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Mid career physicians who have changed careers

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  • Mid career physicians who have changed careers

    It appears that many, if not most, of the topics here are geared toward younger physicians, in residency, finishing training, and early into their post-training careers. It is great to see so many who are concerned about their finances, learning the basics and advanced topics, and make prudent financial decisions that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

    I do not see as much participation from older physicians, like myself, but wondered if there were any out there who were considering career changes or who have made significant career changes. I am not talking about job changes, say going from Attending Surgeon and Associate Professor of the University of North Minnesota to Attending Surgeon in private practice at the Freezing Cold Community Hospital in northern Minnesota. I am talking about going from Attending Surgeon to television producer, Grand Canyon tour guide, Disney World parade talent, or ice cream entrepreneur.

    Any great stories out there from docs who have left the white coat behind? What made you do it and how did you get it done?

  • #2
    If they have left behind the White Coat for good, they're not particularly likely to be lurking on the White Coat Investor Forums.

    There are quite a few health system CEOs out there who were once practicing physicians.

    Here's one from Reddit about an ENT who now works at a liquor store, plays poker, builds websites, and uses and sells psychotropics.

    Many of the career change stories I've seen over the years are stories of burned out physicians who transitioned to blue collar jobs like carpentry, or maybe opened a bed and breakfast.


    • #3
      I had a 4th yr med student rotating with me who dropped out of school and is now a multi-millionaire at age 28.

      He sent me a screenshot of his winnings as documented on ESPN: live video gaming.


      • #4
        There are lots of docs who have done this, usually after becoming disillusioned with medicine. There are entire conferences on the topic. Here's one in Chicago in October:
        Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011


        • #5
          Looking at that website it looks like it's still healthcare related...just not clinical MD job. May be for some who have had issues keeping their clinical duties or getting licensed/credentialed/etc. whatever to continue clinical duties. But of course also for those who are looking to get out of the grind of clinical medicine/burned out and are looking for diff area of work but still can use their medical knowledge/expertise


          I think OP is also looking for those who really change completely away from healthcare-related (admin, consulting, pharm, devices, etc.) field into something totally different. Which is awesome.


          I've thought about and actually posted on a aviation forum about possible pilot career after a MD career...but sadly the pilot industry is over-saturated and it takes early years and long hours to even get to sit in the good seat no a large wide-body jet for a major airline (30yr + tens of thousands of hours).


          I had a student rotate few months ago who is in his 40s and used to be a vintage car restoration business and another who used to be a math teacher.




          • #6
            A client, partner in ob/gyn practice, quit practicing medicine a couple of years ago. She was severely burnt out and her financial projections made it clear she could quit working and do what she enjoyed as she lives quite frugally and has no plans to change. At this point, she is teaching part-time in a small private high school, very low pay but she says she's never been happier. She definitely shows it and I think it will end up adding years to her life. She's considering going back to school but still has kids in college and is in no rush.
            My passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors 270-247-6087 for CPA clients (we are Flat Fee for both CPA & Fee-Only Financial Planning)
            Johanna Fox, CPA, CFP is affiliated with Wrenne Financial for financial planning clients


            • #7
              Yes, if you can hang with medicine long enough to become financially independent, or at least get to the point where you're done saving, well, you can do anything you want.

              At that point, it's all about what you want. Another career, Mai Tais on the beach, more time with kids or recreation etc.

              But in my experience, people who want out of medicine AREN'T yet anywhere near financial independence and ideally want something that pays as much as medicine but doesn't involve seeing patients. In that case, leveraging your medical experience is usually your best bet. Other careers that pay as much as medicine often require just as much time and sacrifice and sometimes even more risk. Who's to say you won't be burnt out on that long before you get to the good years?
              Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011


              • #8
                I do feel I have changed careers. (However  I am not leading the Disney parade or am a Grand Canyon kayak guide; I still wear a white coat).

                I used to feel always rushed  and stressed. My work day now  relaxed. I  am not called by the ER anymore to see a patient ASAP ( if I am on call or not). When called by a referring MD to see a patient in the hospital, I very nicely say that I gave up my hospital privileges a while ago ( the calls are getting rare since I have not had hospital privileges in 5 years). When asked to work a patient in, I very nicely state that I am unable to do.

                I guess I am in the golden years of my career and reached financial independence about 10 years ago. It has been liberating and I changed my mindset from seeing as many patients and working long hours to a regular 50 hour work week without call and  6 weeks of vacation. Before I was trying to figure out how to deal with partners, increase income and work smarter, faster and being an intrepreneur on the side while battling change. I tried hiring associates, but that practice model is not feasible or worth the emotional and financial drudgery.

                I miss the entrepreneur challenge, but overall am very happy just seeing patients and do not have to be concerned about ordering renumerative procedures.  It is liberating not to try to be all things to all people ( patients and referring MDs alike).

                For now I am planning to work indefinitely and may work less hours if the mood strikes.