Single Working Female

I have recently noticed a trend in my social circle and wonder if this is a broader phenomenon.

Single working women have increasingly fewer single working female friends.

After we finish our marathon of training in business, law, medicine, education, or whatever makes our hearts sing (or pays our hearts’ bills), single working women emerge simultaneously more educated and more isolated. And I’m not just talking about professional isolation where “good ole boy” traditions (or discriminatory favoritism) leave young women outside the complicated social dynamic of the workplace. I’m talking about looking up at the end of a long journey to meaningful employment and finding less and less women around to relate to (or to share your professional aspirations and watch movies in your pajamas on a Saturday night).

What happened to all my girlfriends? To the brilliant young women I studied and grew up alongside?

Well, they moved. And so did I.

I mean, it makes sense. Without the consideration of marriage or children, many of us move to our nation’s epicenters to start a budding career and social life. We bloom, finally stepping out of a truncated adolescence into the spoils education and employment offer (mostly stimulating conversation over moderately priced dinner and drinks). And more importantly, we change. Eager to finally contribute to the world, we are ready to embrace opportunities and without a reason not to (namely family constraints) we are doing just that; despite the consequence, which lately for me, has been more social isolation. Adept at multitasking in a world where social and professional responsibilities can overlap, we sometimes over-commit in the workplace to seem eager and approachable while under-committing in our personal lives to remain flexible and focused. We are walking the thin line Sheryl Sandburg encouraged us to lean across (where being ambitious can be confused for being a bitch, but by acknowledging the tight rope of gender politics in the work place we are freed to succeed, or something like that) and sometimes it is a lonely trek.

So what’s a girl to do? How can we stay connected despite the miles between us and how can we meet new wonderful women along the way?

Maybe we should start a friend exchange, where we share the amazing people who have made our life better with our sisters across the country, posting online profiles or something for women looking for other supportive gals. Or maybe it’s just early in my professional life (I’ve been working approximately 2 weeks now!) and now that I finally have time to be more social, I actually have to work at it a little bit. Maybe I am not trying hard enough and everyone else is somewhere having a great time without me. Or maybe I just miss all my amazing friends who moved away.

In other news, anybody up for dinner and a movie this week?

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Hunger Games

The following is a piece I wrote during my 3rd year of pediatric training and it was recently published on the University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Pediatrics blog! Let me know what you think and click on the link to read the full post on UCSF’s site!

Sometimes residency seems like a game of who’s the hungriest – who’s the smartest, most prepared, most eager, and most willing to sacrifice personal time, and sometimes sanity, to succeed. Given the nature of the game, it’s to be expected that there are moments when an otherwise incredibly capable and driven individual may question their merits or purpose. Like any young professional, I have felt that precious, formative moments can devolve into a crisis of consciousness – is this my true purpose? Where is my life going? I often find myself questioning my place here. Perhaps that is why residency has been the most challenging time in my life.

But I didn’t just stumble upon this path. I chose it. Throughout years of scholastic preparation including a robust and fulfilling extra-curricular life that started in high school, a joint degree combining humanities and science in college, two daunting standardized tests (that are billed to dictate your future success, or failure, as it may be) and one, very stressful and not at all fun-type-of lottery that punctuated medical school, I thoughtfully considered my future. And now, I find myself here – a 3rd year pediatric resident, a few weeks shy of graduation and terrified of a future that seems to be hurling at me like a meteor. At the culmination of all I have studied and prepped for, just as I feel ripe enough to hatch into the world of professional medicine and advocacy, I find myself feeling a little burnt-out – singed by the experience of it all and just smoldering enough to make it to the end.

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