• Finishing a marathon – you stop, grab a water bottle, drink some and pour the rest over your head. And only then, when you have stopped, looked back, and thought about the start of the race, do you see the incredible effort it took.
• A death in the family, especially if an injury, accident, or illness forces you to stop practicing (mine is a long sad story that happened almost 20 years ago and I would rather not reveal, review, or relive that, at least right now). For many patients, losing their doctor is like losing a member of the family.
• Being in recovery…and there are at least 12 steps to this sobering experience.
I am Maida Taylor and I am entirely new to blogging. After doing general obstetrics and gynecology in San Francisco for over 20 years, I gave up practice and became a “capitalist tool”… in the employ of the pharmaceutical industrial complex. Forgive the hyperbole, but working in pharma is nothing like medicine.
Yes, the focus is the same (fighting disease and treating illness), but going from being a solo practitioner to being a small square on a huge organizational chart can be quite a shock to the system. You are now part of a collective and, in big pharma, a very big, complex collective. That is “collective” like the Borg, not like a farm in Soviet Russia. In pharma, every decision, all knowledge, and most responsibility are shared. Your work product reflects on your supervisor and your team’s output reflects on you. In the OR, I was czarina; in pharma I was a serf (though one with very special skills and experiences, but a worker nonetheless). Please excuse all the European Middle Ages metaphors as I have a BS in biology and Russian.
How did I make the transition? I did it cautiously and, though I had already stopped doing obstetrics and surgeries, I kept my office open part time for a few years to slowly wean my patients away. I did CME and drug company sponsored lectures, wrote review articles and other papers. This “paper trail” became an asset, evidence of my analytical, organizational, and writing skills, meager as they were. But these skills are prized and necessary for working effectively in pharma.
In 1999, I was approached by a group preparing materials for the launch of a new drug. They hired me to work 25% time on promotional materials, patient newsletters, instructional pamphlets, and advertisements. Not long after that, I was recruited for a full time field based position as a Medical Advisor at Eli Lilly and Company. Three years later, in 2004, I joined Novo Nordisk as Clinical Director of Women’s Health for the US. More recently, I have worked as a consultant.
Some topics I would like to cover include how PowerPoint is like an eating disorder, how to work with marketing and sales without having a hemorrhagic stroke, why the FDA is always wrong, and lots of other fun topics. Having worked in academia, private practice, and industry, I have opinions on everything! Let’s rant, rave, and rap about it all.