My name is Dr Evgenia Galinskaya. I help doctors who have career doubts to figure out what they really want and how to make it happen.
I had been someone who “always knew” I wanted to be a doctor. When I got into Cambridge to read Medicine (2002-2008), I thought my career was sorted for life. For someone who arrived to the UK at the age of 16 not speaking good English but going on to do well in A-levels at Exmouth Community College, it was a dream coming true.
I worked hard and progressed well, collecting multiple national awards and prizes along the way throughout my journey between medical school and Dermatology training (NTN).
At the same time, something just didn’t feel right. I was living the dream, but it didn’t seem to fulfil me. Externally, I was a high-performing happy doctor. The truth was I felt lonely, empty, embarrassed and guilty about having career doubts. I was not being myself.
By pursuing a career as a doctor, I knew I had committed my life to serving others without reservation. Every step of the way, I reminded myself that I had “a job to die for”, I had people who relied on me, and felt I had no right to want much else. At the same time, I just could not let go of the nagging feeling that this is not the right path.
Every day I would look around and see medical colleagues sharing with one another the struggles of their jobs. The prevailing thought was that it’s too late to change anything so best to play along and be grateful that you have a job at all. Indeed, what else would a doctor do other than practice Medicine?
Working as an A&E SHO, I did not recognise the signs of what I now know was burnout. I secretly wished something would happen to me, so that I would have a legitimate excuse not to have to go to work that made me feel miserable. Then it happened.
A deer jumped in front of my car on a motorway when I was driving to A&E for a night shift. The car was ruined, the deer was dead, but because I had only minor physical injuries – and I felt a massive responsibility for my colleagues if they were one doctor short at night – I did work that shift quietly sobbing throughout the night wondering why life was so unfair.
After that accident, I realised I had to take responsibility for my wellbeing, my fulfilment and my happiness. I no longer wanted to be a victim.
“What if Medicine didn’t have to be a career for life?”What if there were other ways “to help”, “to contribute” and “to make a difference” while being myself, respecting my values, health and wellbeing, and earning at least as much? What if there was a way to not just be employed but to feel alive?
As I started sharing these ideas with my medical friends, I heard many of them say they’d consider making career adjustments, such as changing a pattern of work or leaving Medicine, if they knew what options were available and what would be the exact steps. That was when I made a commitment to figure it out and to help other doctors find fulfilment and lead better lives. Once I made that decision, I started noticing that events, circumstances and people were appearing in my life in support of my new dream.
When a doctor has career doubts, it can be a scary, embarrassing and lonely experience. I lived through (and survived!) many challenges and stumbling blocks during my long journey of self-searching and then the big career move itself. I gave myself a word to set up an online resource that would serve as a source of hope, inspiration and practical guidance for other doctors who have career doubts but don’t know what to do next.
My biggest lesson is that there are always options (many more than you can imagine), despite what you were made to believe.
Through my experience, as well as meeting and interviewing other doctors with unconventional career paths, I’ve discovered that it IS possible “to help”, “to contribute” and “to make a difference” while being yourself, respecting your values, health and wellbeing, and earning at least as much – in Medicine or beyond.
I hold a Certified Professional Coach qualification following a year’s training with the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC London). Additionally, I am a certified NLP Practitioner. In my daily career coaching practice, I use a blend of coaching, mentoring, creativity and NLP techniques to help my clients succeed in achieving their goals.
If you have career uncertainty or doubts, it is my mission to help you figure out what you really want in life and how to make it happen.
"You really have enlightened me to new ways of thinking about my future career options. You've helped me look beyond the Consultant 'post' and think about what it is that will make me truly fulfilled in my future career."
Respiratory specialty registrar exploring options for career progression
"Many thanks for helpful advice about researching career options, including contact and recommendations between sessions. I think a number of my CMT colleagues who are uncertain how to proceed after core medical training would have really benefited from this advice."
CT2 Dr planning to take time out to work abroad