Over the past few decades, the intensification and reorganisation of work have led to growing precarity, insecurity and uncertainty for employees, affecting even professionals tied to traditionally model employers. Doctors, in particular, have seen substantial changes to their work: having to work harder, longer and more intensely with reductions in expected autonomy, deference and respect. This article focuses on how early-career GPs make sense of and navigate meaningful work in the context of a current workforce crisis. Drawing on 15 narrative interviews and 10 focus groups with early-career GPs, the findings show that meaningful work during a crisis is understood temporally, with imagined futures perceived as increasingly impossible due to changes to the structure and orientation of medical work, leading to different career plans. Utilising Adam and Groves’ approach to futures as a conceptual lens, the article focuses on how multiple, often clashing, future orientations impact meaningful work.
- medical work