Hope you had a chance to enjoy your thanksgiving vacation. I certainly enjoyed mine. I had off from my primary clinical job, and that’s unusual for me. I looked back and have worked Thanksgiving Day 15 of the last 17 years. Although I had holiday time off, I ended doing an 8pm-8am shift from Wednesday night into Thursday morning and from 6pm thanksgiving night until 9 am Friday morning, both telemedicine gigs.
Side gigging is a big part of my plan for financial freedom (also called financial independence) and I blogged about it on thanksgiving.
Many of my colleagues think I’m a bit crazy for all the work I do outside of my primary job. But, I’ve realized the secret to the physician life cycle. You start out excited and eager. But, after 17-20 years, it becomes a real burden. Not all of it, mind you, just some of it. But the parts that aren’t enjoyable- the call, the factory like turnaround of patients in clinic, the phones calls, the administrators, etc.- it just ruins the good stuff, like helping people through the scariest times in their life.
I’ve come to the paradoxical realization- in medicine, the only way to work less is to work more. Essentially, you need to live frugally and earn as much as you can while you are young, motivated, and brimming with energy. Then after about 15-20 years, you’ll have invested enough money wisely that earning a living is no longer a primary concern. You can pick and chose what you find enjoyable without worrying about the financial returns. This is often called the “victory lap” – the fun job you do as a reward for the hard work, but before you retire. I’m certainly not the first to realize this and it’s been posted about often by physician financial bloggers- of which there are many great ones in the blogosphere. I do find many of the physician financial bloggers to be a little technical, so I try to focus on the philosophy of physician finances when I do touch on the topic.
Check out my blog on the physician life cycle. I can assure you, no matter how much you desire “work/life balance” when you are starting out, every sacrifice you make will be worth it when you get to voluntarily go part-time at age 50 to pursue your dream job. And there is nothing worse than being 62 and living paycheck to paycheck due to your divorces, expensive vacations, and luxury vehicles. It’s modern indebted servitude and you should avoid it at all costs.
Finally, I come to an anecdote about a college student I knew. He is the son of a friend and was a freshman studying biochemistry at a school on the west coast at the time of these events. I got into a conversation with his family about their plans for summer and he stated that he had no real plans and had hoped for an internship. I asked if he was interested in working with a well-known biopharma company in San Francisco. He expressed interest and I called in several favors. They came up with a new position for him- a paid internship, working with a top team, and with free housing at the campus dorms. This is the type of internship that most people could only dream about! When I emailed him about the position, he wrote back to me telling he decided to spend the summer hanging out with his high school friends at a beach house. I couldn’t believe it!
Every year I get an email from him or his family asking me to set up the same deal. Not a chance! I called in a lot of personal favors to get this rolling. My network of colleagues at this company went out of their way setting up this job, turning down several other highly qualified candidates. It was a huge embarrassment to me and my friends at this company when this “super-star” decide to become a “super-beach-bum”. I couldn’t set up this deal again even if I wanted to. I still get dirty looks from some of my friends at this company when they see me at meetings.
What happened? He wasted my “political capital”. This is a sure way to fall behind at work and lower your chances for advancement. Do not force your boss to waste political capital on you– your future will be at risk.
Finally, I’d like to put a special thank you out there to Physician On FIRE.
True market value is easily the most critical piece of information you must have. The most common mistake of early career physicians is searching for a job without knowing the market conditions. Market Value Report at an affordable price (Click Here).
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Thankful for My Side Gigs – Special Thanksgiving 2017 There are many free things in life to appreciate, but this isn’t one of those blogs. So, while I enjoy turkey time with my family, I’m going to post about a work-related issue for which am thankful (all the time remembering that health and family are what it’s really all about!)
Vaccinating Your Career from Harm- Office Politics in Action (Part One): Preserve your Boss’s Political Capital. Once your boss gets tired of defending you, your future is at significant risk.
Informational Interviewing – The Secret to Getting Your Foot in the Door. Having trouble lining up an interview? I spill the secret to a master level interviewing technique.
When Doctor Contract Negotiations Go Bad (Part One)- Usually it’s a Good Thing. You worry that negotiating your doctor contract for higher salary may go badly. The reality is that it may be the best thing that could happen for your career.