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  • Part time vs. semi-retired

    It's been an interesting ride over the last couple years, emerging from the depths of burnout (http://thehappyphilosopher.com/adventure-burnout/), dropping my leadership role, discarding my subspecialty and, as of today, as a part time partner.

    One thing that has surprised me is the level of interest/concern/curiosity in the medical staff regarding my status. For sure, it is unusual in our Hospital for someone to withdraw from leadership responsibilities at a relatively young age (50, for me, two years ago). And also quite unusual for a male doc to go part time. In fact, I cannot think of any male docs who ever went part time that were under 65 years old.

    I am uncomfortable with the attention and do bristle when someone tells me that they heard that I am retiring. If they say, "semi-retired", I correct them with "part time". The former seems less engaged to me, and I do plan to give it 110%...just 3 days per week.

    I think that with a new generation of physicians, this will become more common. I have a friend in another group who tells me that the new hires are frequently going part time within a handful of years after joining, so much so that as a 20 year partner, he is having trouble moving to a part time status.

    I will have to grow accustomed to the smaller paychecks and the ego hit from my wife being "the primary breadwinner", but after one day of semi-retirement part time, I have no regrets!

  • #2
    Nice work, congrats!

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    • #3
      I went through that phase of interest/concern/curiosity also when I went to part time or semi retirement.  Several wanted to know how I figured it out that I had enough.  It is an ego hit when you are not the highest earner or busiest Doctor.  Some people will think that you must have mental health issues or substance abuse problems.  In my hospital several other ob/gyns had quit ob and went part time. I think I was the youngest.  People understand because the lifestyle is so grueling. I think society still expects the male to be the chief breadwinner but this is changing.  Most female obs in my hospital have stay at home husbands.  Times are a changing. Some good and some bad.  I think you will like your new schedule.  Some docs you may inspire and others may be jealous.

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      • #4
        Hearty congratulations! Do it your way!
        My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFF...MwBiAAKd5N8qPg

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        • #5
          we have lots of primary care and ER docs go part time before 50.  not so much in specialties, unless there are health or family reasons.

          conversely we recently hired a medicine subspecialty doc who was 90% time from the start.

          congrats!

          may i ask (pm me if private) how your call, vacation and CME were affected by the part time status?

          thanks!

           

          it's a good thing for your wife to be primary breadwinner.  lucky!

          i wish i had a sugar momma.



           

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          • #6
            Tomayto, tomahto. You've made a very comfy bed, and now it's time to lie in it (for some of the time).

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            • #7


              For sure, it is unusual in our Hospital for someone to withdraw from leadership responsibilities at a relatively young age (50, for me, two years ago).
              Click to expand...


              I helped a fellow subspeciality doc, who broke off from a big group, start his specialty in a competing hospital by providing him vital coverage. He was close to retirement and the hospital wanted me to join him and eventually replace him as the leader of the program. My pay was going to triple but so would have been my work load and responsibilities. But I declined it and instead worked the 24-hour week in my office. Even though my referrals and work load have declined due to this decision of mine, I am happy that I chose that over working to death as an employed physician.

              Luckily my investment strategies early in my career made all this possible.

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              • #8




                we have lots of primary care and ER docs go part time before 50.  not so much in specialties, unless there are health or family reasons.

                conversely we recently hired a medicine subspecialty doc who was 90% time from the start.

                congrats!

                may i ask (pm me if private) how your call, vacation and CME were affected by the part time status?

                thanks!

                 

                it’s a good thing for your wife to be primary breadwinner.  lucky!

                i wish i had a sugar momma.

                ?

                 
                Click to expand...


                We do vacation a week at a time, so I still have the same number of vacation weeks (just three off days per week off). I am doing 60% of my share of weekends and get 60% allowance for CME, memberships, meetings, etc.

                I am the only one who can make decent coffee around here, so I think my postion at home is secure.

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                • #9




                  Most female obs in my hospital have stay at home husbands.  Times are a changing.
                  Click to expand...


                  Give me 6-12 months before I float that idea. If I try too soon, making good coffee will not be enough to save me.

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                  • #10
                    I guess I've been semi retired since I finished residency? Maybe it's an age/generational thing but I've never had anyone refer to me as anything other than part time. In our clinic though, only 2/8 are full time so it's more common. We're also almost all women/ moms so maybe gender roles/ expectations are at work as well? Regardless, being semi retired/ part time is awesome! You're going to love it!
                    P.S. if you want to snag that full time home spouse gig, make sure that when your wife comes home at the end of the day there's no housework or meal prep left to do. I'm sure she'll be more than happy to give you the job ;-)

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                    • #11
                      In general, I follow the "don't ask, don't tell" approach with how much/little I work.

                      When pressed, I find that "part-time" is better received than "semi-retired." Particularly with bureaucrats.

                      And similar to a secret society, I don't ever mention FIRE, let alone my concept of FICL.

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                      • #12
                        The two youngest people in our group (both in their 30s) have cut back to part-time, and one of our older members in his mid 50s will cut back to part-time in about a year.  We do offer benefits above a 0.5 FTE.

                        The funny thing is, as our pay in Emergency Medicine continues to rise, lifestyles and needs are not changing much, freeing more people to work part-time.  Most of the groups in our metro area are hiring, and there are lots of locums opportunities at great rates for those who are so inclined.  It is a good time to be an Emergency Physician in our area.

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                        • #13







                          we have lots of primary care and ER docs go part time before 50.  not so much in specialties, unless there are health or family reasons.

                          conversely we recently hired a medicine subspecialty doc who was 90% time from the start.

                          congrats!

                          may i ask (pm me if private) how your call, vacation and CME were affected by the part time status?

                          thanks!

                           

                          it’s a good thing for your wife to be primary breadwinner.  lucky!

                          i wish i had a sugar momma.

                          ?

                           
                          Click to expand…


                          We do vacation a week at a time, so I still have the same number of vacation weeks (just three off days per week off). I am doing 60% of weekends and get 60% allowance for CME, memberships, meetings, etc.

                          I am the only one who can make decent coffee around here, so I think my postion at home is secure. ?
                          Click to expand...


                          everybody loves the weekend guy.

                          do you think they would have been as accepting if you tried to work 60% of traditional workweek?  or the weekend coverage was a key factor in the discussions?  thanks

                           

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                          • #14
                            Part time definitely better than semi-retired.  Semi-retired implies in the very least that you have a foot out the door, trying to escape, consider yourself retired to some extent, you name it.  Also sounds like you're a take-it-or-leave-it type employee, someone who doesn't care about the future of the team, and at worst, possibly even a quitter or a quit-and-stay type employee.

                            Part-time is better simply because there are fewer connotations or denotations (i.e., retired).  You simply work part of the time, not full time.  That could be for a myriad of reasons, due to desire or necessity, your will or the will of the employer, nobody has to know.  Obviously those close to you will know your situation but generally part-time is going to sound like you're less of a quitter than someone who is semi-retired.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I just turned 50.  I dropped three medical directorship stipends and the associated leadership roles.  That left me at 0.7 FTE since each directorship was 0.1 FTE.  I realized if I went to 0.6 FTE I could work 3 days a week and still get benefits so that is my current life.  It seems so easy, I think of it as "semi-retired."  The points here are well-taken though and I will refer to it as part-time with my colleagues.  The situation sounds similar to Vagabond.

                              There is tremendous peer pressure to keep burning and churning.  Medicine is more than happy to let you grind yourself into a pile.  I just remind myself that the MAJORITY of physicians are burned out now so it is ok to not be "normal."

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