Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Good Friends...and a Career Change?

I'm not a social butterfly.

I think it's, in part, due to my introvert nature. I've somewhat come out of that shell-of-a-child I once was and am definitely more comfortable in large groups. However, I'm not one to keep many close to my heart. Other than family, I would say it's pretty difficult for someone to break into my inner circle unless I spend a lot of time with them. Plus I'm big on heart-to-heart talks and being able to share my beefs. Laughs? Most definitely!

My closest and dearest friends are from high school elementary school. With the exception of one friend who I met late in high school (it's like I've known her for way longer!), I've known them since Grade 2, since I moved here from Quebec. Although I don't see them as frequent as others, we make it a point to TRY and get together each month, but in reality it turns out every 4-5 months instead, each of us busy in our careers and family lives.

Last Friday was one such night. We went out for dinner, as we always do, to enjoy good food with good company.

Because there are five of us, it's usually difficult to have one big conversation, depending on how we're arranged at dinner, so most of the time we split in half and have more intimate conversations.

My heart-to-heart was with K this time...and, boy, did she rattle my brain!

I can't quite remember how we got to talking about my job, but we wound up discussing what I would have been, career-wise, if I didn't wind up doing what I do.

Not a lot of people know what I do for a living; not many can describe it. Many simply know that I work in a hospital: some would assume I'm a nurse, while others know that I work in the lab, somewhere. Yes, I'm a medical technologist, not a nurse. Not just any medical technologist but a cytogenetic laboratory technologist.

Say what?

Yup, a mouthful, and I don't usually make it a point to elaborate as much. What do you do for a living? When asked, I just say I work in genetics: most people understand that much, and either are piqued enough to ask more questions or are shell-shocked and carry on to more graspable topics.

[For reference: a cytogenetic technologist analyzes human chromosomes to:

1) determine any abnormalities in unborn children - analysis of amniotic fluid or cord blood
2) determine a cause of recurrent pregnancy loss in infertile couples or individuals - analysis of whole blood
3) diagnose, classify and prognose various tumours or leukemic diseases, like Acute or Chronic Myeloid Leukemia - analysis of bone marrow or bone biopsies]

So, back to my story...

After all these years, K is still surprised that I didn't do a communications degree instead of a science degree. She unabashedly showered me with so many compliments about all the apparent qualities I have with regards to everything media-related -- my love for tech, my writing skills -- that I had to acknowledge that I, too, often wondered why I didn't do a communications degree.

I wouldn't go so far and suggest that I be an anchorwoman, like she suggested (me, on TV? oh, gosh!....) but if I could be a writer...

She proceeded to tell me of a woman she knew of whose job was to simply travel and review spas. Imagine! Getting a massage, trying on mud masques, all for the sake of work? If only...

But I'm too secure in my job to do anything else, much to the chagrin of another friend who insists on not doing anything simply for the benefits. Sure, give me the health and pension benefits of my current job, and I'll do anything more creative, more fulfilling. Don't get me wrong: I like my job, and I think I'm good at what I do, but perhaps, I got to thinking, that there is another job out there for me that I can do better in, comparatively.

I gave a one-hour presentation last year at a scientific conference to 75 peers, and although I shitted bricks leading up to it, the adrenaline pumped right through me and I rocked that presentation.

Sure beat being at a microscope all day!

So although my regrets on not advancing on to medical school are far behind me, perhaps one day I'll find my true calling and end up at my dream job. Who knows if it involves writing for a living. I believe I'm good at what I currently do, although not the best, I admit; maybe I'll eventually find something I'm great at doing, and be better than just good. Perhaps the opportunity will present itself, perhaps not.

Whichever way Life goes, at least my friends give me a good laugh, a different perspective, unfathomable visions and a neverending horizon.


  1. I love your writing! I think that many people feel as you do. I'm currently working for a life insurance agency where I plan on advancing soon but I always ponder, "What if I got my degree in communications? Where would that have taken me?" I still have three years of college under my belt and can finish but taking care of the family stops me from doing so. I can totally relate to this and I loved reading this post!

  2. Thanks, Cam, for your comments! Insecurity is a devilish thing, and it's nice to have feedback like yours. :)

    You can still finish...you're not too far away from doing so!