How To Quit Your Job (A Work of Fiction)

Memo: How TO QUIT YOUR JOB

 

  • First, don an amazing outfit; I mean a truly spectacular one. Wear lipstick. You’re going to want to look good for this.
  • Do it in person and in writing. On the morning of the day you quit, request a brief meeting with your boss, and say it is time sensitive. In the meeting, say that you are resigning. Be pleasant but neutral. Practice this ahead of time in order to actually be pleasant and neutral when it matters.
  • Accompany your verbal notice with a written one. Keep this extremely brief; state you are resigning and give your suggested final day at this workplace. If you are leaving but not entirely happy with the departure, it’s ok to NOT fill the page with words thanking your current employer for making conditions so bad that you are leaving. That would be inauthentic, and that is something you are not. However …
  • Be gracious. Wish your colleagues the best in the future. Even if you don’t feel that way right now, it’s a classy gesture.
  • If offered an exit interview, YOU MUST RESIST the temptation to Put It All Out There. Spoiler alert: they don’t care what you really think at this point, and odds are nothing is going to change from what you say. Save your catharsis for your friends.
  • Refrain from using the phrase “with mixed emotions” to describe any aspect of your departure. This is trite, overused and makes you look both inarticulate and unimaginative.
  • Know that they will talk sh*t about you. They just will. You don’t need to like this fact, but you do need to know it. You see, other people are going to watch you walk away and that might force them to put a mirror to themselves and their own lives, and they may not like what they see. So for some it will be easier to trash you, call you a fool, shake their heads and say that you never belonged here in the first place. Secret: some of them will actually be jealous because you are doing something they wish they could do. Some may be inspired to follow your lead and exit. Some will be happy for you, and they are called your friends.
  • Time it strategically for your benefits. This is a practical one: some companies have benefits programs where if you work a few days out of a month, your benefits will continue until the end of the month. It may feel tidier to quit on July 31st versus August 3rd, but those extra days may mean a significant financial difference, especially if you have to pay for COBRA coverage.
  • In you can swing it, throw your own going away party and pay for the booze! This way you can invite who you want, focusing on the people you like, and there has to be at least someone you still like there. Avoid an awkward lunch party in the conference room at all costs.
  • Also, if possible, give yourself a bridge between finishing one job and starting another. Honor and enjoy the time off, because as adults we rarely get to do this. Go to a tropical island if you can, because your new job may require some significant nose-to-the-grindstone time before you earn/can afford another vacation.
  • Be Brave. Know that you are strong and will be Even More Amazing in your next iteration.

P.S. This is a work of fiction.

A New Opportunity (a.k.a. Difficult Decisions, the Pursuit of Happiness and the Opportunity of a Lifetime)

Today was the last day of my job.

It was a position I held for over eight years, and for much of that time, I thought it would be a forever job, one where I would start and end my specialty medical career.

The reasons behind the decision are complicated and too personal to share in their entirety, but initially I faced this change with deep sadness. I still partially feel this way.

To focus on the (amazing, wonderful) positive: I am about to embark on a very exciting new chapter.

A colleague and friend who I respect and love asked me to partner with her in joining an established private practice in a nearby city.

This is a Once in a Lifetime opportunity, and in the end, it is also one I could not pass up.

I want to be able to craft a medical practice that represents me in every aspect, from the little things like the magazines in the lobby (artsy, diverse), to the art on the walls (hip, real), to offering patients a beverage while they wait (sparkling water, anyone?), to the big things like making every patient feel understood and cared for during the good times and the bad. Another pro: I can dress more creatively without the restrictive wardrobe rules of my old job (all suits, all the time).

The most important factor: I can authentically be myself, always.

I’m excited to begin.

On the flip side, people may wonder why I’m leaving a position I loved. That’s harder to justify.

For most of the time I was in my former job, I truly, deeply loved it. I lived and breathed the work and gave my all to the institution. I was so proud to be a physician there.

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for a public radio news show about fertility treatment. The other guest was Belle Boggs, who wrote “The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine and Motherhood,” an eloquent memoir about being a fertility patient. The conversation was stimulating and one of the best I’ve had in a long time. At the conclusion of the hour, the show’s host told me that throughout the program, the phone lines had been jammed with current and former patients of mine who were calling to say what an excellent doctor I was.

My voice cracked when I thanked her for telling me. 

It’s almost impossible to leave that behind, even though I’m sure there will be new stories and new patients.

(Sidenote: I hesitated to include that anecdote in this post, because if read the wrong way it sounds really boastful and ugly. I don’t mean it to; it was a very surprising moment to me and one where instead of feeling swollen with pride, I actually felt quite stunned and humbled. In the end I decided to keep it because it illustrates the bittersweetness of my current situation).

In all parts of my life, I’ve pledged to be authentically myself, and it would be inauthentic at this time not to mention that the reason I was receptive to the opportunity to join a private practice with my friend involved turmoil within my own department. After a few years of this, my immediate colleagues and I were very unhappy. Despite passionate discussions and attempts at change, it became apparent that the status quo would be upheld.

I felt like I could continue to be unhappy in my current iteration or try to live authentically and forge a new path. I chose the latter.

While I still have framed some of this story with sadness, the overwhelming sentiments I feel are Happiness and Excitement for the future.

I now see this opportunity for what it is: a gift.

To the clinical and nursing staff I’ve worked with, patients I’ve been honored to care for and my physician friends, please know I love you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life and be able to practice a medical specialty that I deeply love. It is a privilege.

 

 

 

 

Cute Scrubs

This is a very specific fashion-related post, but today I am talking about scrubs.

For the first time in my career, I am buying scrubs.

I’ve been wearing them for nearly 20 years, if you count medical school, residency, fellowship and life beyond training, but I’ve never purchased my own.

Until now.

In most of the places I’ve worked, scrubs were provided. My medical school had flattering light blue ones. Residency and fellowship both weirdly featured an unattractive green hue that was somewhere between Kermit the Frog and mushy peas.

My most recent employer also had blue scrubs, although for the past few years they were stamped with an ugly “Property Of …” running down the leg.

Scrubs are actually quite dangerous to wear at work. While they are mostly comfortable and make A.M. wardrobe decisions a snap, if you need to change scrub sizes – something that doesn’t happen all that often – you’re in trouble. You’ve either gained (or lost, but let’s be honest, for most people it’s a gain) a ton of weight.

A quick look at the scrub options available showed that: 1) scrub technology has come a long way and 2) while not exactly haute couture, some scrubs have become relatively cute.

The first set I ordered was from FIGS.

I loved the waistband on these pants:

w_royal_livingston-pant_front_315a2e92-0121-4281-a085-98a69865c2cc_1024x1024The matching shirt was pretty standard but I really liked this longsleeve underscrub top:

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This looks perfect for winter.

The other brand that caught my eye was (embarrassingly enough) Grey’s Anatomy Scrubs.

When I saw the hot pink options, I knew I had a winner.

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And how about these matching clogs in a candy dot print?

98339_candydot1New lab coats are also on my list. These tailored versions definitely beat the boxy, unisex ones I’ve been subjected to in the past.

This coat has a sleek fit and princess seams:

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My dentist was wearing it when I had an appointment earlier this week and it managed to look quite chic. [Sidenote: I love my dentist! She was rocking this coat with glittery J. Crew heels, a massive statement necklace that was also J. Crew, a navy button down and red ankle pants. She has great style].

This coat is particularly awesome, especially the printed cuffs. I saw a favorite colleague wearing it earlier in the week and had to stop her in the hallway to see where she got it. The brand is Koi.

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I’m oddly excited about these new options. For the first time, I’m bringing my style to my scrubs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Christmas Ideas

I absolutely *love* to give gifts, so Christmas shopping is one of the highlights of my year.

Carefully selecting the right gift for the right person, scoring a killer deal whenever possible and even wrapping are all part of the fun.

Here are some of the things I have my eye on this year:

For kids:

  • Science kits are a high priority item. Mindware  has several options that appeal to all kinds of kids, but my favorite was this Lip Balm Lab.

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There are also Perfume, Slime, Soap and Volcano labs available. Most of these are for kids 10 and up.

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  • A game the whole family can play. I already mentioned this in my Thanksgiving recap post, but a favorite new find (via my friend A.) is Not Parent Approved, a family-friendlier version of Cards Against Humanity.

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For college-aged young adults:

  • Home Tees. These would be particularly good for homesick college students.

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  • Snacks. Last year I stocked up one nephew’s dorm room with Costco-sized versions of trail mix, Twizzlers, M&Ms, animal crackers, popcorn and other assorted junk foods that would be uniquely appreciated at 3 A.M. An excessive snack supply also seems like a good way to quickly turn your room into the go-to place on your floor. Score one for popularity.
  • Individual coffee makers, like a Keurig, with at least six boxes of coffee pods. Here’s the important second part of this gift: send yourself a reminder to send more pods again in March and May. The last thing you want to do is give a kid a space-hogging appliance that he can’t afford to use. 

For adults:

  • A case of wine. I’ve given this gift again and again for a variety of occasions, and it’s always well-appreciated (and usually gone before the end of January).
  • A magnum of wine. Magnums are the oversized wine bottles that are the equivalent of two regular bottles. If you choose something spectacular, like this Veuve Clicquot, you’ve got one impressive gift. If you buy a $6.99 1.5-liter bottle of Yellowtail Chardonnay, you’re going to be disowned.
  • A wheel of parmesan cheese. Ok, this is basically a fantasy gift given its $2250 price tag, but it looks so incredible.

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  • Coffee or beer from a local roaster/brewery. Or kill two birds with one stone with a growler of coffee stout.

Fun things I just love:

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  • These. Can you detect a theme? (Sadly, these are sold out).

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  • Artist socks. These are also sold out, but immensely fun. They are from Signals.

 

 

Weekend At The Children’s Museum

We were lucky enough to spend all of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with our dear friends T., A. and their daughter K. at my mom’s lake house.

Overconsumption was definitely the first order of business, but we also managed to put together two 500 piece puzzles (an activity that the adults were surprisingly into; next time I’ll bring two more puzzles or ones with more pieces) and play a few rounds of Not Parent Approved, which is basically Cards Against Humanity for the entire family. Top tip: this is a great holiday gift if you have kids somewhere between 8 and 13.

[Don’t worry: once the kids were out of earshot, we got a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity in, too.]

My sister and her husband came over for post-Thanksgiving dessert and brought an ice cream maker, which was also kid-approved and kept them enthralled for long enough to mix the ingredients, watch the churning and make outrageous sundaes.

One of the most popular outings over the long weekend was to the local Children’s Museum, which featured a traveling exhibit about Japan.

There was a portion dedicated to Japanese street culture and all things kawaii (a.k.a. extremely cute).

They even had costume props to dress up:

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There was also a pretend sushi bar, which got a lot of attention from Trixie and K. but made me supremely hungry, since it was well past lunch time.

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What’ll you have?

My order:

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I loved the Shinto shrine. You could write a wish and hang it on the tree.

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K. graciously wished that everyone would have a home.

Trixie wished for toys. 

Some of the wishes were hilarious (“I want to get mared [married]”), and others heartbreaking (“I wish mom and dad would stop fighting”).

There was also an area where you could get a fortune for a penny.

Here’s mine:

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I vehemently disagree with that LOVE section.

To quote my friend A.:

I never thought I’d be disappointed for something that only cost a penny, but I am.

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By the end of the weekend, I think we were all slightly diabetic and exhausted, but even now, I’m ready to do it all again, and better.

Takeaway thoughts from spending a holiday vacation with another family:

  • I should have done a better job with meal planning. In the end, we had way too much food. Our friends brought a lot and so did we. They also very generously contributed a lot of cooking. In the future, I’d assign different meals to different people to avoid food duplication.
  • The games were a lot of fun. Many kudos to A. for bringing Not Parent Approved. We all thought this was hilarious, and it’s hard to find something that 3 kids and 4 adults agree on.
  • Puzzles were a hit. They could be set up and people could randomly work on them for a few minutes at a time. This is an especially perfect, quiet activity for kids who wake up early.
  • Get the kids to cook. I gave them a pass on this, but in the future I’d consider planning a taco bar or panini station where kids had to at least assemble part of their meal.
  • Find enough places to sleep. While my mom’s lake house is well-suited for entertaining and general vacationing, the kids had to share quarters, which prompted late night whispering, giggling, arguing and eventual separation. If possible, I’d keep all of the kids together during the day but apart at night, which maximizes quality sleep and pays dividends the next day.
  • Plan active outings. The weather wasn’t terrible, but obviously it was too cold to swim or go tubing, two activities that historically have burned off a lot of energy while we are at the lake house. Kids + Pent-up Energy = Meltdowns.
  • Booze. Self explanatory.

The best news? T. and A. have a beach condo and we’re going there next!

I am so grateful for good friends and the opportunity to spend time together.

 

 

J. Crew Chateau Parka

I think it’s safe to call the J. Crew Chateau parka a classic.

Year after year, this timeless winter coat looks right.

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Image via J Crew

About two years ago I bought a new lightweight Patagonia down jacket, but as far as dressier outerwear goes, I realized I’ve had the same boring black cloth coat from Banana Republic for nearly a decade.

That, my friends, is a true fashion commitment.

Like the J. Crew coat, my BR coat’s classic cut still feels stylish. The fit is good. It’s not worn out in the slightest, so in the end, I can’t think of a reason to get something new.

Except that this season’s fun windowpane check version from J. Crew caught my eye:

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Image via J Crew

The red is so awesome!

There is much argument to be made for having a bright winter coat, since it’s a major statement maker when you’re otherwise bundled from head to toe and it gets dark at 4 PM.

If you stick to safer colors like black or navy, you’ve got to much more creative in the hats, scarves and mittens arena. Which I am.

This year I also love how J. Crew styled the chateau parka with a jean jacket as another layer. This image is from their catalog:

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Wearing a jean jacket as a sweater-like layer is a look I’ve seen quite a bit this fall. It’s inspiring me to dig out my own classic J. Crew jean jacket and give it a shot.

One consistent thing I’ve noticed: if you decide you are in the market for a J. Crew winter coat, wait until they go on sale in the late winter/early spring. They are usually deeply discounted, even for classics like this that will again be full price in a few months for the next winter season. If you miss the window of opportunity, try again next year. This style will (more than likely) be back.

For an even better deal, check the in-store sale racks in traditionally warm weather places. Stylish warm coats on sale go quickly around here in February, so you might be left with slim pickings. In contrast, I found a gray Chateau parka in my size for less than $100 at a Scottsdale, AZ, J. Crew store last spring. I am kicking myself now that I didn’t snap it up.

But there’s always next year.