Friday, December 09, 2005

Future-proof

I have been thinking for the last six months about what I am going to do for the next 3, 5, 25 years. Never thought about long-term until now.

They never taught us about medical economics. But if they did, maybe less of us would go into more traditional specialties like Surgery and Internal Medicine. Because people would be paid more in other areas of indentured servitude.

What will prompt a person to think about his future? For me, the long, self-imposed vacation was just the thing I was looking for to realign and rationalize my priorities. A senior brod emailed me that doctors are like cattle, and they will eat the grass that they are fed without complaining. Lucky for us, we have the means to look for greener pastures.

If you are thinking of raising a family, being able to enjoy your life outside of the hospital, or just simply being compensated properly for your efforts, you really would think twice about staying here. Surgeons, you cannot "enjoy life outside the hospital" by chasing nurses, medical representatives, or hapless medical students around while you are happily married. It's just not right.

And so the more rational, battle scarred doctors think about their escape route, their plan B. Even I had problems doing this, having been thinking of plan Bs since high school. (Am not saying I am that rational, or battle scarred for that matter.) The once proud doctors are swallowing their pride, realizing that they too have to look for just compensation.

If only people would be drawn to the fact that government physicians are paid less than call center agents for double (or even triple) the work... then there would be complaints directed to the inept government, more than the overworked, underpaid medical resident who is trying to save a patient even without the help of modern antibiotics.

I am never thankful enough for the discovery that some of my consultants in Surgery are taking up Nursing. If they are not that sure of their prospects for the future, how much more would I expect from my own?

It has been extensively discussed that there are two traditional methods for doctors to leave with dignity. First, and more expensive, is the USMLEs. This battery of exams is hard enough as it is; and you might not be approved for a visa four, five, or even ten times before you can take the Step 2 CS in the U.S. The second, and way easier, is to convert yourself to a nurse. A humiliating exercise, but for many it's the only way to go.

I on the other hand may be on the road less travelled, and am on the third pathway. In the next year I will be embarking on a special journey, and if you have been reading this space you will not be surprised and you will have some inkling of what I am going to do for the next three years. I have thought this many times over, and am satisfied with the entry and exit strategies that I have. This career move is expected to bring my career aspirations in consonant to what I want my life to become. I hope that I would be, at least for some time, "future-proof".

Not easy to think only about yourself at this age. Have to start programming other factors into your life. I never did plan being a hermit, so I have to make these changes. I don't want my life to end up like people I know, having used their libido to decide.

I still remember the day that I resigned. Dr. Jose Nemesio Granada was telling me, jokingly, "I know what is wrong. You should have another girl here in the hospital. Your girlfriend is in another hospital so that shouldn't stop you." I guess that wasn't really enough for me to stay now was it? Maybe it should have been - We should have a secretary for you to do your clerical work...
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Mapet and other HS pals, if you are reading this, you all have Non-Disclosure Agreements already alright? :)
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I have this nasty Gunstar Heroes streak... and am still downloading MP3s at the expense of precious bandwidth. I am enjoying it while it lasts... in a few days I will be in my old element, without cable or a PC. It's a small sacrifice. Here I have my PC and cable TV, but I don't think I will be able to advance my career by any stretch of the imagination.

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