Abandoning the Work I Hated

Link to “Abandoning the Work I Hated” by Robert Markowitz: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/20/abandoning-the-work-i-hated/?WT.mc_id=2015-SEPTEMBER-FB-MC6-AUD_DEV-0901-0930&WT.mc_ev=click&ad-keywords=AUDDEVREMARK&_r=0

“Abandoning the Work I Hated” is the single most eye-opening personal essay I’ve ever read. Mr. Markowitz describes the intensity of his career as a young criminal lawyer along with the related physical symptoms in his body. He decides to quit his unfulfilling law career and live in Mexico for 2 years, while battling boredom and depression.

In an unexpected twist, after returning to the US, he discovers a love for entertaining children during volunteer work at a Sunday school. While browsing through wanted ads in the newspaper, he sees an ad for clown training and decides to give it a try.  Mr. Markowitz starts entertaining children at parties under the alias of “Bobo the Clown” and LOVES it! Next, a hidden passion for music is unearthed, and Mr. Markowitz starts creating and playing music for children’s events. The fulfillment of his new musical career provides motivation for him to wake up every day, a crucial element which his law career lacked.

The entire essay is inspiring to me, as I see myself in his shoes.  Mr. Markowitz admits feelings of frustration in finding a career outside of law but only being offered law jobs.  Similarly, I have had difficulty finding jobs at non-profit organizations, consulting firms, and health food stores while simultaneously receiving multiple job offers in pathology, a career in medicine I’m trying to leave behind.

I believe discovering one’s passion can be spontaneous. For most people in society, working as a clown for low wages after succeeding as a lawyer can seem bizarre, but for Mr. Markowitz, it was serendipitous. He never imagined he would become a clown; yet the event was life-changing, as it led him to pursue his dream job: children’s musical entertainment.

I am inspired by his courage and the hardships he endured to reach his happiness. He owns his struggle, as I do mine. I hope serendipity strikes me too!

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Thank You Note

This past year has been the most devastating of my life, but when I see you in this picture, I can’t help but smile. I miss you. I miss your goofy laugh. I miss your patience and unconditional kindness. I miss the joy on your face from the simple things in life. I miss the calming effect of your hugs and the depth of your knowledge. Although you were clearly an extraordinary person, you never recognized the hidden gems within yourself. (Who else can spin a basketball on the tip of his finger, whistle the tune of a song, and fix any type of computer/tech issue, all at the same time?!)

For so many years, I tried to influence you with my narrow and uptight view of what life should be. Now you have convinced me to live freely and creatively, liberated from societal expectations. Your morality and quest for authenticity have taught me to search for meaning in my life, and your inner struggles have taught me to accept support from loved ones. You have given me the courage to quit my job as a pathologist and take time off to change careers. Most importantly, you have inspired me to live with purpose and happiness. My dear brother Neil, for this final gift, I thank you.

In Loving Memory of Neil Patel (August 5th, 1987 – July 16th, 2014)

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