Monthly Archive for March, 2007

so you want money, power, and respect? (part 2)

As promised, here is the conclusion to the search for the Coveted Career Trifecta.

Coveted Career Trifecta Contender #3: LAW

Money: Lawyers make lots of money.  A friend of mine just graduated from law school and is making $190,000 just starting out.  But all this money comes at a cost because they tend to work long hours and weekends.  Wait.  Don’t physicians do that too?  They sure do, except they get paid peanuts.   Score: 8/10.

Power: There’s plenty of power to be had if you climb the ranks of your law firm.  Or you could go into politics and run for president!  The sky’s the limit if you have the charisma.  Score: 9.5/10.

Respect: Many people think lawyers are sleazy, money-hungry, and selfish bastards.  I’m sure these same people think physicians own Ferraris and private islands, so who can say whether this conception is true.  True or not, it’s what people think.  So you probably won’t be getting so much as respect as you are feared.  And I’ll take fear in place of respect any day.  But that’s just me, of course.  Don’t forget that many of our politicians who hold highly esteemed offices are/were lawyers and are highly respected for the most part.  Not to mention that lawyers can make so many people’s lives miserable.  *cough cough* Malpractice, anyone?  Score: 8/10.

Final Coveted Career Trifecta score: 25.5

So there you have it.  Being a dentist is best, followed by lawyer, and finally by optometrist if you’re looking for money, power, and respect.

Since there are many other choices that I just can’t go into detail about, here are some honorable mentions for you to consider.

Coveted Career Trifecta Honorable Mentions

1. Pharmacist: Minimal schooling and pretty good pay though you’ll probably end up working at some drugstore pharmacy.  Not nearly as much respect as any of the top three contenders, but you do get to call yourself “doctor.”

2. Engineer: Sounds cool, makes good money.  Can’t call yourself “doctor” though.  Well, unless you get a PhD.

3. Academics: With a PhD you’ll get to call yourself “doctor” and pride yourself in the fact that maybe, just maybe, you’ll discover something that will save the human race.  Plus you get to teach and shape young minds.  But those same young minds are not going to be giving you any respect and you run the risk of being known as the absent-minded/bastard/incompetent professor.  Oh yeah, and the money’s not so great either.  Oh, and grad school sucks.  I’m beginning to wonder why I even included this as an honorable mention…

inspirational music for life’s (annoying) little moments 1.14

So the etiquette-less wedding of the year was this past weekend. Not only was I graced by the wonderful presence of my sister-in-law but I also got a healthy dose of my mother-in-law as well. I don’t like weddings. I don’t like weddings that involve my in-laws being anywhere near me. And I really don’t like receptions that last five hours! Yes, you read right. Five whole hours. I must have been delirious because after oh, the first three hours, I found myself being somewhat envious of my sister-in-law’s ability to be a social butterfly. I try. Really, I do. But people just don’t interest me. And I can’t pretend that I’m interested. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes lament my lack of people skills. Sometimes I wish it was easy for me. That I could fit in. So my song for the week is Unkle Bob – The Hit Parade. Because sometimes I want normal things too.

As always, feel free to send song suggestions to me here.

top secret (season 3, episode 16)

HOUSE: The problem could be neurological. Everyone knows that TV rots your brain.

Of course I care! What a horrible thing to say.

Why did you choose that moment to listen to me?

I’ve got a full bladder and I’m not afraid to use it.

We’re going to figure out what’s wrong with you. First we need to know one thing: have you ever appeared in any pornos?

The pills made all my dreams come true.

If you’re still referring to your ass, I think that super-tank has sailed would be the more precise metaphor.

Sorry. I’m looking for an extra large trash can.

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so you want money, power, and respect?

Then don’t become a doctor.

But if I shouldn’t become a doctor, then what should I do if I want to achieve my much Coveted Career Trifecta?

Well, honestly, I don’t know because I’m not motivated by this trifecta. But that’s not going to stop me from making some guesses and sweeping generalizations. Because I just might not really know what I’m talking about, I urge you to not take just my word when it comes to your career choice and do some exploring of your own if anything I mention interests you.

First off, let’s set some ground rules. What we need is a totally arbitrary rating system. So let’s say that each of the three components of the coveted career trifecta is worth a total of ten points, making the highest possible Coveted Career Trifecta score 30. The higher the Coveted Career Trifecta score, the more likely a career is going to help you achieve money, power, and respect. Make sense? Okay. Here we go.

Coveted Career Trifecta Contender #1: DENTISTRY

Money: Dentistry is definitely the way to go if you’re looking to make tons of money for minimal education and/or effort. Dental school is just four years long and after you’re all done, you can practice. No need for residency unless you want to further specialize, which you would do if you want to make even more money! Orthodontics anyone? There are supposedly two-day seminars on dental implants, a hot new procedure that rakes in the money with next to no effort on your part. Forget being a plastic surgeon–it’s hard work. Just do dental implants! You won’t even have to work five days a week to make a whole boatload of money! And I don’t think they’re going to tax dentists any time soon to fund universal dental care. Score: 10/10

Power: Unless you’re looking to take over the world, you should get all the power you’re hungering for as a dentist. You can be your own boss if you’re in solo practice, which is way more feasible for a dentist than a doctor. Insurance can’t screw you over as badly even though you still have to get clearance from them before embarking on expensive procedures. Score: 8.5/10

Respect: You’ll get plenty of respect as a dentist because you get to call yourself “doctor” too. Not only that, but your patients are at your mercy quite literally since you can be a great inflicter of pain. Only problem is you’ll be looked down on as the loser who couldn’t get into med school by people like me. But who cares? You got the title without having to be anally raped for well over seven years. Just make sure you stay away from MDs and you’ll get all the respect you’ll ever need. Score: 9/10

Final Coveted Career Trifecta score: 27.5

You really can’t go wrong here. So get over your disgust for bad breath and get ready to spend your days poking around in people’s mouths and inflicting pain.

Coveted Career Trifecta Contender #2: OPTOMETRY

Money: Optometrists make good money. Selling glasses. It doesn’t get much easier than that. They don’t need as much capital to start out with because they don’t need as much equipment as a dentist or physician does. And unlike dentists and physicians, they’re selling products in addition to their services. They’re basically businesspeople and I’ve seen highly profitable optometry empires. How much money you make as an optometrist really depends on how good you are at selling glasses. And, of course, optometry school is also only four years long and you don’t have to work full-time if you don’t want to. And just like dentistry, I doubt they’ll decide to tax you to fund universal vision care. Score: 7.5/10

Power: If you own your own practice, you get to call the shots. Not only that, but if your business acumen helps you build a nice empire, then you’ll have even more power. You’ll still have to answer to insurance, but less so than in medicine or even dentistry. Score: 9/10

Respect: The downside to all that power and money is that you might not garner as much respect as a physician or even a dentist. But then again, your average person doesn’t know the difference between an opthalmologist and an optometrist, so maybe you’ll still be able to impress your family/friends/dates. But as with dentistry, you’ll never be able to impress me. Especially if you insist on putting in big letters on your office sign: Dr. Sally Smith so that people will think you’re a physician until they walk in and see nothing but glasses. Score: 7/10

Final Coveted Career Trifecta score: 23.5

Not quite as good as dentistry, but a good choice if you can’t stand being up to your ears in saliva day in and day out. Minimal effort, plenty of reward.

It seems that this post is getting a little long here, so I will continue with more of my Coveted Career Trifecta Contenders on Friday.

grand rounds 3.27

Don’t forget to check out Grand Rounds today at Medviews.

don’t become a doctor if you want money, power, and respect

This post is in response to a question from a reader about med students’ motivations for pursuing medicine.

You/I would hope that the people that we trust our lives to when we are sick and most vulnerable are saints–people who are in it because they truly desire to help people and not because they are greedy and power-hungry. Well, we all know (or at least I think we do) that not all doctors are saints. And I’ve wondered more than once how the “rigorous” screening process that is the medical school admissions process allows some of these less-than-saintly people to slip through the cracks. So how many of my classmates would I say are in it for less-than-saintly reasons? Maybe I have a skewed view because my ex-boyfriend was one of these people (don’t even ask why I subjected myself to such a person in the first place) and was forever bashing my more altruistic motivations for medicine and searching for the holy grail of medical specialties (one that involves the least amount of training while allowing for the best lifestyle and the most money), but I would say that about 10% of my class had less-than-saintly motives for being there. Who knows how many others were just very good at hiding their less-than-saintly ways.

Sure, I think that people who pursue medicine based on less-than-altruistic motivations do the profession and their patients a huge disservice. But at the same time, I don’t understand how they came to the conclusion that being a doctor is the ideal way of achieving money, power, and respect. Because I think that it simply isn’t true.

1. Money. What money? Unless you’re already rich and can pay for med school yourself or you have rich parents who can pay for med school for you, you’ll graduate with well over $100,000 in debt. Then you’ll spend at least three years being a resident being worked to death only to be paid peanuts. And just when you thought you would finally make the big bucks, you become a full-fledged doctor just to get screwed over by insurance companies. Insurance companies make the big bucks. Not doctors. The only exception here is probably plastic surgery, which rich people can afford to pay out-of-pocket for and insurance usually doesn’t cover anyway. Not only that, but several states (CT, CA) have been toying with universal healthcare-type initiatives that involve taxing physicians an extra 2-3% of their income to fund. No need to panic yet because they’re not getting very far with this doctor tax, but who knows what will happen in coming years. So that idea that doctors own Ferraris and vacation homes in exotic places is just not really true. Except for plastic surgeons, of course.

2. Power. What power? If you choose to be a part of an HMO, you’re at their mercy. They decide what you can and cannot do. Then there’s also the whole bureaucracy involved in being in a hospital or practice. Guidelines to follow for every little thing. People to answer to. Thinking about academics? You’ll still be just as powerless because there’s bureaucracy everywhere (not to mention the pay cut you’ll be taking). You’ll probably only wield power over med students and residents. Whoo-hoo.

3. Respect. Seriously?  Nobody respects MDs anymore these days.  You have your chiropractors, your optometrists, your dentists, and even your pharmacists all calling themselves “doctors” and getting that instant respect that should be yours.  And patients don’t respect you.  They think you exist to serve them.  They come to see you because they need help with their illness and then they argue against what you tell them if they don’t like what they hear.  Or they just plain don’t listen.  Then, when everything goes to hell, they slap you with a malpractice lawsuit.  They think you should be taxed 3% of your salary to fund their universal healthcare because you already make way too much money.  The only respect you’ll be getting…maybe…is from your peers if you happen to be better than them or from your family and friends (and even I can’t get any respect from my totally uneducated in-laws).  So, yeah, good luck with that.

So there you have it.  Even though I secretly despise my not-so-saintly classmates, I feel sorry for them because they sure made the wrong call based on their motivations.

Well, now that I’ve gone over how medicine isn’t quite the place to be if you’re motivated by the quest for money, power, and respect, I bet you’re wondering what you should go into to obtain these things.  Of course, I have some theories so tune in tomorrow to read all about them.

out of town

Busy preparing myself for a weekend with the in-laws.  Oh joy.

inspirational music for the graduate student 1.14

It’s over.  It’s decided.  I am not finishing grad school this year.  Not in time to start rotations with the rest of the eager-eyed third years.  Sure, I can tell myself that I wasn’t ready anyway.  That you’d be amazed at how little I remember from my first two years of med school despite how smart I supposedly am.  That I wouldn’t let myself near a patient if I had any say at all.  But who’s to say that this extra time will make me any more ready?  Will I really spend it preparing myself (in between trying to make experiments work and writing my thesis) or will I just squander it anyway because I’m lazy and stuck in a rut?  Yes, stuck is what I am.  I am stuck in what should have been a mere moment in grad school.  It’s turned into much more than that.  I’m stuck in grad school and I can’t get out of it.  I hope you see where I’m going with this because my song for the week is U2 – Stuck in a Moment.

Song suggestions?  Submit them here.