Simone’s OncOpinion

Career development observations and advice for medical professionals from Dr. Joseph V. Simone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Struggles for Relevance

As I was looking over my list of columns recently I was struck by a common theme among several recent columns that was not intentional--at least I don’t think so. It could be due to the more persistent, often subconscious, existential thoughts that often come with aging. What follows are the titles of several columns written in the past year, along with very brief descriptions of the contents:


“‘Worldly Wise’ or ‘World Weary'” describes how adversity in our careers and lives can provide valuable lessons about life.


“Adapting to Aging” deals with the increasing and inevitable limitation of movement, skills, and horizons that aging brings, eventually testing all of us to a greater or lesser degree.


“A Front Row Seat” makes the point that while we age, our lives are enriched by the ever-growing experiences with family, colleagues, and strangers that make up our whole being -- and that ever- broadening view of life and increasing wisdom (one hopes) give us a wonderful front row seat in life.


“A Decade of Change… or Not” says that change is inevitable, but that some things -- professional as well as personal -- change little or not at all over a decade or more.


“Dealing with Deflated Social Status” addresses the loss of social stature when one limits work or steps down from a leadership role.


You can make your own assessment of the relationship of these ideas, but for me these and a few older columns describe for me the often quiet or unrecognized struggle that we endure in an attempt to remain relevant in life. We make the best of adversity; we deal with aging by changing our habits and adapting to one’s limitations; we tend to have a much broader and tolerant view of change, or the lack of change that we worked hard for, unsuccessfully.


And, finally, we accept the fact that in time, we no longer have the hard-won prestige we once worked for, but are mollified by the satisfaction of a successful career and personal life that reflect our more limited, but continuing relevance, to many.