Switching career: Your parents are not your enemies!

Steve Jobs in his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005 said that “Don’t live in dogma which means living a life set by others choice.” He also said not to settle down until we find the work that we love. So we should keep looking for the work that we really love and have passion for.

At the very first week in Dhaka Medical College, back in 2006, I realized that doctor as a profession is not my cup of tea! It’s a great profession, no doubt in that, but I love to do other things! But what I wanted to be, I didn’t know at that time. So I kept looking for my passion during the whole period and few days before my final professional exam in 2011 I found what I wanted to be. I found what I loved to do and had passion for it! It’s Public Health and Research! 

After completing final prof, I went to my home and I told my parents that I wanted to be a Public Health Researcher! And you know what they said! “Never! Not in a million years! You are the first doctor of our family, so you are going to be a Medicine specialist in future.” I was silent! Moreover my mother also took me to our family ophthalmologist and asked him about my decision. He literally white-washed me with all of his logic on why I should not switch my career  to para-clinical and/or non-clinical subjects.” I remained silent again!

I was silent not because of the fact that I don’t have any logic around my decision, I was silent because I learnt a motto in my cadet college “Deeds Not Words.” So it was the time to follow my passion and act accordingly.

During my internship I started to build up my knowledge and skills to be a public health researcher. I started doing MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from different universities around the globe to learn basics of research, I became ambassador of different conferences for medical students and attending many training programs and workshops on public health. As the career discussion getting bitter and bitter with my parents, one day I made them see all these staffs with big hope that they would understand me. After seeing those, my father asked me a simple question “We understand you are doing fantastic things, but can you tell us that these would give you a job or any earning after your internship?”  My answer with utter despair was “No. There is no guarantee at all!”

Then there came a big blow in my life! 33rd BCS! The government was taking record no. of doctors (>6000) for the first time in  country’s history. They told me to sit for the preliminary exam. But I didn’t as this was not going in-line with my plans. They were relentless in persuading me. And my mother said “Our relatives will think that you are not competent enough for BCS.” That time I got really angry and said “after studying in cadet college and DMC, if someone thinks that  I am not competent enough, then I really don’t want to prove anything to them.”

Like this, I had thousands of questions and challenges in my life for not being a clinical practitioner. But I kept trying my best.

Then, Allah helped me and I joined as a researcher at James P Grant School of Public Health just the following day after my internship was completed. I also started my MPH at North South University. After one year I joined at icddr,b with a promotion and completed my MPH. Then I got chance to study MSc in Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden with full scholarship. All these happened in less than 2 years after my internship!

If you ask me now who are the happiest persons in this world for my success, I would immediately  tell- it’s my parents; without any doubts and/or hesitations. Because I have realized, all they want for me is to be successful in what I am doing and be happy in my life. As they are watching  me successful and happy, their happiness knows no bound! Moreover they helped me emotionally and gave courage when bad times came in these 2 years. And they are proud of me as I sticked to my passion and proved my way to it. (Okay!!! There is a long long way to go……..)

The reason behind telling my story about switching career is– often people point out their parents or relatives as an obstacle when it comes to follow their passion. I think they are simply not courageous to follow their dreams. The main obstacle between them and their dream is they themselves. They do not want to take risks for the fear of failure. And then they are unhappy for the rest of their lives. A career with passion is like a good relationship; it only gets better with time. And it will also help you to pass the hard times. So guys! please don’t hesitate to follow your dream, your passion, your love. GO BE YOURSELF!!! MAKE YOUR PARENTS HAPPY AND PROUD……

Disclaimer: This writing is for only those medical students and young doctors who want to study para and/or non-clinical subjects e.g. microbiology, anatomy, radiology, anesthesiology, public health etc. Clinical people don’t get angry with this. You are on the top of the table and no-one will ever stop you to be a clinician! So maybe this writing is somewhat irrelevant to you. Cheers!!!

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