Thoughts of an (Almost) medical writer: Volume 3!
The final countdown
One of my friends and her mum always says “what is for you, won’t go by you” and after this year, I whole-heartedly agree with this statement. Everything happens for a reason and that is something I kept telling myself during the summer after receiving rejection after rejection for roles which now I realise I was not that interested in or suitable for. Although I am not sure that I really believed it when I reminded myself that “what is for me wouldn’t go by me”, in the end, it was true, and everything really does happen for a reason.
A winding path to medical writing
I have never been a person that has had a clear career goal or life plan and that is part of the reason why I took a year out before university, to figure out what I wanted to study, and this is probably part of the reason I received so many rejections over the summer; I was applying for every role that I could find that would somewhat use my degree, but without much thought to whether I would actually like to do that job. I seemed to be applying for many medical sales roles because I thought that with my previous hospitality experience this would be something I could easily adapt to whilst using my degree. I was also applying for a spattering of laboratory and clinical research roles, which I attempted to convince myself I was interested in, but in reality, after my placement experience, I knew it was not something I would really enjoy. In the end, I found myself applying for more writing-orientated roles which through the process of researching jobs and progressing through applications I realised was something I was genuinely interested in doing. Earlier in the year, I had already applied for journalism roles because I knew I enjoyed writing, but I just did not yet know that medical writing was a career which would enable me to use both my degree and my writing skills.
Everything in life is a lesson
However, I am glad that I went through the process of applying for all those other jobs that I was less interested in because I learnt a lot about myself. I re-evaluated my strengths and weaknesses, and whilst preparing for competency-based interviews, I really thought hard about what transferable skills I had learned so far in hospitality that I could apply to any role. Additionally, the process of applying for different roles and writing a range of cover letters meant that I was constantly tweaking my CV to truly showcase the skills I felt were relevant for the role I was then applying for. This meant that by the end of the process my CV had been condensed to show off 3 times more skills and experience than I initially started with and was something my boss, Bilal Bham, has since told me caught his eye. My CV was 2 pages long and (relatively) consistently formatted; I have since reviewed it and can already spot minor errors that I would change. But, at the time it was enough to show that I can condense a lot of information into an easy-to-read format and showed off my writing style. If it were not for that process in the summer, I would not be here now because I would not have spent so much time refining my CV.
What is for you, really will not go by you
I also would not have had this internship if I had not been so frustrated by a medical writing company not offering feedback following a writing task. After that, I decided to take matters into my own hands and ask for some experience to understand why I was not getting to the next stage. I had spent the best part of a week (on and off between working) on a writing task for a company which in the end I felt pretty happy with. Obviously now I realise the formatting was probably wrong and I should have used a non-breaking space somewhere crucial, but I will never know if that was the reason why I did not get any further because the company refused to give me feedback at this stage. I also followed up with an email asking if they would be interested in taking me on as an unpaid intern to allow me to gain some experience and understand what I should have done in the test. But they also refused that. All in all, they do not sound like a company I would have liked to work for, and I am glad this all happened because it led me to reach out to Bilal at Bham Pharma, a much more supportive company focused on personal growth and development as much as developing writing skills.
The end of the road and the start of another
Now, here I am at the end of my 3-month internship. But my journey is not over. I have been offered a junior writing position at Bham Pharma which I have obviously accepted, and I cannot wait for what 2021 will bring! I will be forever thankful to my amazing team here for welcoming me in with open arms and valuing my opinion even though I was only an ‘intern’. I have learnt a lot in these 3 months, and I have been pushed on numerous and various live projects. My brain has often felt like it is going to explode (in a good way!) and I am so thankful to be being part of this team in the new year. Truly, what is for you will not go by you. So, if you are reading this feeling rather fed up, have a think about what unexpected lessons you have learned and what positives you can take from the negatives. This year has been unexpectedly and exceptionally difficult for all of us in many ways, and it is easy to become hung up on all the ambitions we had for 2020 but did not achieve because of COVID-19; however, do have a think about what else you achieved instead. What is for you may be just around the corner and when the opportunity arises, take it, and show them what you have got.
I hope everyone has a lovely (and safe) Christmas despite everything, and I look forward to seeing you on the other side, in 2021, as a Junior Medical Writer!