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Developments at MECMC (and Elsewhere!).

3 May 2013

Today I meet with my boss and her co-director, their boss, and her boss (the CMO). I am giving a short presentation on the state of simulation efforts at MECMC , and then we’re all going to discuss how to move forward. Yesterday in prep I was talking to my boss’s co-director (who I will often also just refer to as “my boss”), and he told me that he wanted to see MECMC really invest in my work, develop a department for long-range efforts, build a bridge between research and quality improvement and have me direct the whole thing.

Um. How did I get here? Now, that’s still just a guy spitballing with me in his office. But the CMO seems to have a similarly ambitious vision for my ideas and industry. I’ll tell you more when I know more. But it is decidedly exciting that people with authority at one of America’s finest medical institutions are interested in developing my skills and putting me in leadership positions. That they want to explore a new direction, take risks, and invest in me. And it’s terrifying.

My path from lazy drunk to valuable asset has been blindingly fast, dazzlingly blurred. And unremarkable. In the sense that I have seen it happen so many times, for so many drunks who get sober. We rise fast through professional ranks, as a rule, because we are have a sense of urgency about our work. Employment becomes a source of serious gratitude. Having a job and being able to be self-sufficient and contribute feels like an incredible privilege after years in sloth and uselessness.

Of course, not everything I do works out. And I don’t always do a great job. I just got a brutal review from PLoS One on my recent manuscript. They complain that my simulated cohort is unclear and that they therefore can’t evaluate the appropriateness of my methods. And that’s probably true. I rushed the paper because I wanted to finish it before leaving my last position and really it needs to cite another paper that’s still under review itself. I shouldn’t have submitted it until the other one was accepted and could be cited. It’ll clarify everything. But I’ll still need to rewrite the second.

And the R03eq that was funded looks like – after months of drama – it can be accepted. I had the conflict of interest discussion with my bosses, and they agree that as long as I don’t use MECMC time and resources, it’s fine for me to work on the grant. Which is an exciting prospect, and will be a very cool project. And it’ll involve me having an excuse to buy a piece of software that I really want. And my colleague is the kind of guy who can build amazingly interesting papers out of small projects, so I’m excited to finally be able to collaborate with him.

So, time to go prepare for my presentation. While I’ve been writing this, a new colleague, in her third week with MECMC, has been complaining to another colleague that we’re not doing things “the right way”, by which she means the way she thinks people should do things. She’s nice and competent and might be right that in this case, her way is better. But I am unbelievably grateful that I no longer have to think that my perspective is the only perspective. I no longer have to think that people need to do things my way or the wrong way. I’m so grateful I don’t need to have people adhere to my vision in order to feel useful.

I have such a wonderful life, today. Because of my sobriety, I am open to so many things. And free from so many things. I am alive.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 3 May 2013 08:14

    Yay! I’m so glad that things are going well for you.

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