When I graduated from university in 1998, the internet was in its early stages and social media was in the distant future, and the yellow pages (Google it if you’re under 30) was still a place where I would go to try and find out about business contacts.
If I wanted a job, I would have to buy a newspaper and look for advertisements that companies would place there, and I would have to send in a letter with my CV, or actually go and find the place and knock on the door and introduce myself. You had to be brave to make it. This is actually something I did to kickstart my career in dentistry last century.
Moreover, I had to actually travel 400 kilometers by bus to get my first job. I went to great lengths to actually keep it, going so far as to move to the south of the country in order to work for the first two years of my career. Nothing was easy. But back then, we didn’t know any different and I have to say, looking back, it was a hell of a lot of fun and everything was an adventure as we knew nothing.
Things were so much more simple back then. What I see today when it comes to hiring young people, it is almost the polar opposite of that. I started to wonder if all this technology, social media and access to do much unfiltered information it’s actually something better for the marketplace? For many young kids looking for a job nowadays, being famous on Instagram, or other social media platforms, is actually a thing. And I can’t blame young folk for actually wanting this as fame and idolatry is something we’ve cultivated since the time of the Roman gladiators! We can’t blame anyone for wanting to be famous and being recognized.
Especially now, when you can actually make money this way. I can safely say, that this is never been my primary goal and in health care, for those that have actually gone to university to study to be a doctor or a dentist, then that definitely shouldn’t be your primary focus. If it is a consequence of great work, then fantastic, but it should never be the first objective. I would never hire a dentist based on their social media profile, but always on their values and education, which leads me to my topic of today’s discussion.
Why is it becoming harder and harder to hire people?
Has social media and all this access to information created an illusion that work is easy? And I’m saying this because let’s face it, who on social media posts all the tough stuff? Who posts the grind? The difficulties, the challenges, the hardcore days? The complicated workload, the stress, the anxiety, the desperation every person goes through in their early stages of their career?
Working over hours, while studying for exams, getting an early commute to work and a late one back home. The late nights going to bed without eating because you forgot to go to the supermarket and have no money in your account for take out. All these things that were absolutely normal back in the day, nowadays, are considered unacceptable by younger generation seeking their first job. What they’re seeking for now is the important work-life balance they perceive to be reality and for mental health days, which let’s face it are important, but you cannot invest in your future without breaking a sweat and some suffering! It’s just never that easy! It’s just not how things work. Strong foundations require pressure, and above and beyond everything else, consistent hard work and investment.
I’m just not seeing that in this younger generation that seem to want a fantastic salary, incredible working hours so they can focus on their personal growth and other ambitions. Well, if your personal dreams are not part of your career path, then why did you want to become a healthcare professional in the first place?
So I think we’re facing an existential crisis in healthcare, because a lot of these young men and women that have just graduated have confused notions about what the first years of work in healthcare are and I think it’s very important that universities and training academies around the world start focusing on re-educating how tough the first years in any healthcare sector are because you have to totally un-program your desire to be the center of the relationship and place your team and your patient at that center.
Otherwise, there’s no way you can be a good health care provider because it’s all about the patient and the team and the science and never about yourself and your personal opinions. One must need to listen and learn from the more experienced teachers. If that is what you want to be, at the center of everything, then perhaps healthcare is not for you and you’re in the wrong profession, and what you really need to be doing is to be an actor, or an Instagram star, with no disrespect to those who are, as I follow many and I respect quite a few, but in health care, if you want to be a doctor, a nurse or a dentist and have a long career in service of others, then the focus has to be on incredible hard work, commitment and sacrifice and the humility to continually be learning and the strength and courage to work harder than most of your friends around you because your work can save lives and that’s the mission!
Hard work pays off.
It’s a long journey to the top and your connections won’t get you there. Only talent, passion, drive, grit and consistent honest hard work.
So when you go for a job interview, in the famous words of the late JFK, “ask not what your employer can do for you, but what you can do for them”.
Good luck to all of you entering the medical work force. Stay focused.