By Marieta Franklin
ST7 Specialist Registrar, Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery, Mersey Deanery
'If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything'
I recently received some advice that I needed to hear – ‘don’t overthink it, you can do absolutely anything you want’. As I drove home after that operating list I was struck by how over the years a steer from respected individuals has proved so useful – bolstering me to take a leap. I’m someone who finds the fact that I’m an actual grown up with a career and four children rather laughable – I still really like climbing trees, throwing a ball around and in my head I’m about 21 years old. Up until recently I would have been surprised that what I had to say on careers and life in general would have been of interest to more than a few. Sitting in traffic I realised my attitude has changed – I now accept I have something to offer, all to be taken with a pinch of salt of course and in the full knowledge I am not perfect!
I have got a few things under my belt that are a little unusual for an orthopaedic registrar that I’ll share by way of adding credibility to what comes next – I’m a woman in orthopaedics who had a three and one-year old at the time I got my number and then a third child before going Less Than Full Time and have since had a fourth. I recently passed the FRCS (Orth) with them in tow, including a two-year old who doesn’t sleep through – I’m fortunate enough to have a significantly helpful husband.
Slightly unsure how to start this piece on ‘advice to a younger me’ I’ve retreated to familiar territory, I’m sat at my desk on a non-resident on call with one eye on the hospital referrals board, one ear listening to kids playing in the room next door and doing what I do whenever I have to jump into something out of my comfort zone – I’m writing a list. One I suppose I’ve been adding to for many years but have hitherto not written down, and one that will continue to grow as the years tick by. For the 'Back to Future' fans out there I imagine that this is the kind of thing I’d write on the back of an envelope and hastily stuff into my sticky eight-year old hand before jumping back in my DeLorean. A list of rules that can be applied to any part of your life. I hope it proves food for thought for you all.
- Follow your nose – actively look for opportunities that will help you achieve whatever you wish, and life will lead you in a good direction.
- Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Just like Marty McFly only needing to be called ‘chicken’ in order to be goaded into do something, tell me I can’t do something and it's like a red rag to a bull – but I’ve come to realise I don’t always have to do something just to prove I can.
- Work hard, play hard and find the fun in things and life will be all good.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously and you’ll be able learn something from everyone you meet.
- Be a team player – life is a team sport – surround yourself with good people in your corner. People you support and encourage, and who do the same for you.
- Decide what things fundamentally make you happy and actively do them – for me it’s being of use, helping out, pulling my weight in a team, being outside, doing a variety of things to keep me busy, and having a laugh on the way.
- Don’t overthink. The things you don’t do in life are the things that you’ll regret most – within reason!
- Be organised – it can let you squeeze more out of life as you’ll be able to juggle more things competently.
- Be reliable – if you say you’ll do something, do it.
- Always have a life plan, it can change as you go along but have one nonetheless.
- Don’t work too hard – wise words from my Great Grandmother – if you’re enjoying what you’re doing, it isn’t ever going to feel like too much.
- Never eat yellow snow!