|"Guest-blogger Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst N.Y. and has worked in the ophthalmology field of medicine for over 30 years..." She talks about doing what you are passionate about and being paid for what you love to do and the many rewards..!;D) Enjoy...|
After working in the medical field for over 25 years, I think I have finally found the secret to happiness and fulfillment. Every year I try to find new things to challenge myself in my profession, whether it be a new position, new skills to learn or expanding my knowledge attending seminars. This year I felt it was time to give back.
Last summer I began to work for a large medical practice and observed students doing their required internships in their fields of study in each department. As I spoke with some of them they shared with me their uncertainty as to what they would do with their degree once they graduated.
Most of them were teenagers or in their early 20s and had not been out in the working world for very long. Many years ago I was in that same boat and began to remember how I would use what I had learned as well. I decided to contact my Alma mater, Erie Community College, which I had attended back in the 1970s, to see if I could be of service in sharing my life experiences in the working world and where my path had led me. I spoke with the department head and, to my delight, she was overwhelmed with gratitude that I had contacted her, and she took me up on my offer to address the students of my program, which was still in existence.
ECC is a diamond in the rough, and although the students don't realize it at the time, it can be a great stepping stone to bigger and better things. My degree in medical assisting opened the doors to a wonderful career in ophthalmology and also fit right into my degree in gerontology that I obtained many years later at the University at Buffalo. The workforce is not what it was many years ago and jobs are very competitive these days, even more so than when I was young. Young adults at this age need a hook; they need a skill and passion in their field to succeed. I realized that if you pursue a profession that you are passionate about, it will shine through 100 percent when you finish school. You will stand out during an interview if you exude confidence and happiness in your field.
As I spoke with the director in the program at ECC, she also suggested that I might be interested in becoming an adjunct professor and teach a class in the fall. How more perfect could that fit be? Not only do I get to give back to the students by sharing my life experiences, but I also can share the knowledge that I have gained.
I don't make a king's ransom in my field, just a comfortable living. Happiness, as it turns out, does not come from a high-paying position that you don't enjoy. It doesn't come from gifts, money or a lavish lifestyle; it comes from sharing and giving back to those who truly appreciate what you do. It has to come from within, and it doesn't matter what profession you choose to work in. If you can touch someones life along the way in some small way, it makes life worth living.
I witness people every day who are stuck in a job and feel they have nowhere to turn. They are unhappy day after day, and I see what a toll it can take on someones health. Change is always hard to deal with and dealing with the unknown is the scary part, but if you are able, and opportunity comes along your way, take it.
Life is so very short and since we all will be working well into our 60s, 70s or even 80s, we'd better make it worthwhile.
This blog also appeared in the Buffalo News on July 8, 2012;
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