Someone and I were having a conversation on gtalk about how we feel about work. Although a professional, he feels small in the entire organization and feels like he is doing factory work day in day out. I tell him that I am no better, sometimes I feel like a cobbler. Fixing, making, cleaning.
Maybe because we both had particular long days which is why we are feeling this way but there’s like a stretch of 40 years of work before retirement. Is there such a thing as fresh grad syndrome? Where you feel jaded at times? I tell him that having goals in place will make our work more rewarding. A belief that I hope to hold on to as well.
While I feel my work is repetitive, at the same time I am plagued by the perpetual fear of not knowing if I know enough. It does eat at me. I know what I have to do, but there’s no exam to look forward to.. I need to be pressured into doing it.
I have roughly been through my career options in my mind a few times but all that would need money (furthering my studies, setting up a clinic…), I need to know what is best for me in the long run. What my priorities are. I can’t possibly be setting up a general clinic then running off to specialize after a couple of years, can I? But with only a few months under my belt, I really don’t know everything there is to know about this field.. I don’t really know what I want to do. I don’t really know if I should limit myself to a specialized field. I don’t know!
I believe it’s okay to have dreams in many places. You don’t have to have only one dream, one way of enjoying yourself. While it is important to have goals in your career, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the only thing you prioritize in life. As most of you would know, I really really enjoy my little sticker hobby-business. That’s a dream in its own. 🙂
I chose dentistry because I narrowed it down from the things I’d rather do. This was when I was 16 years old, burdened by the huge duty of having to make life changing choices. SPM and college times were so hard and confusing. 🙁 I knew very well that I hated physics to my very core, chemistry was nice, ahem, used to get the highest in class but was bombing chemistry in college, sometimes failing it too.. but I knew I had to do something science related.
I needed something that had no maths…no physics…no chemistry…..no sitting in a lab looking into microscopes… I’ve always liked biology in school. I liked how the human body worked. I actually wouldn’t have minded medicine but the long hours were the number 1 reason why I didn’t choose the field. Not like I confirm can get into med school also..ceh:P But dentistry provided me with all that. A chance to be in science, a chance to meet people day in day out and a chance to go home to make dinner for my family! I can be a professional AND a mother AND a wife! Yeah, so traditional at 16.
I really do..I really do like meeting people.
But sometimes, I sort of see why customer service people can’t provide customers with the most optimum level of services equipped with a smile. It has to be done. Especially now that the clinic has implemented a system for the patients to drop a yellow laminated smile in a box at the counter to rate our services. Sometimes there are very very difficult people to be dealt with. No matter how you reason, they don’t see the point in what you are trying to say.
Sometimes I wonder exactly how is my work rewarding? One patient might feel happy that he can now chew his chicken without any getting stuck in the cavity, another patient might feel grateful that her front tooth is replaced, another might finally get a good night’s sleep after the abscess has been removed. It does sound rewarding but it’s not epic. Unless the lama-lama jadi bukit thing holds true, then well, yeah.
An incident today did make me feel like I had a real purpose aside from fixing their teeth. 🙂 A patient was so so so so so so so x1000000 of coming into the surgery. I invited her to sit down but she just stood there rooted to the spot, not saying a word. I thought “Great, another patient with mental disabilities…….how should I approach her?” Then I saw tears forming in her eyes. And then I realized that it was a really great fear of going to the dentist. She said that everything dental related scared her. The chair, the tray, the door, the light….. the patient and I had a good laugh after I explained everything to her, trying to alleviate her fears. I made jokes, she joked back, we had a good rapport going on. 🙂 THAT was rewarding. To be able to change a person’s mind set, I think that is what matters most to me.
I guess at the end of the day it all boils down to appreciation. I want to tell that someone that it applies to him too. Appreciation for the things we do can go a long way.
I do wonder if all mid 20s go through such a period where they question where do they go from here.
But you know, I’ve a feeling that a couple of decades from now, we’ll all be well respected figures, solid and grounded with the odd cynicism here and there. We’ll be all right. 🙂
3 thoughts on “On A Day When We Felt Jaded”
i just joined the workforce less than half year ago and i feel the same as you. generally, i do like my job. but sometimes, i just feel so jaded and wondered how long i can continue doing this. a lot of times, i fear that i am not knowing enough and will screw something up. but maybe this is what the learning process is like. only when we perverse, then can we really accomplish something.
jo: thanks Wy! that really is very comforting, knowing that i’m not alone in thinking so. i do want to improve.. but i lack the discipline. 🙁
It is something I think we all go through – how we cope with all that is another story.
As long as you’re not having a “quarter life crisis”…
jo: would really like to know how to cope though. some days are particularly long. 😐 people can be so difficult.
Dear Dr. Lai,
Read your posting with great interest.
This is so similar to my dentist friend Dr. Tan from JB as well. My aunt (bless her soul) who has Dental Phobia whom he treated found him so pleasant and friendly that she loved being treted by him.
I guess he applied the “soft touch” concept which I am happy to disclose to you when my next opportunity to catch-up with you.
best regards (your greatest fan)
Dr. Kong Ming