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Off hand comment by stranger

180 replies

LiJo2015 · 21/04/2021 10:06

Ill keep it short. I met a friend yesterday for coffee. As i was stood there with my 8 month old in a sling jigging her to sleep, another mum with a baby in a sling came to sit down, with i presume her mum and dad. I said hello and acknowledged her baby in the sling - we talked a little and her mum commented about her daughter (the mum with a baby in the sling) was a doctor at the local hospital. As an ex-trainee doc myself i asked which med school she went too. I then responded i was no longer training. Her mum commented what a waste of tax payers money.... it is this last comment that stuck with me and has upset me and made me angry.

Leaving medicine was one of the hardest decisions i have ever had to make and the decision was forced really owing to a complete lack of empathy and support from the medical school owing to ongoing mental health difficulties i was facing. All 'support systems' they put in place only made matters worse for me. In my penultimate year, i pulled the plug.

So aibu and just overthinking this off-hand comment or was this stranger just thoughtless? Or both perhaps?

OP posts:

Wurrg · 21/04/2021 10:08

She was a dick. A total dick. Pity her that she needs to make wanky comments to strangers to make herself feel better.


BlackCatShadow · 21/04/2021 10:08

It’s not a very kind thing to say to someone, so I totally understand why you were upset. It’s none of her business though.


PinkCookie11 · 21/04/2021 10:10

She’s a bag of shit


FlibbertyGiblets · 21/04/2021 10:10



Roszie · 21/04/2021 10:10

It's very unkind but she doesn't know your circumstances. On the face of it it might look like a waste.

Don't tell randoms anything. Just be polite and tell them nothing.


Mumoftwoinprimary · 21/04/2021 10:14

It is a shame and it is a waste of tax payers money that we have now lost someone who could have been a really good doctor because the system does not support the health of medics.

It does make me cross - not at you but at the system. It should have been better, it should have been better for you.


bellinisurge · 21/04/2021 10:15

"Waste of tax payers' money" said by someone who probably doesn't realise we pay tuition fees for higher education in this country.


RealisticSketch · 21/04/2021 10:15

Don't let it get under your skin, her comment had an air of finality of judgement, but was based on one tiny piece of information so as an opinion was worthless. Lett the breeze waft that one away.
The fact it has you nettled is a symptom that you haven't quite made peace with your path just yet, which is understandable as it was clearly a big deal and a departure from the trajectory you were on. Time will be all it needs to get to the point where your new future is where you have your heart and a comment like that would cause a stifled wry smile instead of angst.
Chin up op, you're fine, she was thoughtless.


Winniewonka · 21/04/2021 10:20

She was showing off about her daughter for starters. Why do random strangers need to know your daughter's profession unless they ask and that can seem intrusive too.
It's too late for a retort but what does she think student loans cover? A decade ago my son's friend trained to be a doctor and his student loan debt was over 40K.


Secondsop · 21/04/2021 10:20

It’s very unkind of her. I’m so sorry that she felt fit to say it to you! If you can, try to put it out of your mind - she had absolutely no reason to comment on your life choices at all , let alone say something so mean. And FWIW you don’t need to feel you must show a “good” justifiable reason for stopping training - it’s your choice and one you’re entitled to make - and you certainly shouldn’t be made to feel that you owed it to tax payers to carry on. Hope you are feeling better about it today Flowers


LiJo2015 · 21/04/2021 10:29

Thankyou for your kind replies.

I left in 2016. I have just started to retrain as a psychotherapist. I know this is better for for my personality and skill base whilst also providing a flexible work-life balance and autonomy in my work. I lost my mum when i was 2 and part of me desperately wants to be the one caring for my kids - especially my now daughter.

Its interesting that someone posted about not telling people private info - this i think is good advice. But i know i am compelled to tell people what i used to do as i know my sense of self worth and identity was so tightly wound up in becoming a doctor. I do still have a strong sense that i failed. I know in everyday conversation where something like this comes up part of me just tells my story as in a natural exchange but also in a way to feel that little bit worthy? Does that make sense?

OP posts:

LiJo2015 · 21/04/2021 10:31

Twice ive tried to reproach the med school on legal grounds because of what happened, which was so unjust. But im outside the time remit. Instead im left with the peices and ironically the debt of my training which came to nothing.

OP posts:

bloodyhell19 · 21/04/2021 10:34

She's thoughtless & nasty & I'd say her daughter nearly died on the spot with mortification. Probably one of those types that literally opens every conversation with "my daughter's a doctor you know..." I don't blame you for still thinking about it but just don't let it get under your skin OP.


MiddleParking · 21/04/2021 10:34

It sounds like she was trying to brag about her doctor daughter, was annoyed that you took the wind out of her sails by also being a doctor, and tried to knock you down a peg or two. Cow. Give it no heed.


notalwaysalondoner · 21/04/2021 10:36

That is incredibly harsh to say to a stranger.

Having said that, I find it astonishing that UK medical and especially dentistry students are not required to work in the nhs for a certain number of years before going private or emigrating, considering how much lower their fees are than the actual cost of their training. Dentists especially get so subsidised compared to the actual costs of their training then merrily go straight into private practice without giving anything back. But she knows nothing of your personal circumstances.


notalwaysalondoner · 21/04/2021 10:37

I also have many colleagues who are former doctors (management consulting). I must admit it is hard not to judge them for walking away, but it’s a career like any other and won’t suit everyone.


SnowyPetals · 21/04/2021 10:38

I think you have to let go of comments made by strangers who don't know the full story. She is allowed to think that spending public money on people who drop out of a course is wasteful, she is allowed to express that, but you are under no obligation to care about her opinion.


BlueLobelia · 21/04/2021 10:39

She is also indirectly telling her daughter she will be ashamed of her if she gives up being a doctor for whatever reason. That might have been her subconscious aim, particularly if the daughter is having issues around juggling her new baby and job.


LiJo2015 · 21/04/2021 10:39

There was a definate air of 'my daughters a doctor dont you know' - which does wind me up as i know what type of people are being trained and how completely reductionist the medical model is.

OP posts:

Amrapaali · 21/04/2021 10:39

Jeez the breath-taking rudeness of even thinking this, much less articulating out loud to a person!! Shock

I assumed these people inhabited the BTL section of the Mail or the Daily Telegraph. But to see one out in the wild...

Sorry you had to be on the receiving end of this OP. We can gently coax you to forget about this. But it is one of those comments that will rankle and make you feel bad at random moments. I've had a couple like this and can never shake them off. Hope you find peace and good luck in your training Star


BlueLobelia · 21/04/2021 10:40


She's thoughtless & nasty & I'd say her daughter nearly died on the spot with mortification. Probably one of those types that literally opens every conversation with "my daughter's a doctor you know..." I don't blame you for still thinking about it but just don't let it get under your skin OP.

My neighbour's like that. Constant bragging about his son the doctor. The other son who works in afactory gets never a mention, which makes me feel really sad for him.

sanfranfibber · 21/04/2021 10:40

Well she's right. It is a waste of tax payers money (the pp who said about paying for tuition fees might want to do more research).

But none of that makes it your fault. And tax payers money is wasted in far more ridiculous amounts and ways than this.


Amrapaali · 21/04/2021 10:41

If this woman's thought process is anything like what @BlueLobelia mentioned, I am doubly mortified!!


LiJo2015 · 21/04/2021 10:43

'It is a waste of tax payers money' this comment puts the blame on the trainee and not the trainer. Docs have one of the highest rates of mental health issues, addictions, burn out, relationship breakups - there is a very good reason for this and it is not the doctor themselves.

OP posts:

Vickles20 · 21/04/2021 10:44

It’s like a cycle isn’t it. It’s the inadequacy. Maybe she feels inadequate herself (the older mum) and she parades her dr daughter because of it. She came to not a lot. But her daughter is!
Can i just say.. this is not my personal belief. But just what I think about this awful woman
I list my mother young too OP. I understand x

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