Reply To: Wrong career

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Hi, Steve,

You’ve gotten a lot of good advice here; I particularly like what Judy the vet had to say.

The ADHD brain really isn’t well-suited to what you’re trained for, but there are other areas of medicine you might find very rewarding.

As an artistic person, have you considered switching to plastic surgery? You don’t have to do face lifts and the like, you could specialize in reconstruction for people with massive burns or other injuries. That requires even more creativity, and you might find it a lot more rewarding.

Emergency medicine (and critical care) is tailor made for people with ADHD. I was a paramedic for a long time, until a back injury on the job put me out of commission. I had just happened to fall into it when I was still in college, but it was *perfect* for me. Every day is different, things change minute to minute, you often have to make important decisions with very little information, you don’t have to deal with a long term relationship with patients (or their long term care and the problems inherent in that), etc. Over and above being an ER doc, the opportunity exists for an MD or DO to be a flight doctor, where you would fly with the medical helicopter teams and treat patients in the field and en route back to the hospital.

Someone already mentioned interventional radiology. That could take you in a number of different directions.

If you really want out of medicine altogether, do consider going to a good career counselor who will administer a range of psychological and aptitude tests to come up with some suggestions.

But start by sitting down and making a few fairly detailed lists – exactly what you don’t like about medicine/radiology, what you *do* like, what the ideal job would look like if neither money nor time nor education were considerations, and what your skills are, as well as your interests. With skills, I don’t mean how to read an x-ray or perform an appendectomy; I mean things like analytical skills, problem-solving, working calmly under pressure, manual dexterity, the ability to learn massive amounts of complicated information quickly and put it to use right away, research skills, being a people-pleaser, goal-directed, and so on. I can guarantee you have many more than you probably think you do!

Focus a *lot* on what the ideal job would look like qualitatively. What skills and interests would you most prefer to be using? Where would you like to work – both geographically and in terms of workplace environment? Indoors/outdoors? What does your place of business look like? What do you most want to get out of a job? Is it money, helping people, being active, getting to travel, responsibility, authority, lots of variety, freedom to do your own thing, working closely with a team, a high degree of creativity, high salary, benefits, etc.? What kind of schedule would you like to have? Obviously this is only a very short list of ideas just to help you get thinking in this direction.

Finally, which of all of these are essential and non-negotiable, and which are more “nice to have”? You need to understand what your priorities are.

The more detail and specificity you can come up with on these lists, the better prepared you will be to start to evaluate different possibilities.

Deciding what you want to do with your life is not always an easy task, even for people without ADHD, and unfortunately, our educational system forces people to make major career decisions too early, without enough information about what they are getting into. When family and/or friends pressure you in a particular direction, that just makes it all the harder. And you are far from old, so please don’t feel like you are stuck because of your age. It’s not as true in medicine, for obvious reasons, but a high percentage of people go through a couple of career changes during their lives.

Good luck!

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by wendyannh.