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My non-financial advice to those finishing training and starting the first job..

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  • My non-financial advice to those finishing training and starting the first job..

    21 years ago: I finished my fellowship taking the weekend call shift ending on 6/30 and started my first, real (attending) job on 7/1, the very next day, in the same city. A few months earlier we had a honeymoon trip to Hawaii and a few months later we took a Backroads cycling vacation in Napa and Sonoma, so we were certainly far from deprived from travel and leisure. I emerged from school and training with no debt, and my wife had a corporate legal job with a modest school debt burden. There were no kids and no dogs. I would have sooner chewed my arm off than take a vacation before starting my new job.

    Today: We recently hired a new colleague, fresh out of training, who despite our urgings to start on July 1, insisted on delaying starting work until the second week of August as she wanted some time between fellowship and work. I do not know her exact financial circumstances, but from what she told me about her family and career path during her interview, I would expect that she probably has a fairly typical six figure debt.

    I caught up with her earlier this week and asked her how she spent her time before joining us. Her face beamed as she talked about her trip to Europe and then vacationing with family in the Pacific Northwest. In between, she also enjoyed a music festival that she had always wanted to attend.

    Later that night, I playfully chided my wife for not suggesting that we do some lengthy travel when I was at the same station in life, many years ago. While we would have possibly had a month or more with no income, we were both on a trajectory that would quickly erase any shortfall. We could have traveled around the world, unencumbered with children, with no concern for deteriorating elderly parents, staying in cheap places, before the age of email and constant connection, with plenty of knee cartilage and energy in the tank, and with hardly a care in the world. These are times and circumstances that we will never be able to recreate.

    The advice: To the young docs coming out of training, I strongly advise taking a pause between training and your first job to do something (or things) that you will enjoy and may never be able to do again. Six weeks traveling in Asia, hitting a dozen National Parks on a road trip (see Strider's thread), completing a Grand Canyon Rim-Rim-Rim challenge, taking a cooking class...in Tuscany, following your favorite band around the country on a summer tour, attending 20 MLB games in 20 different stadiums, or whatever you think is fabulous but just too nuts to do because 1) there is no time/money to do it or 2) you can do it later.

    Later is not guaranteed. Don't be like the old Vagabond and live with regret. Just do it.

  • #2
    Kudos to her for taking the time and to you for getting why it matters.

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    • #3
      Unfortunately the ones who typically need to hear this the most are the same people who won't listen to you.

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      • #4
        I took a whole year.

         

        What's worse than missing out on extended periods off, however, is missing out on daily life--life as it is lived--your kids growing up, the time and attention put into your relationships with the people who are in your life, and your personal psychological and spiritual growth. That stuff doesn't just happen when you have 'time off' from your responsibilities, it's precisely because of your responsibilities and the difficulties you face. There's a reason rich people have poor empathy, and suicidality is associated with privilege. The more self-sufficient you believe yourself to be, the worse off you are.

         

        "Some people are so poor, all they have is money."

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        • #5
          @legobikes,  "There’s a reason rich people have poor empathy, and suicidality is associated with privilege."

          why do you believe that?

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          • #6
            It's such an obvious association that I'd just start with these search terms:

            https://www.google.com/search?q=SUICIDALITY+PRIVILEGE

            https://www.google.com/search?q=RICH+PEOPLE+EMPATHY

            ...Also very much related to the reasons there's so much anxiety and depression among kids. There's a mental/psychological brittleness and frailty associated with the pathological risk aversion that defines America.

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            • #7




               

              The advice: To the young docs coming out of training, I strongly advise taking a pause between training and your first job to do something (or things) that you will enjoy and may never be able to do again. Six weeks traveling in Asia, hitting a dozen National Parks on a road trip (see Strider’s thread), completing a Grand Canyon Rim-Rim-Rim challenge, taking a cooking class…in Tuscany, following your favorite band around the country on a summer tour, attending 20 MLB games in 20 different stadiums, or whatever you think is fabulous but just too nuts to do because 1) there is no time/money to do it or 2) you can do it later.

              Later is not guaranteed. Don’t be like the old Vagabond and live with regret. Just do it.
              Click to expand...


              I tell people the same. I traveled for 4-5 weeks after my residency. Spent a ton of cash on it (saved up from moonlighting tho). No regrets.

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              • #8




                It’s such an obvious association that I’d just start with these search terms:

                https://www.google.com/search?q=SUICIDALITY+PRIVILEGE

                https://www.google.com/search?q=RICH+PEOPLE+EMPATHY

                …Also very much related to the reasons there’s so much anxiety and depression among kids. There’s a mental/psychological brittleness and frailty associated with the pathological risk aversion that defines America.
                Click to expand...


                Someone's been reading too much Tyler Cowen.

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                • #9

                  .
                  Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

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                  • #10
                    I spent 2 weeks in Europe and 2 in Canada this July, in between fellowship and my first attending job. So worth it and so glad I did it!!! Even accounting for the fact that I'm running on fumes until my first real paycheck comes in at the end of this month!!

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                    • #11
                      It's also good advice for prior to having kids.  

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                      • #12
                        I managed to spend about 6 weeks in Europe with a britrail and Eurorail passes and no definite schedule between med school and residency.  At that time having a bathroom down the hall or no heat in Scotland did not bother me.  So travel before you get used to staying at a Ritz Carlton.

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                        • #13




                          I managed to spend about 6 weeks in Europe with a britrail and Eurorail passes and no definite schedule between med school and residency.  At that time having a bathroom down the hall or no heat in Scotland did not bother me.  So travel before you get used to staying at a Ritz Carlton.
                          Click to expand...


                          I did two weeks in Peru between med school and residency, a week in the Amazon and a week in the Andes (culminating in a visit to Machu Pichu). There was certainly no Ritz in the Amazon!

                          Yes, you do get accustomed to staying in nicer places.

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                          • #14
                            No one can out vacation the vagabond.

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                            • #15




                              No one can out vacation the vagabond.
                              Click to expand...


                              I wish!

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