A successful career in critical care medicine can be accomplished by following some basic principles in life.
Tragedy happens to all of us at some point in our lives. It’s just a fact of life. From divorce to the death of a loved one, we will all experience emotionally painful things in our lives. In many circumstances tragedy can derail us in our professional lives and send us into a spiraling, out-of-control, negative state that is sometimes difficult to recover from. By understanding a few coping strategies and how to employ them within the framework of our busy professional lives, we can put tragedy in perspective and even create our own “personal tragedy crusade.” What I mean by this is the “positive” we intend to practice in the world to, in a sense, use our own tragedies to better the lives of others.
What I have learned about how to prevent tragedy from destroying your career I learned the hard way. My goal is to share my painful story and offer some practical advice on how to deal with tragedies that may arise in your own life. The central take home message that I think it’s crucial to state is that your career can wait until you heal. Your projects, your lectures, your commitments…they can all wait.
People who love and support you will understand that you need time to be with friends and family. In fact, I will go a step further and say that you should dump all of your commitments. Get out of lectures, pull out of committees, cancel travel. Free yourself to allow healing. Believe me, learn from my mistakes. People who love and care about you will understand, and that is what matters. By sharing the story of my mother, I hope in some small way I can help others start the healing process and prioritize when tragedy befalls them.