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  • Dual Docs "Fitting In"

    My wife is a primary care doctor and I am a dentist.  We have moved to a semi-rual area and are fortunate enough to meet many new people during our day to day activities.  The casual conversations usually starts with, "Where are you from?...how long have you been here?... and what do you do for a living?"  When we say that we are dual doctors the conversation dwindles and dies in a matter of minutes. We try not to volunteer that information but everyone wants to know what we do for work.  We live like we are Mr. and Mrs. Money Mustache so it is not like we are flashing money and living large.  Is this an issue for anyone else?

  • #2
    Do you actually say that you are "dual doctors"? If so, I would probably walk away, too. ?

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    • #3
      No we don’t call ourselves dual docs. We try to delay fully revealing what we do, but people really want to know.  We both grew up in blue collar families and do not "act rich" so it is a bit strange to have this be the immediate response.  We got the comment last night at the rodeo, “Oh…..two doctors?” We were just curious if other WCI people have experienced this as well.

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      • #4
        My wife is not in medicine.

        I am fortunate the group I work for shares the same name as a big bank in town. When I'm asked what I do, I just tell them I work for and no one usually pushes any further.

        If it bothers you that people know or react that way, I would just start lying about what you do. I will confess I've done that at dinner parties before where I don't want to talk about my work

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        • #5
          That's a tough spot to be in, Eaglecap. There was a good discussion (linked here) about this very topic.

          I am not a fan of lying, even a white lie. There is a good chance, particularly in a small town, that you'll be found out if you distort the truth. I have tried being vague, "I work at the hospital."

          A tactic that works well for me is to answer the question quickly, then move on to another topic. "I'm an anesthesiologist. This IPA is great, by the way. Did you say you used Mosaic and Citra hops? What was the grain bill?" This works best at homebrew club meetings. Not so well in the dental office.

          Cheers!

          -Physician on FIRE

           

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          • #6
            I gave up trying to be vague and while I still try everything to avoid it, its just simply small talk and everyone wants to know. I say Im in medicine or a physician, if they inquire further then I say Im a plastic surgeon. People may not relate to you in a small town or feel like they can. Its a bit awkward at play groups or friends of kids friends at times, I dont think you can get away from that unless you insulate yourself in a high end neighborhood. You really cant make other people comfortable about their own situation or not compare it to yours, it makes a lot of people uncomfortable and probably feel judged or inferior. It sucks, but you can only be nice and humble, you cant control how they perceive things 100%.

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            • #7
              In addition to POF's excellent thaughty (I am not a fan of distorting the truth, either), how about answering the question with 'What would you say if I told you that both my wife/husband and I are doctors? [pause for response] Pretty strange, huh? And we have to deal with all of these people who think we're "rich and frivolous" just because we spent 10 years in school for the privilege of graduating with a 6-figure student loan balance! I bet it's nothing like you would imagine - I love what I do but I envy normal folks like you..."

              Of course, the convo would vary based upon your specific situation and comfort level with this kind of conversation. My point is to address the elephant in the room and give them "permission" to discuss it with you and laugh about it, if appropriate. A little self-deprecation can go a long way. And if the conversant is still uncomfortable, they are likely not a good fit for your inner circle, which should be pretty limited, anyway.
              Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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              • #8
                PhysicianOnFIRE wrote:
                That’s a tough spot to be in, Eaglecap. There was a good discussion (linked here) about this very topic.

                I am not a fan of lying, even a white lie. There is a good chance, particularly in a small town, that you’ll be found out if you distort the truth. I have tried being vague, “I work at the hospital.”

                A tactic that works well for me is to answer the question quickly, then move on to another topic. “I’m an anesthesiologist. This IPA is great, by the way. Did you say you used Mosaic and Citra hops? What was the grain bill?” This works best at homebrew club meetings. Not so well in the dental office.

                Cheers!

                -Physician on FIRE

                 

                I agree with the POF approach. When I have wanted to stay low key about my profession, I have used lines like...

                "I am a part time radiologist but full time runner."

                "I read X-rays inside but would rather be outdoors."

                "Between Dead concerts and Steelers games, I hang out in interventional radiology"

                Like POF, I will go easy on the profession and divert the conversation to something that I would rather discuss.

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                • #9
                  I would just be honest, modest/humble, and confident. Would not try to over-analyze this too much. Give only as much information as pleasantries require and be prepared to move the conversation on to a mutually interesting topic. Oh, and smile a lot.

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                  • #10




                    No we don’t call ourselves dual docs. We try to delay fully revealing what we do, but people really want to know.  We both grew up in blue collar families and do not “act rich” so it is a bit strange to have this be the immediate response.  We got the comment last night at the rodeo, “Oh…..two doctors?” We were just curious if other WCI people have experienced this as well.


                    In all seriousness, I occasionally get the "Oh, a doctor and a lawyer, how nice!", I usually make some self-deprecating comment, compliment my wife, and then try to steer the discussion toward something I would rather discuss.

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                    • #11
                      .

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                      • #12
                        I'm doing my brain injury fellowship in PM&R. I tell people "I take care of brain injured people." Rarely do people realize that entails being a doctor, and people usually don't find anything that they want to talk about with that. It also is effective at stopping any random medical questions for those that realize I'm a doctor because I can tell people "you don't want to be seeing me."

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                        • #13
                          My nosy neighbor press on and on about what me and my partner did for a living the second week we moved in. We don't do luxury cars and our house is the smallest and oldest one on the block. Initially, my spouse did the "oh, work at the hospital" reply but he kept asking so eventually we caved.  My spouse works shift hours so come and go at irregular times. Funny thing was, once we told him, this nosy neighbor wouldn't believe us and he kept making these remarks every once in a while about how he was once a pediatrician, obgyn or surgeon back in the days too (never checked out).   It got awkward.

                          Finally, 3 years into being neighbors, a medical incident happened at a neighborhood gathering and spouse ended up having to pull out MD skills. When all was said and done, neighbor finally let the issue rest and stopped making inappropriate comments about his "previous profession".

                          Can we insert eyeroll?

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                          • #14
                            Well, I would say in small communities you are "the doctor", and that carries with it all the prestige/isolation/stereotypes.  Its something we have to accept that neighbors will treat you differently.  In some ways its a sign that our profession still has its influence in American society (much less so in large cities).

                             

                             

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                            • #15
                              When I was growing up I always put doctors up on a pedestal as people who were somehow higher achieving and therefore better/superior.  When first in training and then up through the end of residency and my first year out as an attending I felt pretty awkward classifying myself as something I had always given so much respect and admiration.  After a few years though I quickly realized being a professional is an achievement but doesn't say much else about you.  Most of us have known a doc who was either cheating on a spouse, addicted to drugs/alcohol, generally unkind, gambling or had some other common ailment of general society.  I think we fit on the general bell curve of the population but just happen to have made it through schooling.

                              The less of a deal I make about being a doctor the less other people care.  I don't hide it. I rip it off like a bandaid and keep moving.  If you are sheepish and hiding something other people will notice and I would expect them to treat you weirdly.

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