Strong Yet Feminine Profiles are a series of interviews, showcasing ambitious women who are striving to follow their passion. Many are working full time and pursuing their dream on the side, some have already taken the leap, and share their experiences (the good and the bad!).
Any career decision is difficult, but making a leap into a different field, in order to pursue a true passion, has to be one of the most inspiring stories. I know, for me, hearing stories like these were crucial to bolstering my confidence when considering my own change in direction.
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Emaese Jegede, Owner of the MSA Be Inspired blog tells us how she manages her GP work part-time so that she has time to pursue her creative passions.
Is that an Aussie accent I detect?
Well done, people don’t often detect that! I was born in Nigeria but I grew up in Australia until my first year of University, then I moved to Canada to finish my first degree in biology. I was there for 4 years and then got into med school and moved to the UK. I’ve been here for 14 years now, I didn’t think I’d stay this long. So yes, my accent is a bit mixed!
So you are a doctor?!!
Yes, I’m a GP but not full time anymore. I qualified as a GP in 2012 and after that I locumed for a while. Then I got a job as a salaried GP in a GP surgery and I hated it, I lasted 7 weeks. It wasn’t a great surgery to be fair and I was finding significant clinical mistakes every day; it was one of those GP surgeries that might end up on the news for medical malpractice! After that I decided, “You know what, I’m going to take some time out and think about what I really want.” I wanted a career that was tailor made to fit my interest in medicine and my creative interests as well.
When I left GP training, I thought I was on my way to becoming a GP partner, working full time, specialising in women’s health and lots of other things. But I realised that once you get locked into that rat race mentality of what “success” looks like it’s very difficult to get out of it, and there is no energy left to be creative at the end of a week. I didn’t want to go through my life with any regrets.
So I did an Interior design diploma and a sewing course, which I loved. Then I was asked to help with make-up for my sister’s wedding; I did my best, but I knew it wasn’t great. When I got home after the wedding I started watching YouTube videos and just fell in love with make-up! From there I did a photography course, so that I could capture all the things that I created by myself. The final assignment for my photography course, involved presenting a photo essay to the rest of the class. I decided to photograph all my loves (medicine, food, arts & crafts, and make-up), and that assignment gave me the idea for my blog (www.msabeinspired.com)! I wanted to bring it all together and inspire others to be creative. I also went on to complete a formal makeup course.
I’m doing GP work 75% of my week and then I have fun being creative the rest of the week!
What inspired your interviews?
I love Oprah, she’s one of my role models and she really inspires me. She created a programme called ‘Masterclass’ where she interviewed famous people about their lives and I gained so much from watching it. I decided that I wanted to learn from the journeys of other entrepreneurs, so I started interviewing the founders of small creative businesses and it went from there.
Were you creative when you were younger?
I think creativity was always in me, I did art up to year 10 before I went into the sciences. All throughout medical school, I would paint or draw in my spare time and that was probably the extent of it. After finishing my degree I had more time on my hands, so I started exploring and have been able to develop my creativity further. I believe that creativity resides within everyone, but you have to take steps to nurture and develop it.
So it was never a consideration to follow a more creative career?
Studying medicine was my choice and I don’t regret it, but I did come from a very academic family and I think my Dad would have freaked out if I’d said I was going become a make-up artist after I finished high school. But now that I’ve got a medical degree behind me, it feels like a luxury to choose a creative career at I’m passionate about.
What hours do you work?
I work mostly evenings and some daytime shifts. It’s nice to have the day free; you can wake up a little later or meet a friend for lunch. Life feels so much more relaxed and I feel really lucky to have that versus a 14 hour work day.
At the moment I’m developing a Bridal makeup look book, as this is something I really want to get into.
The blog is ticking along and I’m also working on creating YouTube videos which has been a challenge but I’m loving doing that. I want to create ‘how to’ videos (for example, how to embellish a top) and also eventually publish some of the interviews that I have conducted with creative entrepreneurs.
Medically, I’m still figuring it out. I’m not sure that I’ve quite found my home yet within medicine. General Practice is obviously broad and you can specialise in pretty much anything. I’ve always loved minor surgery, so I think that is the route I might take next. I guess it’s the more creative side of medicine!
What does that entail? Sounds intense!
You can do a diploma, which is the longer route, or you can do a short course over a few days and then work with a mentor to develop your skills before practicing independently. I’ve done it before as a trainee; it involves removing things like sebaceous cysts or ingrowing toenails, and it’s really good fun!
I’ll take your word for that!