I turned 51 a couple of weeks back.
I’ve had a few different jobs over those 5 decades. The majority of the first two were pretty much being a major pain in the rear to my parents and any associated adults.
I think the two careers I’ve had where I’ve been most useful to society was my time as a military medic, and the last 16 years or so working in healthcare IT.
There are advantages to being a front line clinical worker. You get to drape a stethoscope around your neck and yell “STAT” at various people. If you’re dressed in scrubs leaning against a wall looking pale and haggard, people just assume that you’ve pulled a 36 hour shift and not that you’ve only been at work for 5 minutes, but are very hung-over.
If you work in IT, and you look haggard, people presume you’ve been at work for 5 minutes, but pulled an all-nighter raiding in World of Warcraft……even if you’ve just pulled a 36 hour stint trying to solve a critical issue.
Don’t even ask what happens if an IT guy dons a stethoscope and starts yelling “STAT!”
But there are some distinct advantages to working in IT instead of healthcare.
In healthcare, if you have a patient that you’re having problems diagnosing, there’s no way in the world you’d get away with telling your patient this…
Look, you’re baffling the crap out of me, so I need you to sit here and wait while I go get a coffee and think about what’s wrong with you.
I might end up googling you, and/or talking about you with my friends.
It might even come to discussing you and your condition online in forums and chat-rooms…..maybe someone there can help me figure out WTF is wrong with you.
Yeah…trying saying that to a patient….
We’ve all heard stories about surgical mistakes where somebody literally hacked off the wrong leg, or a case I remember reading about years ago where a teenager went in for brain surgery and ended up with a vasectomy….
In the IT world (if you’re smart), mistakes of this magnitude are embarrassing, but not fatal (career or otherwise). That’s because we can always revert to the last good configuration!
I will admit that I miss my days as a medic. There’s great satisfaction in seeing someone walk out of your facility who otherwise might not have.
I might have a similar blog in the future as I’m contemplating another career change….I just need to figure out how one goes around becoming part of the Idle Rich.