Go Fish

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I didn’t get the postdoc I really wanted at a hospital and now I’m scrambling for other opportunities in the area. I really don’t want to relocate but I’m worried about not finding something to complete my supervised hours to sit for the licensing exam. I’ve reached out to all the hospitals in the area but it seems that most positions are already filled and at this point I’m not sure what else to do.

-Fishingforabreak

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To Give or Not (to have any more) to Give

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I’ve been working with a patient in what was supposed to be short-term therapy but was extended repeatedly due to various and unforeseen circumstances. It’s time, however, to revisit termination and I’m feeling very guilty about abandoning her. Well actually, my emotions are mixed – I know that my patient feels I’m giving up on her, but I see it differently. I made it known that our work together would be time-limited from the beginning and I honestly don’t know if I have anything more to give to her. I am emotionally exhausted and psychologically at a loss for how to further the treatment, and I think transferring her to someone more specialized and who can provide long-term care is necessary and warranted. The end is in sight, which I’m glad about, but I’m also worried that she won’t follow up with the next provider and am simultaneously flooded with self-doubt and relief at the prospect of ending our work together. I feel that transferring her care really is best, but any advice you have would be appreciated.

-Compassionfatigued

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So You Want a Doctorate in Psychology

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I graduated last year and about half way through my postdoc. While I enjoy the work and my patients, I have this chronic annoyance with not being referred to as Doctor. I graduated, working hard for my degree, and although I introduce myself as Dr……, many staff still refer to me by my first name which I think influences patients to do the same. I’ve noticed, however, that MDs are never called by their first name, and the fact that psychologist aren’t given the same consideration feels dismissive and invalidating for what it took to get to where I am. To further complicate matters, none of the other psychologists here go by ‘doctor’ (I don’t know why) so I feel that if I insist or continue to introduce myself as such I’m being elitist. I’m loath to be thought of as self-righteous and I understand how going by a first-name basis allows for a more personal dynamic, but I’m not comfortable with patients calling me by my first name or being too familiar with me. I want to be recognized by the title I earned. Is that so wrong?

-DrGraduate

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A Dear in Job-Hunting Lights

Dear Inadequate Graduate.

I’m finishing my postdoc and in the thick of job hunting. While I feel like I’ve waited forever to get to this point, in a nutshell, it sucks. I’ve interviewed a few times but don’t have any job offers as of yet, and I’m getting worried about being employed by the end of my residency. I have rent and student loans to pay, so I can’t afford go without income for very long. Ideally I’d like to work in a hospital but I have a good amount of experience in substance abuse, personality disorders, and health psychology which I feel should translate to a wide variety settings. Yet, the lack of prospective job opportunities is really frustrating and I’m starting to get discouraged. To make matters worse, many of my colleagues from graduate school, who are now spread all over the USA, are boasting about their exciting and high paying job opportunities.

Is there anything you can suggest to help me in the job hunt?

-OverIt

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When It’s Time to Refuel

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I work primarily with disadvantaged and low-income individuals, which at times feels rewarding, but lately has felt draining due to the endless obstacles these individuals face. I believe in and am dedicated to this population, but over the last six months  I can’t help but feel like what’s the point? It seems like each small step towards progress is overshadowed by several more barriers, and sometimes I think that what I do doesn’t actually matter and that nothing is going to get better. I’m trying to keep a positive attitude but given what my patients face, its no wonder they feel hopeless.  I can’t blame them for not feeling like things aren’t going to get better because I don’t right now, either.

How do I get back the enthusiasm I once had for this work?

-BurningOut

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#Newbieproblems

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I’m planning to attend graduate school this fall, but having a hard time deciding between programs. I was accepted to a school in my home state which is where I would eventually like to practice, but it is not as prestigious as a school that is half-way across the country that also interest me. My question is this: Should go to a doctorate program in the state where I eventually want to become licensed or should I go to a more reputable program?

-GradSchoolNewbie

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When Enough is Enough

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I’ve really been enjoying my work with patients, but noticed that many of them are declining throughout the holiday season. It breaks my heart to see so many people struggling to have their basic needs met, and a few in particular feel incredibly isolated from loved ones. I do the best I can to listen attentively and connect them with social supports in the area, but I never feel like it’s enough. I wish I could do more like give them money or food or even a ride somewhere, but I know this would be overstepping boundaries. On top of everything, the holidays are hard for me, too, and what is usually fulfilling work has left me feeling pretty sad and guilty most days. I feel like there is only so much that I have to give, but how do you know when what you’re doing is enough?

-HolidayBlues

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