I’ve had a great time not getting my first choice.

As I look back over the years

At my life and my many careers,

     I missed my first choice,

     Which brings a smile to my voice,

And puts away most of my fears.


Today I got a call from a recruiter who had spoken with me last in October.  He’d gotten close to getting me what looked like a really interesting assignment for the month of December, but it fell through at the last minute.  Thirty-six disappointment-filled hours later another recruiter called me and offered me a job in Keosauqua.

That particular recruiter showed me a level of professionalism I hadn’t experienced in the locums industry.

I took that position in southeast Iowa, and I’m glad I did.  I don’t think people get any friendlier than the folks in Van Buren County, and I don’t think the deer hunting could be any better, even in Alaska. 

I’ve had great experiences not getting my first choice.

Leaving high school I applied to Harvard and Yale, and of course I hoped I’d get into Harvard.  But I had a terrific time at Yale, and I learned a lot about human communication that I wouldn’t have learned at Harvard.

When I lost my job as a disc jockey I decided I wanted something with more stability.

As a medical school applicant my overall picture was so unusual that I was accepted at Michigan State, I got on the waiting list at Harvard, and my state medical school, University of Colorado, didn’t even encourage me to reapply.  Michigan State’s humanistic approach suited me far better than Harvard’s research-oriented curriculum.

I had wanted to do my residency in Greely, but I failed to match there.  Instead I went to Casper, Wyoming, where I met my wife, Bethany.

When Bethany and I decided to leave New Mexico, we listed the Indian Health Service facilities in Santa Fe, Taos, and Durango higher on our list of preferences than the one in Winnebago, Nebraska.  But the other places either filled their vacancies without us or decided they didn’t have vacancies, and we came to Sioux City and settled in.  We kept quoting the movie, Field of Dreams, “Is this paradise?  No, it’s Iowa.”

One year I went deer hunting, and early in the season I found myself ten yards from a doe.  I pulled the trigger seven times and the rifle failed to discharge, till the doe got bored and fed off into the bushes.  I pointed the rifle at the ground and pulled the trigger; it went off just fine.  Later that season I shot the biggest (and, coincidentally, the most delicious) whitetail buck of my career.

When I planned this year of career transition, I had originally wanted to do a palindromic reiteration of the steps that brought me here:  Michigan, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Nebraska.  Step by step, each one of those plans evaporated.  Eventually I found myself on the way to Barrow, Alaska, and if you read my posts from June and July, you can see how happy that turned out.

When a plan falls through now, I take it in stride, and figure that whatever happens instead, I’m going to like it more.


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