"What I really want to do is medical anthropology. I should get a second Masters in that!"
"What I really enjoy is sharing information. I should do a training course in health promotion!"
I never did these things because they cost shitloads of money, and while some career development courses are worth the money to advance one's career, I already have $75,000 student loan debt for a Masters degree that hasn't starting paying off yet. So I waited, and thought some more, but ultimately didn't get anywhere.
And then yesterday, at the ripe old age if 31 and a half years old, I Figured It Out. It's not that I don't know what I want to do; it's that I want to do everything! Tuberculosis, yes, but let's not neglect the neglected tropical diseases! Leishmaniasis, African trypanosomiasis, Dengue, leprosy even! And let's measure rates of notifications, and rates of underestimation, as well as using qualitative methods to understand how the disease affects the quality of life of patients, and why patients delay in going to the doctor, and why they do or don't use condoms! Let's measure health literacy and see if it correlates to outcomes. Let's evaluate interventions that provide added emotional, nutritional, or financial support to patients. I want to do it all!!
When I look at the research areas of established researchers, when I search for articles written by a specific researcher, I see that they're all the same--they want to do everything, too. And they do! Universities don't want one-trick ponies teaching their courses. They want people with a range and breadth of expertise. And I want to be one of those people!
Of course, I have to start somewhere, but this realisation liberates me. I can start virtually anywhere, and I'll still get where I want to go, because I want to go everywhere! And it gives me confidence in the conviction that the industry I want and need to be in is academia. I'd love to contribute to government health agencies, but not as a government office worker, more as a resident consultant who also works elsewhere.
If right now isn't quite the right time for me to do a PhD, then I'll be ready to pounce when the timing (and visa status) are right.