Technically, my first paid job was working the Sunday shift as a receptionist for dad. Work also doubled as driving practice because my brave father would sit next to me and provide emotional support as I cautiously eased the car out of our driveway, down the streets of our quite suburb and onwards into the 'real' traffic of Perth. I will always remember how calm dad was. He never fell into the back seat driver role and somehow, over the months, he shepherded me through my learners, backed off a bit when I got my P plates and just sits back as a passenger when he comes to visit me in Sydney. He's so calm about it all that the tunnels, congestion and toll ways that frightened me when I first started driving here barely register on his consciousness.
I look back and wonder whether it should actually have been dad's paid job to take me driving and that I should have paid him by working for free.
We have these names for each stage of training we do and also our degrees for postgraduate qualifications. I don't think they really mean much to people outside of medicine to be honest and at the same time it would be hard to say what the equivalent of medical qualifications would be in the academic world beyond medicine. But it is what it is and sorry for the essay, I hope it adds context. The long and the short of it is that I began my career as an intern at a large hospital in Perth. If you're a Perthie, you'll recognise it from the photo above.
I really enjoyed my intern year. Yes it was daunting, exhausting and hectic but it was always interesting and even funny at times. I worked with a wide range of people from all walks of life and because we had shared goals in terms of patient care, all getting through the day sane and alive as well as trying our best to comply with whatever targets the hospital management had for us - our differences brought us together. Our different personalities brought humour to the hard times. Our different backgrounds gave us empathy for our patients who may have otherwise not trusted 'the system' if someone 'who was one of them' hadn't taken the time to explain things to them or to hear their side of the story. And then there were our numerous ward parties where all kinds of food would appear for lunch or just because for morning tea on a Friday morning.
Because we all tend to be in each others' pockets during the working day (none of this individual desk business for us), we also tend to get to know each other pretty well even if we're only working for short periods of time together. I still bump into people I've worked with from years back and we still remember each other.
But do you now what the best thing was about the joys of my first year of work is? It's that all of the above hasn't changed a bit in all the years that have passed. I've moved states, passed exams, finished training, landed 'proper' jobs, worked said 'proper' jobs whilst pregnant and then as a mother yet each day is still full of those same people, situations and lately - good coffee, we never really had good coffee back in Perth in the good old days.
Yet it never gets boring. It keeps me going instead.