On getting a promotion (and finally realizing a career)

When I started working as a medical writer in 2011, I had basic-to-minimal knowledge of cardiology. I had been employed previously in the grants department of another health nonprofit and a plethora of internship experience I had worked hard to achieve throughout college, but no concrete direction with regard to where I wanted to go. Writing was high on the priority list and so was science, but I had only the slightest idea that I could ever combine the two into a full-time gig that would allow me to pay my rent and give me health insurance.

I still laugh at the fact that I found my current job through, of all places, Craigslist. When they brought me in for an interview and subsequently sent me home with a writing test, I was confident, but I was nervous. Nervous that I wouldn’t be able to hack it with the super knowledgeable potential coworkers I had met. Nervous that my lack of a grad school degree would deem me an imposter. Nervous that I knew little more about the heart than the fact that it has 4 chambers and is responsible for keeping me alive...and simultaneously nervous.

My motto for the first year was “fake it ‘til you make it.” I’ve discovered real power in successfully convincing people that I know what I’m talking about if I simply pretend that I do. And slowly but surely, I started discussing transcatheter aortic valve replacement over Passover seders and making connections with some of the most genius clinicians and researchers in the world. I’ve had the grandest pleasure of traveling the world to attend conferences where some of the most innovative research is presented--and now I actually know what the presenters are talking about (when in doubt, there’s always medterms.com).

Last week I was promoted to senior writer and the fact that I have found not only a career, but a satisfying one, has finally set in. I jam-pack my schedule with interviews and brainstorming time, and given my recent involvement with our multimedia content, I’m learning as much as I can about video production and editing (another fake-it-til-you-make-it point in my life!). Because I am interested in more than hard science, I’ve spearheaded an issues-based approach to serving physicians in the fellowship stage of their training and continue to learn every day.

Nine times out of 10 when I introduce myself and my job to someone new, they say “I never even knew that existed!” But I love that. I am happy to explain and I tell them I can’t wait to see where it leads me next.

#career #writing #medicalwriting #promotion

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© 2019 by Yael L. Maxwell.

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