career. And I know that so many of you have had similar. Moments that made you realize you were trapped in the wrong career. One of the clients I started working with recently said he had to fill out. The same. FMLA paperwork four times for one patient. And he's yep. That's the moment I realized this was not the right career for me. Another area. I felt the wrongness was in my relationships. I wasn't supposed to feel annoyed and disconnected from my family members because. They didn't understand how miserable I was. Like, I had a sense that this is not what life is supposed to be. I'm not supposed to be feeling. This isolated. I'm not supposed to be feeling this disconnected. I'm not supposed to be. Only. Being able to stomach like a five minute phone call with my mom every week, because that's, as long as I can fake a smile or put on this version of me that I think people want to see. And so that's what I was doing in residency. I essentially isolated myself from loved ones and felt so disconnected. Partly because I was disconnected from me. But also partly because. Aye. Didn't want other people to see me in my misery. I was so uncomfortable with that. And so let me read to you. A journal entry that I wrote during this time, that really sums up. How I was feeling. I just feel so lonely all the time. Only at work because I can't tell anyone how truly miserable I am. I feel isolated from my friends and family outside of medicine, because I'm afraid to tell them. Basically, I am afraid to tell anyone or admit to how miserable I am. Am I depressed. Burnt out. Living the wrong life. Just experiencing the normal stress of residency. If this is normal, I don't want it to be my normal. So you can see in that. As I say in that post turtle entry. I am feeling this sense of wrongness. This is not normal. I shouldn't be feeling so isolated or disconnected from my friends and family. This is something I hear so often from my clients, as well they don't feel like they're showing up as their best selves for their loved ones, for their family, for their partners, for their friends, they feel like they're not as present as they would like to be. They're not the person that they want to be, and then they feel bad about themselves because. But they really don't have the capacity to do it. Like they don't have the resources to do it. Another area where I felt this was. In my personal activities and hobbies and things that I liked to do, because those really went away. And so I had this sense of I'm not supposed to come home. After every shift and be so depleted that all I can do is crash on the couch. And I have no energy to get up off the couch and go to that yoga class I wanted to do or go out to dinner with friends. Right that wasn't supposed to be. Life. For any length of time, obviously we have seasons where that's what we need, but. It wasn't supposed to be like that. So I want to read my journal entry around to this as well. I'm always feeling the scarcity of time. I spent 80 hours of my week at a job that isn't draining my happiness. No matter what I do outside of work, I can't make up for the level that it drains me down. I don't have time to take care of myself. I don't have time to invest in friendships or relationships. I don't know if this is cause or effect, but something has to change. I feel like an empty shell. Like I'm dragging myself through the day. And this is how I felt through so much of residency, but I just didn't have the energy to live my life. And this is something that so many people I interact with online and my clients, they, they feel this as well. The vital energy that they used to have. There spark their passion, their spirit. It's been crushed in some way. Even when. You sleep, even when you take vacation, even when do all the things you're supposed to do for self care. There's something about being in the wrong career for you? That takes away your vital life energy. And you're left with this feeling of you don't have the energy to live your life. And I knew that the way I was living was wrong. In that. Something was off that it wasn't, this wasn't supposed to be how life. What's but then at the same time, I didn't know what to do about it. And I was making several mistakes. As I was in this place. One of the mistakes I made was comparing myself to others. So I would look around and see that. Okay. Yeah, everyone else seems to be unhappy as well. We're complaining and the physician's lounge, we're joking around about how much we're just cogs in the wheel and nobody cares about us and it's just this constant. Banter and discontent. But. In a weird way. It seemed like they were on bothered by the discontent. Like they weren't happy. And I'm generalizing. This is not true for everybody, but the way I was seeing it and perceiving it in my head was okay, they're not thriving, but they're not bothered by that. They're spending a lot of time complaining, but they seem to be okay with the complaining. And just in general, it felt like everyone around me. I was tolerating their misery better than me. Whereas I felt like I was completely consumed by my misery. So I was comparing myself to others. I was looking around and saying, okay, they're unhappy too. But they're handling it. And so that means I should also handle it. should be doing a better job. The other mistake I was making was gaslighting myself. I was constantly questioning. My own experience, essentially, I would feel this sense of wrongness and happiness. But I would tell myself like this is just the way it is. This is just what being an adult is. Or this is what medical training is. This is, I just need to suck it up. I just need to power through and it wasn't so aggressive like that on myself. It was just more of a questioning of is this just the way life is? Do I just need to, is the idea of enjoying my work or finding my passion? Is that just childish? Is that something that's not realistic. And. I just kept questioning myself and questioning my own experience of life and just almost telling myself that sure. You're feeling like this, but so what, it's not really valid. It's not valid enough to do something about it. If you're experiencing. Any of these problems? If you've been relating or resonating to all the things I've been talking about right now. If you're feeling this dread of going into work. If you're feeling like. You're not showing up as your best self for loved ones. If you have had a moment sometime in the past year. That made you realize you were trapped in the wrong career. And if you're not having the energy to just enjoy your life. The first thing. You need to do for yourself. As to honor your discontent. So take note of where you're comparing yourself to others. Of where you're dismissing or gaslighting your own experience. And observe that you're doing that. And instead of. Questioning your own experience. Lean in. Listen. Get closer. Get curious about what is going on for you. Because it's only when you really acknowledge a problem. That a solution can present itself. And so until you honor your discontent. There's no way to start working towards a solution. When I say honor your discontent. That might feel a little vague. Let me explain. More what I mean by that? So honoring your discontent would be. Observing what you're feeling as you drive into work. And just taking note of that and being like, huh? I wonder why. This, my stomach is feeling so crazy right now. What's going on. Have this underlying assumption too, that like you don't deserve to tolerate. Tons and tons of misery all the time like that doesn't need to be your default. I think that's another big problem that we have as healthcare professionals is we have this uncanny ability to tolerate weird amounts of misery. And yes, it's a way that we get through training. We put our heads down and we just power through. But what it's really doing. It's preventing us from being able to acknowledge when something is truly wrong. So honoring your discontent. Means. Taking note. Of your feelings as you're driving into work. Getting curious about. The dread. That you feel getting curious about. The energy drain that you feel like. What is it? That's making me tired. What is it? That's draining my energy. What's going on here? It's also bringing this sort of loving. Curiosity around it. I wonder why. I feel like this and I wonder. I wonder what's the cause of this. I wonder what's happening. I wonder. What's the root of this. What is the root of me feeling drained? What is the root of me feeling depleted? It's just like allowing. All the things in your experience to be valid. Listening getting closer really what I want you to get out of this episode. If nothing else. This feeling of wrongness. This sense that something's missing. This pull towards something more. That's real. You're not making it up. And you are not wrong for feeling that way. So if you're feeling any of this feeling a longing for more freedom or meaning or joy, more just laughter even. I think the best thing you can do for yourself. Is to listen. It's to honor that discontent. Because I believe those feelings are trying to communicate with you. They're messengers, trying to guide you to make decisions that are more in line with your values. Trying to help show you what is truly right for you. And this. Exactly. Why I started my coaching business and why I created authentic career alignment. It is for this person. Who feels trapped. In a sense of just total wrongness, right? And maybe it's wrong career, wrong life, whatever it is, it's it feels wrong. There's a sense of wrongness. And you feel trapped. And at the same time, it's for the person who believes it, shouldn't be like this. Because work takes up so much of our time and we should be able to enjoy it. It's for that person who feels a pull. Towards something more. Even if they don't quite know what that something more is, and maybe they have no clue where to start. So if this is you. If you feel like I am speaking to you right now. Then this is why I created authentic career alignment. And I would love to talk with you more about it. So this is my six month career transformation program for healthcare professionals. And in this program. We take you through a process. To help you find a career. Like it gives you more freedom and fulfillment. So enrollment is starting now. It's happening already. We've already had nine people so far signed up. We have more calls booked as well. We officially start the program October 15th. And in my next podcast episode, I'll be sharing a little bit more about the ins and outs of the program and what it is that we're going to be covering. And I'll be sharing more about that in emails as well. But in this episode, I really just wanted to share my heart around it. I wanted to share. Why I created it. And who's it for. And. To connect with the fact that I have fully been there. I fully been there. I've been in that place where I felt completely trapped in the wrong career, the wrong life. And I felt hopeless about it. And I don't want you to feel hopeless or trap because it does not have to be that way. And I want to end by just reading this quote again, because I think it's so profound. Life I knew was supposed to be more joyful than this. More real, more meaningful. And the world was supposed to be more beautiful. We were not supposed to hate Mondays and live for the weekends and holidays. We were not supposed to have to raise our hands to be allowed to pee. You're not supposed to be kept indoors on a beautiful day after day. So if you're feeling like this right now, If you're feeling like. Life is supposed to be more joyful than this. The thing is you're right. It is late. Gets to be so joyful. You get to enjoy the work that you're doing. You get to feel deep meaning and connection and appreciate beauty. And you don't have to keep living like this empty shell. And so if you are resonating with everything I'm saying right now, that means your heart is speaking out to you and saying that there's something here for you. And so I'd love to connect with you and talk more about authentic alignment. To see if it's right for you. So you can head to the link in the show notes, you can book an enrollment call so we can talk more about it. And remember that enrollment is happening now and it's ending. We're officially starting the program October 15th. So you definitely want to act before then because I'm not sure when I'll open up the doors for this. Again, I'm not sure when I'll open up the doors for this next. And this round is going to be so special. And so incredible. If you're feeling called to this, I would love to connect with you more. And if not, then I hope you enjoy this episode. And I hope that you really felt a sense of validation around the fact that you're not wrong. The wrongness means something in life is wrong and. And that's okay. There's ways to fix it and change it, but we can only change it. We can only move towards a solution when we start to acknowledge the problem. So i hope that this was so helpful for you and i'll see you guys next week Yeah. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Life After Medicine podcast. Make sure to leave a review and subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. If you want to continue the conversation, share your takeaways, and connect with other like minded healthcare workers, then come join us in the Life After Medicine Facebook group. The link to join the group is in the show notes. I can't wait to connect with you further.