Taking a circuitous route across many cities and countries before finally reaching a specialised unit in an academic institution is fun. I received two warnings as soon as I made this my permanent plan:
- You need to do a three year DM course and pass exams to stay employed
- You need publications to work your way up from registrar to assistant professor to associate professor and finally professor.
The first warning was not too difficult to negate – without NEET in those years, it was an uneventful in-and-out-in-three-years trip, thanks to a God who cares, a family who understands and colleagues who taught me so much.
The second warning brought fear and trembling to me and my team. Two main reasons contributed to this phenomenon.
- The Pub4Stats3#IRB6.9 region in my brain has been congenitally absent. I don’t have an MRI to prove it, but I know it. To visualise this defect, all you need to do is ask me how many publications I have and then look me in the eye. My pupils will dilate, my jaw will drop and you can see this congenital defect through these windows. These defects are easier to see as the above query will light up the fear and oopsy centers of the brain which are hyperstimulated by the said query. Many have tried to fill this defect, but have faced the same degree of success as filling a bottomless bucket.
- A lack of motivation is the bigger force. All I get at the end of multiple publications is a fancy title added to my name. It’s just a word, and maybe a little more salary. To a person for whom power, position and money don’t matter (that much), the congenital defect is a boon. I’m happy to retire without a title, drive a smaller car and eat out less. The kids better get in on merit quotas – they are lovely and will soon understand it when they have no other options. ” Publish Or Perish,” did not scare me. “Perish” was my instant option in the blink of an eye.
So year after year, I received a million motivational speeches that just sank into that bottomless defect. Five minutes of pandemonium a year, when promotion meetings were due, was a small price to pay for the eternal joy set before me.
Let’s take a closer look. (Next slide please).
This was the prescribed path to academic nirvana and profesorhood using publications.
I looked at the flow chart with a 360 degree perspective by turning it around many times, but it failed to stimulate the non-existent area in my brain or motivate my heart, mind, soul – just the occasional stimulation of my kidneys which fear can do.
However life has a knack of covering defects and throwing up motivation in ways that transcend educated minds who create paths to nirvana. Friends and colleagues pitched in, God changed the rules, family pushed a lot and I slowly stuttered my way up closer to nirvana with a puzzled look on my face. As I reaped the benefits of this uplifting climb, I realised that the benefits were hidden and not merely a name or a title. There was more than just power, position or money waiting at every step. They never taught this in medical school and no-one mentions it. It is a closely guarded secret that is kept encrypted as those who experience it will never share this joyful secret. And this little secret can motivate anyone to push hard and get the publications done.
So here is my simplified path that will hopefully motivate you (if you are in the same boat as me) from an alternate viewpoint. This is strictly confidential and applicable only if you are in CMC or similar institutions.
Ahem… there you go! It’s not a journey of titles but a journey of toilets as you move from E grade accommodation to D, C, B and finally an A grade home. This the secret that continues to motivate me as pandemonium and queues line up outside the single bathroom/toilet and screams of “How long will it take” and “It’s coming! I can’t hold it” pierce the morning air between 7 am and 8 am. The only solution to this stressful problem is publications. Our wise forefathers coined the mantra ” Publish Or Perish” only for this – and all these years we have misinterpreted it and caused many people to kill their academic institution dreams.
May this article motivate you to publish and stay where your heart asks you to stay, shower when you feel like and push
out on as and when necessary. May it reduce queues and cause a lifetime of peaceful mornings.
You don’t need to thank me… no, not even later. Just pass on this wisdom and help make the medical world a better place to work in.