A Proud Veteran Laboratorian
Speaking before a group of healthcare professionals last week, I was introduced as a veteran laboratorian and a Renaissance man. Well, the Renaissance part sounded fine since it conjured up images of a well-rounded polymath, someone who is very well versed in a wide variety of subjects, an expert in diverse areas, a very knowledgeable individual. I like that!
However, the veteran label immediately made me think of someone who is older, retired and possibly no longer relevant. Then I quickly thought that interpretation might be my own bias, based on recollections of the perception of veterans of ignominious conflicts like the Vietnam War.
So, then I thought, "Who is a veteran?" If it means someone who has been in the trenches for a long time fighting for something one believes in, then I wear that label proudly. If it means fighting for the rights and recognition of the larger group: guilty as charged. Certainly if it means someone who is sometimes exposed to criticism from others and little recognition from those you represent, then again, I do qualify as a veteran.
As I stood to speak, with this new insight, I genuinely thanked the moderator for the label. We have had many changes and fought many battles as a profession, but I for one am proud to be considered a veteran of this noble profession.