i don't know why surgeons have such inflated egos. maybe it's that the type of person that decides to do surgery is arrogant to start with. or maybe constantly being in a position where someone's life may hang in the balance based on your decision cultures a confidence which flows over into arrogance. whatever the reason i learned to read the ego of fellow colleagues and sometimes even swing things in my favour.
i was always short of money during training. towards the end this became much worse. i used to work in casualty units (er doctor) but when my prof found out that i was moonlighting he threatened to fire me. this door was closed and double bolted. he would only permit us to do private assistances.
so when one of the junior consultants asked me to assist him with a few private cases after a 36 hour shift with no sleep, i jumped at it. sleep be dammed. i needed the money. besides, assisting is a darn site better than casualty work.
the cases went well and i felt that i should be able to make ends meet with the amount of work i would get from assisting this surgeon. i was quite excited about it. but then, as life would have it, i got no more calls from him. once again my situation became tenuous.
then, out of the blue, he called me again. it seems his regular assistant was on call. it was my moment. but this time i knew i had to impress.
we started the operation. i did the usual things an assistant needs to do, but i watched every move he made carefully. i was looking for a way to get at his ego. then he did something that was ever so slightly better than mediocre. it was my chance.
"that was beautifully done! it is so great to assist you! i learn so much doing these assistances!" cheesy i know but i was desperate. besides it was also an interesting test to see if my theories about surgeons' egos were true. i was willing to be cheesy in the name of science. it was but a small sacrifice that i willingly made for the progress of knowledge.
and sure enough it worked. just a few choice words here and there so that the surgeon felt he was brilliant and i quickly became preferred assistant. i relied on that extra income and it made a great difference.
p.s although i had also done some great research, i unfortunately never published. somehow i just never got around to it.