Changed career at the age of 56
NHH alumna Dagrun Waag Linchausen pursued not one but two careers. Her advice: ‘Just go for it!’
Dagrun Waag Linchausen originally studied economics at NHH Norwegian School of Economics before making the bold decision, when she was later in life, to change careers.
In December she was featured in an article at Study International about her career. This is a summary of the interview.
Hit the metaphorical wall
At the age of 49, after a successful 25-year stint in various industries, including marketing and management, Linchausen decided to join the world of medicine, eventually becoming the emergency department chief at a hospital.
Her journey began when she hit a professional wall in the business world. A moment of reckoning occurred during a mountainous consulting assignment, forcing her to reassess her priorities.
Describing the turning point in her life, Linchausen recalls:
‘I had to swerve my car into the ditch before driving into the next tunnel. I couldn’t keep the car on the road. I hit the metaphorical wall.’
As she describes it:
‘I ended up on sick leave. I literally retreated into the basement, having decided I was staying there until I figured out my next move.’
New sense of purpose
This period led her to revisit a childhood dream of studying medicine. The decision to change careers was liberating, as she found her passion and a renewed sense of purpose.
Eventually, she became a general medicine specialist, allowing her to meet many patients and use a wide range of expertise in both the medical and human aspects.
Despite the challenges, she treated medical school like a job, diligently putting in hours. After completing her studies and internship, she started her own general practice.
Became chief of emergency medical services
Her unique blend of business acumen and medical expertise later came together as she became the chief of emergency medical services in Bergen, Norway (Bergen legevakt).
‘I had to use all the skills and experiences I had gained over the years — my studies in business administration, my time in the business world, my experience as a consultant, my medical education, and my experience as a doctor,’ she says.
This knowledge and skills played a pivotal role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘We had to organise new tasks and find solutions that didn’t exist before. It required a lot of networking, collaboration and strategic thinking,’ Linchausen shares.
Lecturer at the university
Today, she is retired but remains active in her professional life. She holds board positions in the healthcare field, combining economics and medicine and continues to take shifts at the emergency medical services and work as a substitute senior doctor when needed.
During the past year, Linchausen took on a job as a lecturer at the University of Bergen, teaching emergency medicine. Her advice to those contemplating a career change is simple yet powerful: ‘Just go for it!’