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In it for the money or for the passion?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by alEXatosu, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Ok guys, I am currently doing a post bacc right now taking medical school classes, and everything is going well. However, I got to thinking when i found out about another profession--anesthesiology assistant, which is pretty much a PA in anesthesiology. I got to thinking because as I look at it right now, i won't graduate medical school for another 5 years (2 year post-bacc, 4 years med school). So I'll graduate at age 27. 3-5 years of residency puts me at 30-32, before I start making anything. My thing is I want to find the specialty that makes the most, works the least, and gives me the greatest sense of self-gratification possible, not necessarily in that order. I do value my personal time and personal life, and unless I'm really lucky I'll be working a lot after residency (Ideally, I would work 40-50 hrs). Additionally, I'll probably graduate with somewhere around 200,000 dollars in debt. I don't really want to think how long it will take to pay that off. I'm not thrilled about losing my 20's (our supposed golden, young, and fun years) to studying and being a nerd, while going out once every month. I can say I like medicine and have a definite interest, but I would not call it a passion.

    On the flip side there's the anesthesiology assistant. 2 years of training post college, and you're done, making (From my research on job posting boards) 120,000-160,000-not as much money as many doctors, but still a lot nonetheless. Plus you have normal 40 hr work weeks with overtime if you want. Normally, graduation would put you around 24. No residency, and making 6 figures in your low to mid 20's sounds pretty damn nice. You have debt but nearly as much as medical school. However, you dont have MD next to your name and you're an assistant to someone. Personally, I can't figure out if I would truly be unhappy being someone's assistant.

    Basically, I don't know what I want. I know I don't like school, and maybe the AA is a shortcut or an easy way out, but it has its advantages.
    One important question that I'm sure will be different for everyone: Which will lead to a better quality of life?? As a doctor, your life will most likely be dominated by your profession, while as an AA you have more personal time for your kids, wife, fun stuff, etc. I think one of the reasons I worry about this is that my parents worked all the time, made money, but I never saw them, and they weren't happy. Also, many doctors (not all) are saying not to go into medicine. That's enough, what do all of you guys think? Am I crazy and not thinking straight??
     
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  3. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    Are you talking about being a CRNA?
     
  4. tulane06

    tulane06 Private Joker
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    Your reasoning is sound. If you are less than enthusiastic about being a medical doctor, you will have a difficult time pulling yourself through medical school and your residency. If you have no specific interest in being an M.D. other than making money, you might be better off as you said being an anesthesiology assistant and having more free time while still making some good dough. However, if you have a real passion to become a doctor, then go for it.
     
  5. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    Well, for one it sounds like you motivations are primarily money and lifestyle. I'm not going to judge... I'm sure a decent percentage of all doctors went in with the exact same motivations. But you do need to ask whether you would really enjoy the profession, or just put up with it for the money. I think that's an important question to come to grips with, because the road to get there is as you pointed out quite long.

    As for the lifestyle, I get the feeling that (after residency) doctors can work as much or as little as they want. Having your income tied directly to how much time you put in is motivation for a lot of doctors to put in long hours, but not all do. If you don't mind the hit to your income (and some specialists can certainly afford a hit), you can limit your practice. Depending on specialty (or lack of one), call hours are highly variable. Often you can avoid them altogether, so plan accordingly if that is important.

    As for the debt, large amounts appear to be more of a concern for FP/peds than for others (perhaps IM, borderline). Most specialists can pay back loans in a reasonable timeframe and still live comfortably (say, 50K after taxes) while doing so. Depending on your debt size and specialty, and how well you want to live while paying back the debt, the range might go from just two or three years to ten or fifteen.

    Hope this helps some. Sounds like you have some serious reflection to do. :thumbup:
     
  6. mbadoc

    mbadoc Senior Member
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    For only 6 more years of training, the anesthesiologist makes 2-3 times more than the assistant and works nearly the same 40 hrs/week. That extra amount makes a huge difference over a 30 year career, the difference between owning one nice house versus owning two nice houses, driving a Mercedez versus a Lexus, etc. To me it sounds like a good investment.

    Plus you get intangible benefits of autonomy, prestige, job security, etc. Suck it up for those extra six years and you will reap the huge benefits.
     
  7. FrkyBgStok

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    its all in how you make it. my grandfathers heart surgeon does two surgeries a week, NO MORE! he doesn't live in a million dollar home, but it is very nice. I am sure he puts in about 40 hours per week maybe less, but he will never make $500,000 working like that, so he chooses to work less. When you go into your own practice you can make your own hours but it porbably will affect your pay.
     
  8. jbone

    jbone Herro!
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    If you are in medicine for the money...your crazy. If you want to make some serious cash...try business (banking etc). The money a physician earns makes this whole process bearable.
     
  9. bobito

    bobito Senior Member
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    If you are talking about being a CRNA. They make similar salaries to primary care physicians.
    Anesthesiologists make much more. However you'll make more than enough to live comfortably.

    An ancillary benefit of becoming a CRNA is nursing school. A high percentage of nurses are women. If you happen to be male, you can be a coxswain of the first degree.
     
  10. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a
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    I think CRNAs have a great job from a lifestyle and income perspective. If those two things were my highest priority, being a CRNA would be a very attractive option (as would being an optometrist or pharmacist or other mid-level provider). However, in my case I know I wouldn't truly be satisfied as a health care provider unless I had the most comprehensive medical education available, along with the greatest opportunities for leadership, teaching, and possibly clinical research. So for me medicine is the best option. It may or may not be the best option for you.
     
  11. A couple of things..
    An anesthesiology assistant is NOT a CRNA, its a relatively new field. I wont go into specifics, but you can google it. Its only 2 years of training.

    I don't necessarily want to become an anesthesiologist, I'm not sure what I would want to do. My first instinct is to become a pediatrician because I have a way with kids and I think that might be where some passion may lie. But, they work a lot for the most part and their compensation isn't that great.

    I'm not in it just for the money, but it does play a large part in my decision. I'm afraid I might want to become a doctor more because I'm competetive and want to challenge myself as opposed to an actual passion.
    As you can see, I'm slightly confused.
     
  12. jbrice1639

    jbrice1639 Cub Fan, Bud Man
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    it drives me nuts how everyone on sdn thinks everyone in business makes lots of money. the reality is most people in business will be lucky to make over $30k when they graduate from college. on top of that, the market is so saturated with "business" majors that the earning growth potential is barely even existent. having spent some time in the business world, i can safely say it is not the place to go to get rich. not saying medicine is either...probably real estate or engineering are the places where the average person makes the most...but really, everything is relative, and you gotta just do what you love...the best of the best in every field make piles of money...the rest make enough to live on and get to do what they love day in and day out.
     
  13. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    No offense - but wrong, big time. Engineers make good coin - not a ton. Bankers make more money than most people realize. I'm in my 2nd year as a structuring analyst and make 200+ (yay to no med school debt). Of course my salary is normal (80), but my bonus more than makes up for it. The MD's (my MD is a managing director hehe) make 700+ easy. If you want to get rich, that is the place to be. I don't love banking as much as medicine, I can barely ever get a chance to leave this ******* office - so the $$$ isn't worth it.

    It is true that the best of the best in every field make good money - do you what you love.
     
  14. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    No kidding. Business is indeed where the big money is, but you don't get there by majoring in finance or marketing. You get there by being Warren Buffett, owning a huge portion of a company with shares that are $90,000 apiece. :p There aren't any billionaire doctors, but there are billionaire businessmen galore. However, there are far more businessmen in the sub-$100K range than there are doctors.
     
  15. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I'll also reiterate what I said in your other thread (of the same question). If you have any questions, I think that is enough to know that you probably shouldn't do this. The non-medical benefits aren't worth the effort.
     
  16. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Yay for anecdotal proof! Would you say that the majority of people who work in business really make 200 large a year? I know the answer is no.
     
  17. bobito

    bobito Senior Member
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    yes but the opportunity cost of getting a Medical degree in time and invested capital is fairly significant when compared to the earning trajectory of a smart, motivated person in the field of business.
    In medicine you lose 4 years of earning potential, even worse go into debt. And then make about 40k for a min of three years and longer if you subspecialize.

    A medical degree is a safer way to make money. But in business you can make more. Unless you're a deuche bag, then you can't make ****.
     
  18. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    On the subject of being any kind of physician extender... you will get paid less for doing just about the same thing that the doc does. This can cause resentment.

    Case in point: some years ago I was helping a sibling write an admission essay for a physician assistant program. Today the sibling is working in an urgent care clinic. Docs also work there, they see the same pool of patients but the docs are paid much, much more. At 25 my sib didn't want to train for 7 years to be a doc but at 40-something, there is that regret....
     
  19. pseudoknot

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    If you don't have any questions or doubts, you probably haven't thought deeply enough about your choices.
     
  20. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    You obviously haven't worked in business -- "deuche bags" make the most. (You don't get rich being nice.)
    It's really pretty sad that the identical topic is on at least three threads right now. Go into medicine because you like medicine. Go into something easier and more lucrative if you like money. Otherwise, when you are pulling all night calls as a resident pulling in $40k a year while your idiot college roommate works 10 hour days and makes twice that as his year end bonus, you will regret your choice.
     
  21. mbadoc

    mbadoc Senior Member
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    You say you have spent time in the business world, obviously not at an investment bank... Because from my point of view, currently working at one, I can tell you we make a #*$&! ton of money.
     
  22. bobito

    bobito Senior Member
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    I feel like deuche bag is varied and expressive term....

    There are those deuche bags who wear suits and are egocentric workaholics.
    I choose to call them pricks. a-holes ect.
    There are those deuche bags that sit around smoking pot and watching TV.
    I choose to call them deuche bags.

    Otherwise I agree with you completely. Doctors do make a pretty penny though. And the competitiveness of "lifestyle" specialties seems to indicate that no one really takes the type of advice you've proffered.
     
  23. Law2Doc

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    The truth of the matter is that I probably wouldn't have listened to much in the way of career advice when I was coming fresh out of college either. Thought I knew more of what's what than I actually did. It may just be one of those hard lessons one learns on his/her own. But medicine is a tougher path then most take to learn that lesson.
     
  24. Orthodoc40

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    That's what I started to realize last night - as much as I try to explain there are tons of opportunities to make better money with less effort out there, a number of people on this site are just going to have to learn it for themselves...
     
  25. kdburton

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    Haha. Banking is a crock... I have friends doing investment banking for JP Morgan in NY that make ~$90k/yr and they work 70+hrs/wk. If you're worried about your personal life then thats NOT the field to go into. First of all $90k in NY isnt much considering you're paying $1,500/month for just your apartment and everything else costs twice as much. Second, you'll probably have less time than most doctors to spend the money that you DO make. You could probably make just as much money working those hours in any decently paid low-level management position.
     
  26. CTSballer11

    CTSballer11 Senior Member
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    That is what worries me about business. I think that most of the docs who make a lot of money are passionate about medicine and work well into their 70's. There are the scumbag docs who are only worried about the money and not about patient care, but I do not believe these docs are to prevalent in medicine. Do not kid yourself though, the money makes it all bearable and medicine guarantees you six figures.
     
  27. Law2Doc

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    Time value of money. $90k now is going to be worth more than a higher salary that doesn't start for another 7+ years. And 70 hours per week is actually not going to seem high once you hit residency. (Plus your friends can live in Jersey or Brooklyn and commute in, to save apartment rent. And $90k base is not $90k total -- many I banks give hefty year end bonuses based on performance.) And to the latter poster, there are no guarantees in life -- there are docs who don't earn six digits out there.
     
  28. jbone

    jbone Herro!
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    Not at my previous employer (a large bank). My manager was making over $150,000 a year. Not bad for a little college don't you think? But whatever. The point is, if you are going into this profession simply for money, you have mental problems. :confused:
     
  29. SearsTower

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    I'm in it because I hate people
     
  30. neovenom

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    the way i'm looking at my future, i won't be seeing the money for a while (lots of years to go plus the debt i'll come out with). and the money that the average doctor makes isn't enough to make me think all this hard work is worth it. but, what is worth it is my chance to do something i've wanted to do since i seriously started considering a career choice. i get to learn about how the body works, and use that knowledge to help people. as a bonus, i get excellent job security and pretty good pay after a while. besides, i don't need a big mansion or fancy cars. i'd be content with a safe neighborhood and a used honda... and a guitar collection :D
     
  31. Shredder

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    this is an excellent point. ppl think warrenn buffett got rich by simply being good at picking the right stocks and investments. not so. hes very active in buying and selling entire companies and overseeing their workings. buffett built that company (berkshire hathaway) and many others. its funny, wall street breathed a collective gasp when he bought a large portion of dairy queen (not known as the most classy eatery)

    business is really not the easy road to money like silly sdners say. business majors are a dime a dozen, youll only break 6 figures if youre something pretty special, whereas if you make it into medical school you dont have to be anything special for the rest of your life to make 6 figures. the vast majority of sdners dont have the talent required to make 100k unless its in medicine. and that applies to doctors too. theres a difference between business savvy and medical expertise. if you want a guaranteed good lifestyle, there is no better way to it than medicine. all you need is some good grades and test scores, and BS ECs and you are set. grades, test scores, and ECs will get you nowhere in the real world with cutthroat competitors.

    to the poster who cited the 200k pay, thats not an accurate way to make a generalization. its akin to a pro athlete saying, hey i did it, if you want money then you should devote all of your time to playing sports and be like me. its not that extreme but its similar. you must have talent, but i doubt most sdners can mimic that in spite of their booksmarts and involvement in ECs.
     
  32. MedicalMagic

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    The nature of the business of practicing medicine has changed over the years. Nowadays physicians earn significantly less money than they did two decades ago. Furthermore the medical system has become more and more of a bureaucratic mess. Consequently, you should only decide to go into medicine if you are truly interested in the field of medicine as a discipline of study and opportunity to make tangible differences in people's lives. Choosing medicine as a career instead of another career in order to make more money is misinformed and foolish. The money that comes later simply adds to the security or practicing medicine. If you want to make the big buckaroos, go on the Apprentice show and talk to Donny, or start selling stuff and making chi-chingees.

    -Medical Magic
     
  33. Shredder

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    pc speak

    do you have numbers for current and past physician salaries to prove that. normally im not the type to ask for data but in this instance id like to know
     
  34. bkpa2med

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    Be realistic. Everybody does it for both for the most part, but you have some who only want the money. If you do it only for the money and find yourself working crazy hours, you won't like it.
     
  35. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Here's a little bad news for those hoping to match some physician salaries of the last decade:

    http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2005/12/medicare.html
     
  36. novawildcat

    novawildcat Senior Member
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    Ahhhh then why can't you use this answer when adcoms ask you in interviews "Why do you want to be a doctor?" :D
     
  37. Shredder

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    8%. 100-92=8%. (150k)(.92) = 138k. that still puts medicine as the highest paying profession on average (or at least on median). in fact 138k is being generous, since the median income of docs is somewhere around 150-200 and the distribution is skewed toward the high side, just like income in america where you have people like trump at the far right tail end. the AMA makes sure to preserve doctor supply and salaries at the expense of patients

    i dont see why motivation to pursue medicine should have any bearing on admissions decisions. only merit and ability should matter. i guess power hungry people will act on any whims they want to.

    make your school a little less obvious. i know youre holding up my app--your loss
     
  38. Slide

    Slide Finally, no more "training"
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    For all of you guys that think business is a much easier way to cruise through college and making money, here's some insight I've learned from my classmates. A lot are in Wharton.


    -If you want to get a good internship, your GPA needs to be good, namely 3.5+. The real motivated individuals doing business will be just as anal and studious with their GPA.
    -If many of your business classes are quantitative, you'll be staying in on weekends as well. All those Excel projects need to be completed sometime, and you'll need a huge chunk of time to do it; one hour per night isn't going to cut it.
    -You better enjoy doing lots of group projects that require you to stay up late. Expect to stay up later if you have group members that like to quarrel and are very opinionated.
    -You will master the art of negotiation and decision-making by the end of college. However, you'll learn that the attitude is based strictly upon numbers. At the end, the person with the highest net gain is the winner. Ethics and morality are not relavant. The skill of bull****ting and even lying will be greatly used as well. There has been a ton of talk about corporate ethics, and even classes teaching these things, but when the time comes, people will be tempted to go for the highest gain.
    -If you're doing OCR for an internship (On Campus Recruiting), get that resume polished and strong by the end of soph fall semester. Interviews begin in January. Once you begin the OCR, you get selected by companies that have a slight interest in you. When you get selected, you'll have to go through three rounds of invites. If you don't do satisfactory on the first interview for a certain company, you've blown your chance with that company. Don't expect to get any other kind of work done; everything is second or less priority.
    -If you're going for a job, the process is similar, except you start at the beginning of your senior year, and the process ends around November. Also, you'll have four rounds of interviews to pass. If you don't get an offer during this period, you're on your own to get a job. You'll often have to look towards the smaller or less prestigious business firms.
    -If you land that internship, I hope you like being someone's bitch. Not only will you be working 40+ hours a week stuck in a cubicle staring at a computer screen, you better know how to mix the right proportions of sugar, cream, and coffee.
    -If all goes well and you land that job at UBS, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, etc., you better have a good work ethic and a suck-it-up attitude. You'll be working 60+ hour weeks during your first few years (80+ if you're an investment banker), and you'll be the guy that'll be in the office on a Friday night. Did I say office? I meant cubicle. On the bright side, you'll be making a good amount of cash. Now if you had the time to spend it. Well at least maybe those college loans can be finally paid off. As one of my friends said after working at UBS as an investment banker, "Anyone that says they like investment banking is lying."
    -If you wanna move up the food chain, you're gonna have to put in more work than is required for the average person. You also better have either an uncanny sense of judgment, or be really lucky. The bozo that picks the right company to invest in, or gives a random answer that is, by some sheer of luck, correct, will get the raise.
    -After a while, you may wanna go for that MBA. It's actually not that bad, just two years of class. However, if you plan to work, you may have to do night school, or classes on the weekend.

    I hope I didn't bore you guys too much with that brief process of going into business. Point I'm trying to make is that, yeah, you'll be making money quicker, but don't expect it to be an easy life as well. After 10-15 years, doctors and businessmen will basically be at the same point financially; able to live comfortably. However, as a doctor, you're going to have more autonomy and probably a better enjoyment of free time and life. If you think you're bitter, wait till you see these business men at age 30. So if you're thinking about switching to business just because you'll have an easier life and will be making tons of money, you may wanna rethink that.
     
  39. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LizzyM
    Here's a little bad news for those hoping to match some physician salaries of the last decade:

    http://www.northwestern.edu/newscen...2/medicare.html

    Quote:
    This change is expected to result in an 8 percent decrease in the mean revenue of oncologists and a decrease in physician reimbursement for cancer drugs.

    For someone who is such a business guru it is a shame that you don't appreciate the difference between revenue and income. Revenue drops a small amount but income will drop significantly (1/3-1/2 IIRC) because other fixed costs remain steady when revenue declines due to lower reimbursement for services.
     
  40. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I tend to disagree. MBA programs are easilly the least work intensive of all graduate schools. That is why so many folk manage to both do the programs and hold down a full time job (a number of schools have night courses specifically for this reason). You will spend far fewer weekends working on B school assignments then you would on, say law school or med school. You will do tons of group projects, which usually means that the smartest person in the group gets the A for the rest. You will quickly master the art of "winging it". You will do a lot of power point presentations, and will get really good a doing spreadsheets on excel, which are skills useful throughout your life, but not particularly intelligence intensive. As for unethical behavior, and work lifestyle, that's pretty much the same in most professions -- there will be people who play be the rules, work hard and people who don't.
     
  41. Dixie06

    Dixie06 Member
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    In response to the primary question, why do so many people think that that choosing a career for money or passion are mutually exclusive motivators? If you are passionate about something, you are bound to be successful. Plus, physician salaries are not the end-all-be-all. Working endless hours will not make you rich OR happy. Its what you do with your income that matters. Make it work for you.
     
  42. Slide

    Slide Finally, no more "training"
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    Woops, I didn't mean to come across as MBA being extremely work intensive. Many MBA programs are simply a rehash of undergrad classes with practicality lessons thrown in. What I was saying was that if you got an MBA and was working full time, night/weekend classes will probably be the time schedule for classes.
     
  43. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I don't think people are saying that you can't have multiple motivators. Howerver, if money is a primary driving force, you are simply not going to feel that medicine is worth it. The training is too many years, the hours too long, the work too emotionally draining for someone with such motivation. Honestly, if money is even one of your top two or three reasons for choosing that career, you probably won't be happy with your career choice. You will see people you know having more free time and making more money elsewhere, and you will be constantly dreading monday mornings and forever counting your days between paychecks. If, however, you really love what you do, then you will find your pay, whatever it is so long as it comfortably covers your needs, adequate. If you're lucky, it will be more than adequate - but that should matter less than enjoying what you do.
     
  44. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    It seems as if folks sort of naturally gravitate towards MBAs as some sort of assurance of income. A few points:

    * MBAs are dime-a-dozen. Read the trade mags and journals and almost all studies unanimously agree on one point: if you're not going to go to one of the top programs in the country, your MBA will probably not pay for it financially (if you're not sure if a program is one of the top ones, it probably isn't).

    * MBAs do not make up for experience. In fact, if you speak to those with 20 years or so of work under their belt, they'll almost all tell you that how much you'll get out of an MBA program is directly proportional to how much work experience you have when you start it.

    * There are lost of unemployed MBAs. Sort of ties in to the two points above.

    Just a couple thoughts. I'm just a bit amused by folks who talk about things like IBanking as if they're this Plan B that can always be pursued and make you rich. It doesn't work like that. Aside from experience, work ethic, intelligence, and education (probably in that order), there's a whole lot of luck involved.
     
  45. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    I just refer to the handy dandy occupational outlook handbook but out by uncle sam every year.

    Things still look good for physicians.
     
  46. Shredder

    Shredder User
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    id be interested in finding out some information about standard deviations. means and medians only tell half the story. available?
     
  47. physiclas87

    physiclas87 Member
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    take a statistics class
     
  48. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    Go to the Occupational Handbook Website.
    Go to detailed stats.
    You can choose Physicians.
    It will show data for docs working in all industries including BIZ.

    http://data.bls.gov/oes/search.jsp?data_tool=OES

    choose one occupation in multiple industry.
    Find physicians.
    Use ALL sectors
    Use ALL industries.
     
  49. bobito

    bobito Senior Member
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    This is off topic. But, I'd just like to point out that you might want to stick to talking about things you know something about. To me you sound naive and ill informed.

    Buffet was first and foremost a student of Benjamin Graham in the field of....yes value investing. "picking stocks"
    Buffet aquired the money to buy Berkshire and Hathaway through private partnerships where he in fact....picked stocks with other peoples money.
    Yes he did restyle Berkshire and Hathaway from a textile to an Insurance company after much consternation I might add....at which point he used the float of the insurance company to yes....pick stocks.

    Buffett is known for buying companies and retaining the original management. He is known for having a hands off approach in regard to the management of the companies he owns. He is not known for restyling the management or direction of companies. He is known for yes picking stocks....which I hope you realize at a fundamental level is the ownership rights of a business. And ultimately... picking stocks and buying businesses is the same thing, if like Buffett you do not change the management of the company upon buying the whole thing.
     
  50. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    Or you don't like working 80 hours a week, or you're not a brown-noser, or you have a shread of integrity. There are a lot of things that can go wrong on the corporate road to fame and fortune. For those not burdened with any of these shortcomings, :thumbup: .
     
  51. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    In all fairness, I'm not sure there aren't folk with and without integrity in all fields, including medicine. As I think the MD/MBA hopefulls posting on this thread will agree, an interest in business does not necessarilly make you less honest, ethical, or decent. Nor is a field like medicine immune from lapses of integrity -- There are always going to be doctors in jail for various medicare frauds and other foibles.
    At any rate, this thread seems to be futile cycling.
     

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