21 May 2007

Notes from a long weekend

Borrowing from TWM... a few notes that came to me while (finally) relaxing for a long weekend.

  • Shrek 3 is the funniest of the Shrek movies and it deserves kudos for not becoming a 120+ minute epic. Bonus great preview: Ratatouille.
  • Spiderman 3 had a few thrilling moments, but they were so diluted by the marathon length of the film that ultimately its not worth the $12. If you must, Netflix it.
  • A friend of mine was brutally attacked by a classmate last week. You just don't think these things happen to the people you know... but then it does. Get well L____.
  • I went to three brain autopsies last week - very cool. I may have to turn this into a full post once I look up some more about kernicterus.
  • I saw Atul Gwande speak last Tuesday. He is a charismatic man who writes medical stories with the same flair Levitt and Dubner brought to economics. If you need a good book, I highly recommend Complications or Better.
  • Grey's Anatomy, much to my dismay, has become the Desperate Housewives of medicine. Remember when they had patients? Remember when there was actually some medicine on the show? On the other hand, I am loving Stanley Tucci on ER.
  • Ben & Jerry's recently updated their flavours. I am happy to report strawberry cheesecake is alive and well and I am quite enjoying the new Willie Nelson's peach cobbler.

20 May 2007

Hear me roar

Fortune has an article in it's current issue describing the entrance of Gen-Y into the post-collegiate working world. Apparently we are the most demanding, least loyal, most connected, least apologetic generation to date. That sounds about right.

I am a prototypical Gen-Yer. I left my cushy banking job for exactly the reasons this article outlines: I did not have a sense my career was moving anywhere. I did not feel like I was doing any meaningful work. I had no real responsibility. In fact, I had more responsibility running the job fair for my university than I had at work; why would anyone stay at a job that feels like a demotion?

We did have international training exercises, which were a good idea: we networked with other young hires at the bank and got a sense of the global business. Our mentors on these exercises were upper management (again, good idea). But there was no follow-through. We would perform well, get fantastic feedback, and go back to 60 hour weeks pushing F10 and occasionally F12.

I was willing and ready to work 80 hour weeks and solve real problems. Hard work and little work-life balance were fine with me if I had a sense I was invested in my job, if I felt like I was needed and making a contribution. I wrote a strategy paper on how to make our entire North American derivatives business client focused and the comment I received back was: it's 200 words too long. In true Gen-Y style I cut 203 words from one section and replaced them with "see Appendix C". Then I quit.

If I'm going to "do my time" I'm at least going to do it somewhere I can make a difference. I am training to become a physician and during my internship and residency, my "slog", I will at least be making a contribution to the health of the people I meet. It may be a smaller scale than global finance, but it's also a more meaningful one.

I expect great things of myself. Call it hubris, but I find it insulting if you expect less of me than I do. I do not accept that I should work at less than my full capacity because I am young. Age should not determine responsibility; ability should. I am superwoman.

And apparently there are 79.8 million of me.

02 May 2007

Where are you from?

I have always found this to be a particularly difficult question. And I always thought this made me weird. Nationality, or a defining point of origin, is central to our way of identifying ourselves and each other. But how do I answer it? I have two passports, where I was born is not where I lived the longest, my first language is not my best language and I am an immigrant to my father's country.

While browsing Wikipedia while studying for my organic chemistry final I came across something startling: I am not the only one. Ok, so that's not the surprise of the millenium, but I certainly did not think that people who had grown up in multiple cultures would be a unique sociological group. But we have a name: Third Culture Kids.