How my career started in the medical field
I’m grateful that I can say my time spent working has been the evolvement of a purpose — not just a job. But people often wonder why I find such pride in my work. How did I get to the point where I want to work? Why do I put so much stock in my career? Some suggest that the reason is that I, myself, grew up in a working mother home. And while it is true that the story of my mother’s work life certainly did shape my career, it was not in the way one would think.
My mother grew up in a traditional home and wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. She did not have career aspirations. She did not want to accomplish anything extraordinary professionally. And she did not concern herself with finding purposeful work. Her vision was much different: she wanted to get married and spend her time nurturing her family. I very much wish she could have had this. It would have made her happy — and our family too.
My parents divorced when I was five. My mother became single almost overnight, eradicating her hope of being a stay-at-home mom. The memories I have of this time are not happy ones. I remember my mother crying a lot and pacing in our tiny two-bedroom apartment. She was constantly leaning on me, just a child, to help her figure out what to do next. She spent an enormous amount of time reflecting on the past: what hadn’t worked, the mistakes she had made, and replaying over and over what she should have done differently so that we wouldn’t be where we were at that moment. Nothing was ever encouraging or positive. We were always looking back and regretting — or looking forward with fear.
My mother was not a proud working mom, which affected her health.
She was distracted, resentful and, unfortunately, never fully present. One household suddenly was broken into two meant we struggled financially. We resorted to unconventional ways to make ends meet and worse her sister my aunt was struggling with breast cancer. We took in boarders to live in our basement. We searched under vending machines for spare change. We cut coupons and wore hand-me-down clothing. It was out of control and uncertain. For a child, living this way was scary.
My mother did work, but she didn’t enjoy it. The problem was that she never wanted to work and like this never tried to find anything that fueled her interests. She tried to do her part to support us, but always resorted to quick fixes — jobs that did not utilize her skills, inspire her passions, or compensate in a way that provided self-respect or confidence. As a result, her various jobs never lasted long. It seemed almost deliberate — as if to reinforce the belief system she grew up with: real mothers did not work.
She was a waitress. She was in telesales. She worked in customer service. She had a degree in health and medicines. She was a working mom constantly plagued with stress and the necessity to make ends meet. Not an uncommon theme. Her working life fell into a pattern: spending months looking for a job, working for a few weeks, disliking the job, getting written up, getting fired. And so it went …
I was ten when her depression cemented itself, much too young to be of any real help. At the time, my younger sister and I thought she was just an unhappy single, working mother. We would later learn that her sadness was far more extreme than the daily blues. Eventually, she would be formally diagnosed with severe depression — something that was largely misunderstood at that time and like this not properly managed or supported.
I did what I could to get her healthy…
I started walking dogs after school; I performed odd jobs for neighbors, and I became the go-to babysitter in the neighborhood. Then, at the age of 15, I got my first real job — working in a grocery store. I stocked shelves, worked the checkout and even put in some time in the deli. And I loved it.
Though my earnings were small, I began to contribute money to my family. I was able to buy a few things just for me, and, for the first time, I felt in control. I felt powerful. Working gave me confidence, and that confidence made me feel safe. I knew then that I would always work.
So then on, the next news is that I decided to go to to medical school and get a degree in medicine, as well as learning about different kinds of computer software and databases it involves, which was fun. Helping people in the society with severe conditions and diseases I felt was my number one priority. I love my job, and I make awesome money, which is a win win.. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.