I was recently reading an article at KevinMD, about doctors, that they are in for the money. Well I thought, to give you some perspective, I should list the jobs that I have done in my life, during my transition years.
I already finished my training after post graduation and I was running my own practice. However, once in the Pakistan I needed to do this all over again, so I was waiting to restart this process. The problem was that this cycle takes a year before you can get a position. So, I had about 18 months to kill. When I came to US , I did research with Dr. Harvey Priesler and Dr. Azra Raza, two of the smartest people I know in the field of Leukemia and Myelodysplastic disorders. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience but on the flip side the stipend that I earned only covered my studio rent in America . Chicago
So I started to look for other jobs. I started my quest, beginning with trying to get off of a forced-vegetarian diet i.e., one of the cheapest meal prepared with garbanzo beans and diced tomato which takes only few minutes to cook. A friend of mine (who is now a high-risk Obstetrician in
) tagged along and we stared to look for jobs. Our first stop was a pizza place. We filled out an application. There was a slot in there about education; we were naive enough to mention our qualification. They turned us down due to lack of relevant experience. My friend tried to argue that if he can deliver a baby, he can deliver a pizza without any problem. We lost the argument when the owner said that this oven works in a different way. Detroit
Finally I found a spot at a pizza joint. I delivered pizza for 3 weeks. It was the most stressful job I ever held. I used to park my antique car (my father bought me that car) in downtown
and run up to deliver pizzas. The problem was that I got so many parking tickets that the net revenues were in the negative. After getting mugged and punched in the belly I was forced by my wife to quit that job. Chicago
Next stop, Chinese take out restaurant. I think the owner did not appreciate my talent. He kept on asking me to cut the vegetables faster and faster. I tried telling him that you can not be hasty, cooking is an art. He did not agree and I was given a pink slip along with garlic chicken on my way out.
Finally I found a job which I kept for over a year, carpet cleaning. I use to do high tech leukemia research with different clinical protocols in the morning and in the evening I use to clean carpets in the dead winter of
. In fact the job was so “lucrative” that some of my other friends joined in too. One of them is now an Interventional Radiologist in Chicago Wisconsin and another one a Critical care Intensivist in . I will let you in a secret; I can still clean the carpets with floor stripping better than many, just do not tell my wife. Phoenix
As I was diligently doing these two jobs I received a call from a program at Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard about an off cycle radiology position. They asked me to be there in 2 days. The problem was that I only had $280 in my account which would not have paid for the whole plane trip and stay. I told them I am busy for the next 2 days I can be there in 3 days.
Greyhound used to take 28 hours from
Chicago to . I got in a bus within 12 hours and made my way to Boston Longwood Avenue in 28 hours, changed into a suit at a restaurant at Fenway park. It was a very humbling experience to be cleaning floors one day and standing at the next. Finally I got this position, during my stay there I learned so much from Dr. Sughra Raza, Dr. Janet Baum and Dr. Brook Longwood. They all made a significant impact on my professional life. My career started to shape up from there one..... and here I am. Harvard Medical School
Well so there it is, you be the judge.
About the picture: Not mine!