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…

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  1. 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...
  2. don’t become a doctor if you want money, power, and respectThis 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...
  3. yet another reason…Why I don’t understand why everyone and their mom is a premed. Physician salaries decreased by 7% between 1995 and 2003, with primary care physicians being the hardest hit with a whopping 10% decrease in salary. In the meantime, the salaries of lawyers and other professionals rose by 7%. It’s true that doctors make a lot of money anyway and that we shouldn’t complain, but the average graduating med student has upwards of $100,000 in debt, which makes it hard for us to stomach the fact that we worked so hard and will continue working so hard for less money than our predecessors and our professional peers in such a high cost world. I have met my fair share of classmates who refused to go anywhere near primary care because of its “poor” pay. I used to turn my nose up at these classmates because money was never a concern of mine in choosing my career. I just wanted to do what would make me happy. Now if that turns out to be primary care (which thankfully, it isn’t), then so be it. But of course, I’m spoiled by the fact that I won’t be $100,000 in debt when I graduate. As my thinking has evolved, I’ve come to see that my classmates’ money concerns are indeed valid (though I still don’t think that salary should be the number one deciding factor when it comes to choosing a specialty). We spend four years of our lives toiling away to get...

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