green grass 4I suspect that most professionals stumble across an in-house conversation among colleagues which debates if it is all worth it to stay with the profession.   I well remember times when my colleagues and I were clear that we had chosen and prepared for the wrong profession.  I was clear in my mind that I wanted to leave and become an academic.  I was absolutely convinced that being a professor in a college or university was a cushy job with lots of perks and few negatives.

It took a conversation with several academic friends to realize that the politics and economics of teaching at that level was not all that it was cracked up to be.  In fact, they thought I needed therapy to even consider applying for positions in post-secondary education.

The grass looked considerably greener on that side of the professional world than where I was located. Come to find out, I should have taken off my rosy-colored sunglasses before making that assumption.  They envied me the lifestyle where I was located.  Fr0m their clarifications, the grass was greener on my  side of the fence than  in other professions.   Most recently, I have had conversations with a young friend who is a doctor, and his thoughts were spelled out in the same language in a well-written article on Facebook this week.   The article was pointing out that doctors (particularly those who were general practitioners) were leaving their practices in droves.   Some were going off into specialties or management positions in healthcare, and others (hold on to your hat) were committing suicide in unbelievable numbers.

The culprit in medicine turns out to be governmental regulation and economics.   The people I talked with were not at all excited about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and felt that it was putting new pressures and economic constraints on doctors.   Some say that they felt like janitors in their profession, although they believed that janitors had the advantages of unionization and less supervision from on high. *

The problem with general practice is that the insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid) do not pay physicians enough to cover their malpractice insurance, benefits and salary of employees, and the cost of equipment and technology required to carry on their practices.  The answers for them are:

  • increase the number of clients to quantities that are problematic (do you want to talk about wait time in the waiting room?)
  • decrease the minutes that you get to see a patient (the norm for most is 12 minutes)
  • find time to do all the paperwork that is required by agencies and monitors (that time is usually “on your own” time, decreasing the quality of family life.)

The complaints from those in the medical field are heard by the general public as “wah-wah-wah.”   The general public sees the practice of medicine as cushy, wealth-producing, and free from stress.   After all, doctors get lots of time off and spend it traveling, playing golf, shopping for flashy cars, skiing, and visiting their children at expensive private schools. What is there to complain about?

The same kind of “grass is greener” thinking is found in numerous professions. Lawyers, clergy, architects, bankers, wealth managers, artists, and others come to the point of questioning their vocations. It is a form of burn-out…not always fatal, but painful just the same.

The image of green grass on the other side of the fence is perfect for this feeling. It’s not something that always calls for humor. It is something to be taken seriously. But a hasty departure for another seemingly-more pleasant profession is not always the answer either. It is possible to “change professions” within a profession by adjusting one’s approach to the work involved.

* I have to confess that I know a number of men and women who are employed in building maintenance who are very happy in their jobs and thankful to have the working conditions that come with it…including regular hours and steady benefits.

BATHETIC : something that’s overly sentimental, gushy, and insincere.


I’ve said it before.  I’m not really fond of musicals.   Particularly those that are gushy, predictable love stories.   The hero always gets the girl.  She swoons and falls into his arms.  They kiss and walk off into the sunset holding hands.

That kind of writing just makes me want to barf.   It’s saccharine, silly and frequently not even close to reality.   It’s bathetic.

That’s a new word I’ve learned which means something is “overly sentimental, gushy, insincere.”   It makes me gag.

But some people like that kind of thing.   They get all teary-eyed and warm all over.  I think they are fantasizing that it is they who are on the screen, not Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet.   They are the ideal characters and so beautiful together.  They deserve to fall in love with each other.  So do I.

Bathetic is a literary word that may come from the Greek word bathos, meaning “to be submerged in.”   Many doubt this to be the origin, however, and admit that its birth is, at the best, spurious.  It appears in literature around mid-19th century.

Most frequently you will find the word in literary, film, or drama criticism.   Either the critic believes that piece descends into a bathetic conclusion, leaving the audience gagging and rushing out to get a martini, or the piece is able to miraculously escape a bathetic ending.   It could also be applied to a book or to a piece of music.

Wherever it occurs one thing is clear:  it is not a compliment.


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