I haven’t posted on this for such a very long time so I’m doing a bit of an off-the-cuff update here. The airport brings the writing out in me. A cheeky prosecco in the airport bar definitely seems to help. Mainly though, I think it comes down to me feeling like I need to look like I’m doing grown-up things on my iPad with all these business types around. That’s the problem with iPads – everyone can see exactly what you’re doing on this big screen!
So what does happen when you quit (your PhD that is)? Well for me, things have gotten better. A lot better. Obviously, every situation is unique, but it’s been more than 6 months for me and when I think back to the PhD days it’s like looking at one of those pictures where it’s the same place but rainy and grey on one side and all blue skies on the other. Same person, different outlook. So, so different.
I hadn’t actually realised before how much my life had been disappearing outside of my PhD. Life actually takes quite a lot of time as it turns out, and it’s flipping difficult to squeeze it all in to the few exhausted hours you spend awake outside of the lab during a PhD (or one like mine was anyway). Now, I find work to be a bit of a break from everything else. That aspect couldn’t be more different.
What about the work then? I’m a medical writer at a medical communications agency now. I would imagine many of you don’t know what that means, since neither did I a few months back. It’s a hard thing to sum up since we do so many different things but I can give you an idea of what my days are like. The obvious thing is that I write copy and so far that’s all been for pharma companies. Recent highlights would be going to a conference in Amsterdam where, as you might guess, it was my job to attend sessions and write a report for the company who sent me. Aside from this, though, there were a whole bunch of other things going on. We (my agency) organised an industry satellite symposium (from my student perspective, these were really just a place to get better food) which went really well and we organised other things like awards dinners etc. I really enjoyed these actually – I love meeting all the other people working in this industry and finding out what everyone does and where they came from. Plus I’m just a chatterbox so these sorts of things are fun for me.
That’s the travel side of things anyway. And there’s a good bit of it; I’m heading to Greece in August and (all going well) Australia next year, as well as who knows where else in between. That works for me – I LOVE to travel. Most of the time my job is a desk job though. I might create a slide show for someone to present at a meeting; create a manual for training sales reps, or maybe make a cartoon guide to help advise/instruct patients whose medicine is complicated to take. My favourite thing, probably, is how much you need to work in a team to get things done. I realise now that I just don’t work well in isolation and I like coordinating with the clients, designers and the accounts team to work everything out. It’s definitely better that way. If I ever run into a problem I can’t figure out, I don’t continue hammering away at it, getting more panicked (actually that sums up my PhD quite well ha!), I just figure it out with someone else. It’s perfect for me.
If anyone reading this happens to be thinking of a career move into med comms, or would just like to know a bit more about it (albeit from a relatively newbie perspective), then please give me a shout!