#22: Physician-Musician Mimi Lee

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

Wrestling with my own career doubts, I’ve often found myself thinking wistfully about the field of medicine. In these moments, I start to think that physicians—despite all their sacrifices—have it easy in at least one respect: they must feel utterly fulfilled by their work, I’ve thought. They must feel so confident about the path they’ve chosen! I’ve sometimes imagined, with no small amount of jealousy, that doctors the world over are all very tired but gloriously angst-free.

This is of course ridiculous: some doctors love what they do; others have serious reservations.

In Mimi Lee’s case, being diagnosed with breast cancer caused her to completely re-think her work life. Over the past year, she’s put on hold her successful medical career (two decades in the making) in order to pursue at long last her abiding passion for music.

About Mimi Lee: Before heading off to college, Mimi studied at the Juilliard School of Music. While at Harvard, where she focused on Chemistry and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Mimi continued her musical studies at the New England Conservatory of Music.

As if all of that were not enough, Mimi holds a MD-PhD in Neuroscience from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesia at UCSF and as a Partner with the Anesthesiology Consultants of Marin as a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist.

These days, Mimi focuses on her work as the founder and pianist of Bella Trio, a San Francisco-based group dedicated to playing—and reinterpreting—chamber music. Bella Trio’s news and performances can be followed via Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: Mimi Lee on her 2010 wedding day. She describes this instant as “ten days after our diagnosis, seven days after my first surgery, and moments before the ceremony.”


#21: Scott Urner, Closed Captioning Writer

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

Scott Urner makes a living writing closed captioning for adult films. That’s a pretty unusual job, which is one reason I wanted to interview Scott. But I also wanted to talk to Scott because I think he’s part of a wider theme in the work world, which is that many of us end up in jobs that we never planned on doing. In fact, many people land up in roles they never even knew existed. And yet, as Scott says about his own work, sometimes things turn out just fine: Scott enjoys what he does, and he appreciates the fact that his flexible, work-at-home schedule allows him to pursue his own creative projects. And, no, “creative projects” is not a euphemism. Stop that.

About Scott Urner: Scott Urner has a B.A. in English Literature from UCLA and a MFA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount. He has produced, written, and acted for National Lampoon (a short film), TBS (Burly TV), Playboy (the hidden camera show “Totally Busted”), and Fox Sports Net (a sports comedy pilot).