Time for another update! I'm nearing the end of this internship, and nearing the end of my time as a student. This fall, I'll have my medical license. I can't wait for the moment I finally get to call myself a doctor. Things are looking up, I'm getting great performance reviews and I get tons of compliments on my knowledge and work ethos. So why am I not happy? Because Someone said Something.
I told the head of the department how much I love working here, and how much I'd love to stay. I told him I'm planning on applying for a job the next time there's a vacancy and I wanted to know how to maximize my chances of being hired. It was a fruitful conversation. However, at the end of the conversation, he gave me a hint that I should think about giving a presentation on a subject of my choice to the department before I leave, to make myself more memorable. It's good advice. However, the only take-home message my brain decided on is this:
You're not memorable
Isn't it ridiculous how we can get tons of praise heaped on ourselves, but the minute someone says something that could possibly be construed as criticism, that's the only thing we focus on? I had this conversation a few days ago, and the comment festered in the back of my mind, until I had a mini breakdown yesterday. I cried because sometimes, I feel like no matter how good I am at my job, that is what it boils down to. I could be the smartest person in the room, but I'm too quiet, so I'm overlooked. It doesn't matter that I've been around these people 50 hours a week for the past three months, doesn't matter that my supervisors think I should be hired on the spot, apparently I need to make more waves so I won't be forgotten. I feel like in the end they'll probably hire someone less qualified, just because that person is better at socializing. Sometimes I'm surprised at how bitter I've become, over the years.
And of course that's the point where I start blaming myself for not being more outgoing. I resent myself for all those lunch breaks where I sat at the table quietly because I didn't know when to enter the conversation or what to say. I feel ashamed for being too poor to go out for drinks or dinner with my coworkers when they invite me in an effort to include me. I resent myself for not being able to keep a conversation going with more than two people present. I really wish it didn't take me a few months to be able to relax around new people. And so on, and so on. It's funny how that little comment, which was only meant as helpful advice, sent me spiraling out of control and exposed my deepest insecurities, which I thought were well-buried but which were apparently lurking just under the surface.
The good thing about generally being in a good place, mental health-wise, is that I can bounce back quickly now. I realize I'm dragging myself down in a spiral of negative thoughts and I have the tools to stop spiraling and snap out of it. I had a good cathartic cry, my boyfriend ruffled my hair and called me an idiot, and I sniffled and called him names. All is well again. Will I ever get rid of my nagging self-doubt? Highly unlikely. Will I ever be a social butterfly? Not unless I can drink on the job (which, no, not planning to ). I'm just hoping that, once I've secured a job and things quiet down, I can be a little more secure about myself too. And remember just how memorable I am.
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