Today’s guest of KAPTÁR’s Success Story is Zsófi Barcza, the founder of Syntesia Medical Communications and one of the ancient KAPTÁR inhabitants. Zsófi is a medical writer and mostly works for doctors and pharmacists. Thank you for joining in our invitation, Zsófi. How has all of this started? How have you found this market niche?
The three words that are most typical for me are science, languages, and music. Fortunately, I went to a great secondary school and when it was time to decide about a career path, I thought I could do any of those. Eventually, I chose the medical path, because I could still deal with languages and music in my free time. Many people told me how nice it is „that a doctor deals with the arts just as a hobby“, but it turned out later that these hobbies were way too important to me.
I had some subjects in medical school, which were really interesting, but the other two paths became more dominant by the end of my studies. After getting my diploma I started to study technical translation and interpretation which took 2 years…
Sorry for interrupting you, but if I got it right you have a doctor’s degree? Have you also worked as a doctor?
Yes, I did. I worked as a doctor for 3 years. I always say that I squeezed 8 years into those 3 years after my graduation. (laughs). I graduated as a technical translator and interpreter (2years), I did a professional exam as a physician, which took me 3 years. Besides that, I did a part-time job in the emergency room.
Oh, and I also worked as a tour guide. I had started that already during university.
Wow, that’s pretty impressive… you mentioned that by the end of your studies your other two interests became too dominant – did you already know then, that your career as a doctor won’t last very long?
I suspected it. When I got my diploma I’ve already had that feeling, but I wanted to be sure and find out if I really don’t to work as a doctor. I didn’t wanna say „but what if…“ or „maybe I would have liked it after all, but I haven’t even tried“ later. And I did like a lot about that work. But when there is a huge love somewhere else, it’s easy to decide. It was no problem for me at all to leave my job. I just walked out of my professional exam and never practiced again.
That’s quite something. I couldn’t have done that for sure. I would have felt like I just lost 6 years of my life – even if the years spent with medical science weren’t time wasted.
Well, this is where my current profession appeared. After my translation studies – actually already during them… – I started to translate and interpret. And one of these jobs turned out so well, that the job requests from all kinds of clients just kept coming like a flood. So, I realized that this is a thing – medical writing. I hadn’t heard about it before – even though I already did it, I just had no idea it exists…
I had worked for half a year already when I asked my mentor „listen, can I call myself a medical writer?“ and then he replied „Zsófi….. that’s exactly what you’ve been doing for half a year…. of course you can…. what are we even talking about?” (laughs)
You’ve been doing this for quite some years now. What was the moment, you are really proud of? Which is the current peak of your career?
I just had such a moment 2 weeks ago. I pharma company asked me to write a scientific publication for an international magazine. This was a pretty big deal. I felt that I needed all my knowledge, experience, intuition and everything to make it happen. When I finished I knew that if I didn’t have all that experience from the past years, I couldn’t have done it.
It was hard, it was a challenge, really. But I feel like this is the peak of my career so far.
Thanks for the interview, Zsófi! In the end, what would you recommend to people, who are currently on a very reliable and safe career path, just like you were, but have big dreams and don’t dare to make a change?
Usually, I just say „fortunately we aren’t trees, so we can take a step aside.” I’d like to point out that I love taking risks – it makes me feel alive somehow. On the other hand, when I feel that something scares me, then I wanna do it even more. Fear is an intangible thing – financial safety and other similar „tangible“ things are acceptable, but I can’t tolerate fear keeping me from anything. Everything starts with a decision. When one makes a decision and keeps going, suddenly everything falls into place. I would recommend people in similar situations, to commit to a decision. Everything else will come. When I used to translate and interpret, I often thought „dear lord, what is this? Where will I work? Will I be able to live from that? Won’t I get bored? etc.etc…”
And at some point, around February-March 2014, I decided that no matter what happens, this is gonna be my job after my exam. Even if I end up jobless, have to do a part-time job to survive, can`t find work for 6 months, and won’t have enough clients… no matter what happens, I wanna do this.
Thank you very much for the interview, Zsófi! I wish you and your team lots of success!
Thanks – to you as well!