When I was about to become a psychiatrist, I was invited for an assessment interview by the director of the department where I had just finished the final stretch of my training programme. Despite being 15 years my senior, he had a youthful and athletic appearance, which may or may not have been due to the fact that, at middle age, he was still running the annual marathon. Perhaps fitting for a runner, he was a man of few words. Also, he used to take his time searching for the right words to speak—so much so, that it was sometimes hard for us residents not to say out loud what we thought he was going to say. Luckily, one of the basic skills of the psychiatric training programme involved the art of biting our tongue and waiting for whatever our conversational partner would bring up next. That skill came in handy while dealing with the director and saved me, at least, from a great deal of social awkwardness during my training.
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