Doing what comes naturally, via e-mail

At the beginning of Plan Nine From Outer Space, famed ’50s phony psychic Criswell says the only vaguely rational thing in the entire movie:

We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.

Everyone has bad weeks at work.  I’m coming off of a couple weeks that were considerably less fun than a barrel of monkey overlords.  And when these times come up, it’s natural to re-evaluate your place in the universe.

When I got laid off a decade ago, I found myself with sufficient financial resources to consider a career change.  Because it interested me, I embarked on a path to become a financial planner.  I studied for a year at Duke, then took and passed the Certified Financial Planner exam (kind of like the CPA exam for financial planners).  (Real disclaimer: I was never allowed to call myself a CFP, because I did not meet the 3-year work requirement.)  I wanted to be a number cruncher, but those jobs were scarce, and were all filled by failed sales reps.  So I set out to be a failed sales rep, a task for which I was eminently suited.  I reached the level of Failure within 6 months, due to the particular gifts I brought to the job:

  1. I take “no” for an answer.
  2. I refuse to care more about your financial future than you do.
  3. In the engineering world, if I ask you to do something (return a call) and you don’t, I have three options: talk to your manager, talk to my manager, or do it myself.  In the advisor/client relationship, you don’t have a manager, my manager can’t make you return calls, and if I could do this without you, I would.  Happily.

So I’ve been a software engineer ever since.  It’s a job I’m suited for (most of the time).  But when I get stressed out, the idea of changing jobs isn’t all that scary.  So it’s been very interesting that over the past two weeks, I’ve started getting e-mails full of new and exciting job opportunities in my area, complete with scores that reflect the quality of the match.

My work experience consists of 26 years as a software engineer, 6 months as a failed financial rep, two years at a pizza restaurant, and a summer job as a field archeologist.  So what job did they match me up with, at an astounding 93% compatibility?

Primary Care Physician.

Yes, doctor.  The man who can’t watch people put in contact lenses cause it’s icky is 93% compatible with the medical world.  This sounds reasonable to me, as the missing 7% can be broken down as follows:

  1. When offering medical advice, I take “no” for an answer. (2%)
  2. I refuse to care about your health more than you do. (2%)
  3. If you won’t consent to treatment, you don’t have a manager, my manager can’t make you, and if I could be a doctor without you, I would. (2%)
  4. The whole squeamishness thing.  (1%)

I never knew my employment options were so open!  Some of the other career highlights:

  • While I am 93% compatible with being a Primary Care Physician, I am only 86% compatible with being a Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care.  Apparently I am 7% less qualified to listen to a doctor than to be one.
  • Maybe I need a little training, since I am only 22% qualified to be a Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Billing.
  • But then again, I’m also 22% qualified to be an Air Force Dentist!  I wonder if it’s the same 22%.
  • I’m also 22% compatible with the job of part time Health Fitness Specialist.  Given my level of health and fitness, this one I believe, but it does make me question the quality of dentistry in our Armed Forces.
  • I’m 38% qualified to be a Physician Assistant Nocturnist.  In medicine, “nocturnist” is the modern, non-judgmental term applied to either non-sparkly vampires or what used to be called “graverobbers”.  Not sure which one applies in this context.
  • I’m 27% compatible with the job of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Travel Nurse.  I would have thought that ICUs were fairly stationary, given all the sick people.
  • One employer has an immediate need for a “Locum Tenens” for a Geriatric Practice (22%).  This is one of those pre-Vatican II geriatric practices where they still speak Latin, I guess.
  • Also clocking in at the 22% level is Radiation Oncologist.  I hope they find someone with a higher score for that position.  I’m not looking forward to having the area overrun by rampaging Hulks because someone had the gamma camera set too high.

See?  A world of opportunities!  I’m inspired by a friend’s young child who, when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, said “A fire truck!”

Sadly, he was only 46% compatible.

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