I hate interviews. I don’t know why I hate them so intensely or get so anxious, but whenever I have a job interview I develop “functional dyspepsia” (or as my mother would call it – a nervous tummy). I’ve started looking for my first real attending job. Someday I’d like to be a residency faculty member, but my university system has zero openings. I got one job interview for a residency faculty at an outside system that met all my criteria – within a couple hours drive from our families, a community that both my husband and I would enjoy living in, and an established residency with good mentoring support. It was a long interview day – beginning at 7:30 in the morning and dinner going past 8 pm that night – and I admittedly wasn’t my best self. It was my sixth week of a stretch with only 6 days off total (2 of which were used for Baby’s first birthday with our family back home), so I was tired. I underestimated how difficult it would be to schedule interviews around a resident’s schedule, and I would have preferred a later date to have recuperated a bit, but this was the only date that lined up for both me and the program.
I felt like I connected well with the current faculty and really felt like it was a good fit, except for one disappointing part over lunch. I was asked to give a lecture so they could evaluate my teaching style, and I was ready with flashy PowerPoint in hand with a topic I had done research on so I could actually answer a question or two. However, about 15 minutes into the lecture, I realized I was getting warm and lightheaded. The walls started closing in. I realized I was standing locking my legs in a warm suit jacket and hadn’t had much to drink for water. I started talking faster, thinking I could just get through it and no one would notice, but then one of the faculty members stood up and got me a glass of water and I noticed a bead of sweat dripping down my nose, so I finally quit faking it, apologized to the audience, and led the rest of the lecture and discussion from a seat in front of the podium. I was so embarrassed. I have had similar presyncopal vasovagal-y episodes before, but this was the first in front of a large group of people. Hopefully, I’ll get points for finishing regardless of my obvious physiologic distress…
The rest of the day went well but I still won’t hear from them for at least a month. The more I go to other interviews, the more unappealing pumping out RVUs day after day seems to be. I’ve had to stop myself numerous times from emailing the program director “Pick me! I think your program is exactly what I’ve been looking for! We want to live in your town FOREVER!”. But that probably looks bad so I haven’t. It’s my first choice for a job. I think I’m a decent candidate, but if someone swoops in with experience and/or someone from within their own system is interested, my chances probably aren’t looking too good.
I had another job interview at a community clinic within the past few days. It meets all my non-academic job wish list items except one. I’ve gotten more idealistic rather than less as medical school and residency have gone by, and I was really hoping to work in at least a somewhat underserved community – but this job is in the heart of a beautiful suburb which wasn’t what I was picturing for myself at all. The more I think about my list of what I want in a job, the more I realize that this is probably a very good fit for me, but there’s just a small hesitant piece of me that feels like a sell-out. Which is why I’m turning to you all for stories and advice – was there anything you had to sacrifice off your wish list to find a job you were still reasonably happy in?
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