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Paying for weekend time off...$2000 down the drain?

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  • Paying for weekend time off...$2000 down the drain?

    Yesterday morning, like every "every other" Saturday morning that I can remember, I left my house for the hospital at 6:40 AM. It was a glorious Saturday in the Midwest, sunny, cool, and still, and groups of runners, walkers, and bikers were assembling and starting their days the way I start my Saturdays on the off "every other" weekend. And I was very annoyed. I am sick of working weekends... (Rant over)

    For the first time in 20+ years, I have paid a younger partner to cover my weekend IR call. It will be next weekend and will cost me $2000 (pre-tax). It might be the best $2000 (pre-tax) that I have ever spent. I currently cover weekend IR call every other weekend and have done so for my entire private practice career, with the exception of the few months that I covered every weekend for my (then) senior partner who had a series of illnesses at the tail end of his career.

    I wish that I had the opportunity to do it sooner and plan to continue to pay the other guy for one the weekend per month so long as he will do it. This part of our practice will be gone in July (neither of us will be taking IR call), so I am not too concerned about burning him out over the next few months. He's young and wants/needs the money. I am older and want/need the free time.

  • #2
    From another geezer doc ..... every other weekend for 20 years sucks. I took ob call every other weekend for about 10 years.  It got old.  We then added up to 6 docs to our call rotation. Weekends could be horrible.  I started taking the Monday after call off.  When I quit ob the change was really amazing.  No calls ..... well maybe one per week after hours.

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    • #3
      Good for you, Vagabond!

      I recognize the opportunity cost, but I stopped looking at time off as "spent money" long ago. When taking a day off is equated with spending $1,000 (or more), it becomes very hard for this frugal physician to justify taking any time off, ever. And all work and no play makes PoF a dull boy.

      Cheers!

      -PoF

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      • #4
        Good for you! I truly believe that money can't buy happiness but it sure can be used to take things out of your life that make you unhappy (call, weekend shifts, housecleaning, yardwork, etc)

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        • #5
          I must admit that part of the reasoning for not taking off more weekends earlier has much to do about the macho physician culture and one's ego. Remember, the surgery residents who would say that the only bad thing about "every other" call was that you missed out on half of the great cases.

          Well, the fact is it that lifestyle is not sustainable and certainly contributed to burn out and shortened my career. A lesson for those early in their practices.

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          • #6
            I can't even imagine doing every other weekend call for 20 years. I did it for 5 during my orthopedic residency and was so relieved to be done with that. I now work about 7-8 weekends per year, but that is a 72-hour straight coverage with no help at a very busy community ER. Even with that, I take about 200% more call than even my busiest partners, partly because it's still a huge step down to what I was used to, and partly because I'm trying to make hay while the sun shines. Once I get my student loans paid off (hopefully later this year) and my first $1 million in investable assets I may slow down a little bit.

            It's no wonder you're as burned out as you are.

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            • #7




              Yesterday morning, like every “every other” Saturday morning that I can remember, I left my house for the hospital at 6:40 AM. It was a glorious Saturday in the Midwest, sunny, cool, and still, and groups of runners, walkers, and bikers were assembling and starting their days the way I start my Saturdays on the off “every other” weekend. And I was very annoyed. I am sick of working weekends… (Rant over)

              For the first time in 20+ years, I have paid a younger partner to cover my weekend IR call. It will be next weekend and will cost me $2000 (pre-tax). It might be the best $2000 (pre-tax) that I have ever spent. I currently cover weekend IR call every other weekend and have done so for my entire private practice career, with the exception of the few months that I covered every weekend for my (then) senior partner who had a series of illnesses at the tail end of his career.

              I wish that I had the opportunity to do it sooner and plan to continue to pay the other guy for one the weekend per month so long as he will do it. This part of our practice will be gone in July (neither of us will be taking IR call), so I am not too concerned about burning him out over the next few months. He’s young and wants/needs the money. I am older and want/need the free time.
              Click to expand...


              Seems like a great use of $24K to me. I ran the numbers on what it cost me to drop my night shifts once. It was more than that.
              Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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              • #8
                Agree thats pretty wild. After going through the majority of residency with 4 days off a month and then "home call" aka weekend at the hospital, the last couple years I was done with that.

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                • #9
                  i do one weekend per month, 12 per year, as a psychiatrist. I am thinking of taking on more weekends, 16 in total per year, so every four weeks. The additional 8 weekend days would give me 16 additional weekdays off (2 for 1). I would miss a few more kids' games, but assuming two were in the winter, not too much. I would happily work 1 extra weekend in July for an additional full four days off (which actually gives me 9 consecutive days off, as I only work a four day work week).

                  I cannot imagine doing every other weekend.

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                  • #10
                    What a great topic. This is one of those issues that changes depending on how you look at it, kind of like the opt-in opt-out distinction. In short we are given a certain bolus of responsibility from our group/employer (opt-in) and we just work it (assuming everyone desires an equal portion of time for money). To sell some back (opt-out) there is a psychological barrier.

                    In our group there is the ability to buy/sell call and/or workdays. There are a few people that participate, and they are consistent. There are a couple sellers and a couple buyers. Everyone else (the majority) opts out, implying they are trading time for money at an optimal ratio. Of course this must be impossible. I think what is really going on is that we have to idea how to really honestly value time for money, so we opt out of the decision. It is psychologically disturbing to make that decision so we let it be made for us.

                    That and we don't want to be perceived as 'lazy' for valuing time off more than money.

                     

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                    • #11




                      What a great topic. This is one of those issues that changes depending on how you look at it, kind of like the opt-in opt-out distinction. In short we are given a certain bolus of responsibility from our group/employer (opt-in) and we just work it (assuming everyone desires an equal portion of time for money). To sell some back (opt-out) there is a psychological barrier.

                      In our group there is the ability to buy/sell call and/or workdays. There are a few people that participate, and they are consistent. There are a couple sellers and a couple buyers. Everyone else (the majority) opts out, implying they are trading time for money at an optimal ratio. Of course this must be impossible. I think what is really going on is that we have to idea how to really honestly value time for money, so we opt out of the decision. It is psychologically disturbing to make that decision so we let it be made for us.

                      That and we don’t want to be perceived as ‘lazy’ for valuing time off more than money.

                       
                      Click to expand...


                      Think you're probably right, nicely said. Everytime Im shocked at how much some other doc makes I then make sure to remind shock myself of all the extra time and hassle I see they have to deal with, and then Im pretty happy with my trade off.

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                      • #12







                        What a great topic. This is one of those issues that changes depending on how you look at it, kind of like the opt-in opt-out distinction. In short we are given a certain bolus of responsibility from our group/employer (opt-in) and we just work it (assuming everyone desires an equal portion of time for money). To sell some back (opt-out) there is a psychological barrier.

                        In our group there is the ability to buy/sell call and/or workdays. There are a few people that participate, and they are consistent. There are a couple sellers and a couple buyers. Everyone else (the majority) opts out, implying they are trading time for money at an optimal ratio. Of course this must be impossible. I think what is really going on is that we have to idea how to really honestly value time for money, so we opt out of the decision. It is psychologically disturbing to make that decision so we let it be made for us.

                        That and we don’t want to be perceived as ‘lazy’ for valuing time off more than money.

                         
                        Click to expand…


                        Think you’re probably right, nicely said. Everytime Im shocked at how much some other doc makes I then make sure to remind shock myself of all the extra time and hassle I see they have to deal with, and then Im pretty happy with my trade off.
                        Click to expand...


                        Earlier this week, a radiology resident on this message board indicated that he would be making $600k+ as a partner in his job. There are many radiology practices where partners make salaries on that order. I also know that money does not just fall from the sky, you have to earn it. Think about reading 12,000-15,000 CT and MRI exams in a year. That is the kind of volume that results in a $600k income. That's 50-70 scans per day (per 5 day work week). How do you think you are going to feel after a day like that? How about a week like that? How about doing that for 10 years?

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                        • #13
                          Whoops, I did it again.

                          The early summer is off to a crappy start, too many shifts, too many weekends, and not enough fun. I am paying the same partner, the same $2000, to take the July 1 weekend for me. I am going to Chicago with my wife to see the last Dead and Co show of the current tour at Wrigley field, followed by Hamilton the next day. Significant negative shift in the income and expense columns, major positive shift in the enjoyment column .

                          If any WCI-heads are also Chitown Dead Heads or otherwise hitting Wrigley, message me, and we can meet up at the show.

                          Comment


                          • #14




                            Whoops, I did it again.

                            The early summer is off to a crappy start, too many shifts, too many weekends, and not enough fun. I am paying the same partner, the same $2000, to take the July 1 weekend for me. I am going to Chicago with my wife to see the last Dead and Co show of the current tour at Wrigley field, followed by Hamilton the next day. Significant negative shift in the income and expense columns, major positive shift in the enjoyment column ? .

                            If any WCI-heads are also Chitown Dead Heads or otherwise hitting Wrigley, message me, and we can meet up at the show. ?
                            Click to expand...


                            Dead Head here, but not in Chi-town.  Enjoy!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Something I never thought of while I was a resident is to ask potential employers/future partners about flexibility. I am lucky that I landed in a group where it is very easy for the older guys to trade out of weekend/night shifts because there are a few hungry junior partners like myself who are all over those. I end up working an average of 24 hours every other weekend. What helps tremendously is that we get paid a flat per hour rate during those times (generous rate indeed for nights and weekends) so I actually want to be on call. I figure in 5 years I will stop volunteering for those shifts.

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