Career Talk Book

Career Talk: The Book on CD-Rom


Angela C. C. Wang, MD

The strength of any organization, especially a volunteer-based organization such as the American Thoracic Society, lies in its membership. This book represents ATS' investment in its future and its commitment to its most junior members. On a personal level, belonging to the ATS has given me the opportunity to meet some incredible people, many of whom have contributed to this book. Putting this book together is one way for me to give back to the organization and also introduce you to a dynamic community of individuals who care deeply about making a difference. These are individuals who are passionate about medicine and science, about life and humanity. Their commitment and compassion is reflected in this book.

My goal, then, was to put together a collection of essays that was informative and yet reflected the diverse personalities and talents in ATS. In fact, the one word that comes to mind that describes what I felt as this book started coming together is "delight." I hope you share this feeling as you peruse the various contributions. If, at the end of this book, you have more questions than answers, then we will have done our job. One common theme you will read throughout this book is that many of us have gone through life not knowing all the answers ahead of time. We must all deal with uncertainty and change as our personal and professional needs evolve. Professional development does not end with fellowship. The key is knowing what questions to ask of ourselves and our mentors and not being afraid to ask them.

To trainees and junior faculty, you will be faced with making major life and career decisions, but whatever career choice you make, don't let the system make you feel like a failure. One of the strengths of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine is the range of opportunities available to you. Whatever you choose to do, it will be for yourself and the people important in your life. So, Believe in Yourself. And whatever you do, stay involved. Be an advocate. It is too easy to play victim and forget to focus on the good you can do. This book is meant to be "A Primer of Possibilities," a guide to the opportunities that lie ahead. We supply the notes, but you must make the music.


I am supremely thankful to all the authors for their enthusiasm. I’m not sure that being an editor can be called an inspiring task, but the wit and intelligence of your contributions have truly been an inspiration in getting the job done!

Some special mentions, Lynn Schnapp who got me started writing CareerTalk, and after a lot of hemming and hawing on my part, finally pushed me to put in an application for this assembly project! To Dean Schraufnagel who, as past ATS Website Editor, supported my column for the last 5 years. To Augustine Choi, David Ingbar, Sharon Rounds, and Jo Rae Wright who have demonstrated the meaning of compassionate leadership and helped make the ideals of the ATS very real for me. To Alice Boylan, Charles Daley, and Douglas Conrad, hard to believe that 20 years have gone by since we first met in that tiny room on the 5th floor of SFGH.

And special thanks to the ATS staff who collated, edited, and completed this project on time! Another bonus of belonging to ATS has been the opportunity to work with the dedicated staff. They are the ones who make things happen!

Dr. Wang is Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of Respiratory Therapy at the VA San Diego Health Care System.

Copyright © 2008 American Thoracic Society

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

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Last Reviewed: June 2016