Posted by on October 29, 2014 | 0 comments

What A Bug Taught Me About Fear

I’m spending this week at a retreat in the Western Cape town of McGregor, about 2 hours from Cape Town. I’ve come here to spend time in silence and solitude, and to contemplate some big questions in my life. I arrived in good spirits; it’s been a while since I spent this length of time away from my family, and I was looking forward to having nothing to do except looking after me. I planned to spend the time going for gentle walks, reading, journaling and sleeping, activities I seldom have an opportunity to truly indulge in back home. Then on the first night I met an arch enemy – a large bug, very much like a cockroach but meaner looking. I spotted it on the wall as I prepared to get into bed and I was frozen on the spot. I’m not a bug person, and I’m certainly not a cockroach-type-bug person. As I stared at the mean bug-ger, I wondered what I would do to get rid...

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Posted by on October 21, 2014 | 0 comments

What Do We Teach Children About Careers?

  Last week I went to deliver a keynote speech at a high school valedictory ceremony. The brief was to share my story with the Class of 2014 as they prepare to complete their schooling and go out into the world to begin their careers. Their private school education and relative privilege has given them a strong foundation for the road ahead; my job was to provide a reality check. I started off by sharing my story – how as a Black child growing up in apartheid South Africa my prospects for the future were less than promising. However in my final year of high school – on the day of my Matric prize giving ceremony – the historic announcement was made by then President FW de Klerk that Nelson Mandela and all the other political prisoners would be released and the liberation movements would be unbanned. This announcement served to pave the way for a non-racial and democratic South Africa, and ushered in a future very different to...

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Posted by on October 14, 2014 | 2 comments

Life After Medicine

In my final year at medical school one of our professors told us that only 75% of us would still be practicing medicine in 10 years’ time. I remember listening to him and thinking that his statement couldn’t possibly be accurate. How could anyone go through all that training and then choose to pursue a different path? I couldn’t imagine a life outside of medicine. It’s been 15 years since that statement was made and it has proved to be prophetic. I am one of the 25% who chose a different path and created a life after medicine. Creating a new career is challenging, but it is not impossible. I have written in a previous post about all the transferable skills that a medical career offers for someone contemplating a career change. What’s really tough, though, is dealing with the prospect of a life in which you are no longer a doctor. After all, being a doctor is much more than a qualification and a title. It is an...

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Posted by on October 7, 2014 | 3 comments

Is “Do Work You Love” A Scam?

We’ve all read the articles and books telling us to find and do work we love “and the money will follow”. Is there any truth in this statement or are the proponents of the idea simply peddling a fantasy so that we keep buying their books and attending their seminars? It just sounds too good to be true! After all, so many of us were brought up to believe that everything in life has a price; if I want the good stuff I must be willing to endure the pain and toil that come with it. Right? Maybe not. Let’s take a practical example. Let’s say I love to knit (bear with me here). Theoretically I could knit for a living, if this “do work you love” notion has any merit. But is there a market for my passion? How many scarves and beanies would I need to make in order to afford my children’s school fees? Surely I’d be better off slogging it out in the 9-to-5 environment?...

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