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My job hunt!

Discussion in 'Pathology' started by GreatPumpkin, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    Just want to post my job hunting experiences for you all. Take into account this may not be everyone's experience.

    Some facts about myself that may or may not explain some of my success.

    Advantages:
    -I am a white male US grad (There is still prejudice out there, no matter what job you are looking. It is unfortunate, but not something anyone should ignore.)
    -I am graduating from a pretty well respected program.
    -My CV looks pretty nice with research, military experience (war vet), supervisor experience and I was Chief.
    -I am relatively outgoing and very friendly.
    -I like heme and am pretty good at it.

    Disadvantages:
    -I am older than the average grad (this may be an advantage for some places, but may not for some)
    -I am a big fella (big boned like Eric Cartman, hehe)
    -Long time married with no kids. Some folks find this weird.
    -I am not doing a fellowship.

    Search:
    I started looking for a job in September. I fixed up my CV and started sending it out to any job that I found interesting. I found job listings on www.pathologyoutlines.com, www.cap.org, and ones that were sent to me via my program director. I also put my name out to headhunters that I met at the last CAP meeting in Chicago. Overall, I probably emailed out 20 to 25 CVs.

    I am not tied down to one place so I sent CVs out to jobs all over the country. There were also local/regional jobs I had heard about that I didn't even send CVs, that probably would have easily resulted in more interviews, but I didn't really want to stay where I currently live.

    I only sent CVs to partnership tract groups. I am not interested in being a hospital employee or working for a national lab. I was very picky with the places I sent CVs.

    Search results:
    I was offered 5 interviews, 2 of which I turned down due to the quality of the other 3 I had been offered.

    Interviews:
    I went to interviews in Texas, Ohio and Indiana. The groups pick up the tab for the flights and hotel. It is a typical job interview. Plus, they try to sell you on them as well. In one of the interviews I was placed in the driver seat of a multi-headed scope, given a pile of cases and asked to go through them. This was unexpected, but I just sucked it up and did the best I could. All the places I interviewed were also interviewing others. I was also honest with them when asked if I was interviewing other places.

    Talking money:
    All the groups talked money without me asking. Which I would not have done on an initial interview. Money ranged from 160s to over 200, some with no benefits included, others with everything included (malpractice, health insurance, retirement, continuing education fund). Vacation ranging from 4 weeks to 10 weeks. Partnership ranging from 2 years to 3 years.

    Actual job offers:
    After I had finished the interviews I knew for sure which place I wanted to go. And, as it happened they offered me the job before the other two places. So I informed the other two groups I was no longer interested in their positions, so I do not know whether or not I would have received contracts from them. Probably would have had at least one more, but can't say for sure.

    So just a few days ago I signed my job contract and will be going to Indiana in July. I am thrilled, it is an awesome job with a great group of people.

    I hope this helps you guys/gals when you start.

    A couple of tips:
    -One mistake I made was that I should have sent out a paper copy as well to places I was really interested in and follow up with a phone call.
    -I did not cold call anywhere, but would have had I needed too.
    -Don't under estimate your worth.
     
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  3. AngryTesticle

    AngryTesticle Happy Gonad
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    Congrats GP. You deserve it!

    P.S. You're not big boned. You're festively plump.
     
  4. uhoh!

    uhoh! Phobophile
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    As always, really informative post GP :)
    CONGRATS :thumbup: and good luck! :luck:
     
  5. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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  6. AngryTesticle

    AngryTesticle Happy Gonad
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    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    "Tis the season to STFU and stop being a whiny bitch." That was the best. Oh I'm gonna be playin' this **** at work as Christmas approaches.
     
  7. cytoborg

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    Congrats GP! It must feel great to have finally arrived after so many years of training! And thanks for the insight into the mysterious job-hunt process.

    Would you mind sharing a couple things you were looking for in the practice and/or the contract (or things to avoid)? Did you have an attorney look over the contract before you signed it?

    I feel like I'm floating so far out in the academic sea that I can barely see the shore. Of course I'm only a first year, but I'm trying to get my bearings on what kind of job I'm heading toward, and it helps to hear from people who have made it through. :oops:
     
  8. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    The coffee house episode (Small, medium and large), Squirley Songs and the Fatkins diet episodes are also just unbelievable. :laugh:

    You can see those here.

    http://www.freewebs.com/foamy_squirrely_wrath/
     
  9. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    Contract:
    -yes get an attorney to look it over

    The things I looked for in a practice:
    -Small to medium sized group, anywhere from 3 to 7 people was my range. Any less than 3 you don't have people for vacations and you are on call too much. Any more than 7 and I just thought it was too dang big.

    -Only wanted a practice that was offering a partnership tract. Some practices would love to hire you as an employee and leave you like that forever.

    -All the places I went were replacing retiring people, which made me feel good about the fact that yes they are looking for another partner not just someone to hire for a few years and kick out the door. Though there are no guarantees.

    -I specifically inquired whether they had any turnover recently (last 5 years). I did it numerous times with the different people I met in the group. If they had likely someone would have spilled the beans. If you find a group that has make sure you get the name and where they went so you can contact them and get their side of the story.

    -I extensively researched the demographics and locations of the hospitals that the groups cover. I didn't want to be working in a cruddy place. I searched demographics on the internet and housing in the area through reality sites.

    -Inquire about the number of specimens they get per year. You should have around four thousand per pathologist. Much more you are going to be really working hard and less you wonder who is not pulling their load that they need another pathologist.

    -Pathologist assistant would be nice. Though I am going somewhere they don't have one. I will be grossing every 4th day.

    If I think of anything else I will add.

    If anyone has any other questions ask away.
     
  10. cytoborg

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    That's very interesting - all great things to keep in mind. Thanks for the useful advice.
     
  11. AngryTesticle

    AngryTesticle Happy Gonad
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    Thanks GP.

    I'm at work previewing now and I've been playing an episode or two between each case.
     
  12. pathdawg

    pathdawg Senior Member
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    The one question I have for the OP is why not do a fellowship? I am glad to hear that you scored your first job without one, but it could only help you in the future.

    Not to throw a wet blanket on things, but I once saw a stat that said that a majority (>50%) of pathologists leave their 1st job after 3-5 years.

    The one thing you most definitely have in your favor is that your position is partnership tract. That is getting tougher and tougher to find these days.
     
  13. deschutes

    deschutes Thing
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    I wondered that too. Maybe 'cos "you can always go back and do a fellowship"?

    Thanks GP. Posting a link to this thread in the Jobs Info Sticky.
     
  14. AngryTesticle

    AngryTesticle Happy Gonad
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    I think this is more feasible for those who plan to do postdocs after minimal residency training...which is why there may be no fellowship in the near future for me. For these folks, who fail during their postdocs and must return to the clinical world to put food on the table and feed their kids, doing a fellowship can be a step up towards a more lucrative direction.

    For those who are going into private practice, I don't know of anyone who would want to give up what they had to go back and do a fellowship at relatively meager pay.
     
  15. deschutes

    deschutes Thing
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    Have you got your van all picked out? :p

    Reverting to the private practice scenario, the algorithm then seems like:

    apply for jobs --> no jobs forthcoming, or none you'd like to have --> do fellowship

    versus

    apply for jobs --> dream job turns up --> no fellowship necessary.
     
  16. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    I never intended to do a fellowship. I knew I wanted to do general surgical path in a relatively small town private practice. That type of job does not need me to do a fellowship in a specific area. I am also a 5 year resident. So realistically I am getting a fellowship compared to the AP/CP grads in the 4 year programs. I also feel I am well trained and ready to work.

    I also felt early on that I would have no problem finding a good job. So why put off partnership one more year and making practicing physician money for one more year? The opportunity cost was too high in my book. Only Derm could have possibly made up the opportunity cost and I am not in love with looking at skin lesions all the time. My starting salary is just as much as the fellows leaving my program that I know about (5 years worth, we don't have derm though).

    There is nothing wrong with doing fellowships even if you just want a small group like me, it will make you more marketable, and maybe a better pathologist.

    Probably 50% of people do change jobs within 5 years. But, that includes people who go work for labcorp, academics and such which would skew the statistics. And, if I have to change jobs later so be it, I will have more money in the bank and a few years in actual practice under my belt.
     
  17. Brian Pavlovitz

    Brian Pavlovitz give me that marrow!
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    Congrats, GP!! :thumbup: You certainly deserve it!
     
  18. pathdawg

    pathdawg Senior Member
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    I think the point is that it would be a short-term sacrifice for a long-term benefit.
    I think that doing a fellowship in any of the "Big Three" (Derm, Heme, and Cyto) is worth the one-year sacrifice. Of course, there are many many pathologists out there who have no fellowship training and have thrived. It is a personal decision, however, I always recommend doing one of those three fellwoships.
     
  19. sapience8x

    sapience8x Senior Member
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    Congrats and thanks for sharing your experiences!
    I am a little concerned about what you said about prejudice being out there. how bad is it uot there for a under represented minority? Is this really prevalent? also is prejudice alive and well at reisdency programs? just concerned...
     
  20. yaah

    yaah Boring
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    Being an underrepresented minority is not the issue. It is being a non-american that is the issue. Many people doing the hiring may hesitate to hire foreign grads (don't blame me, I am the messenger), in some cases because of a language barrier.
     
  21. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory.
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    Definitely agree on getting legal representation, luckily an old college roomate is now a contracts lawyer...

    My vacation packs ranged ALOT from around 4 weeks all the way up to 26 weeks (yes 26 weeks). Actually have an offer that at the full partner level is a mere 20 weeks on/yr. Salary is lower but not that bad, all things considered.

    My 2 cents: I made a HUGE mistake last year by signing on what I thought was a sweetheart contract deal very early last year (about this time) and ended up having to pass on opportunities that would have been truly golden....Im not doing that now fo sure. Honestly, until youve been out in the real world for a few years, Im not sure you have a good enough gauge to make solid choices, some people luck out, others dont with their first real job.

    My strategy: Stall stall stall. At least until Jan.

    Good luck with your gig Rob. You have to do procedures (ala Bms, FNAs etc) there?

    Other stuff: People told me that if a group gives you a test set of slides to look at, that is a huge red flag, stay away. I honestly believe that now! It shows they have no reserve about humilating people in public.

    I think people should make a list of dealbreakers and stick by it,
    for example if you absolutely hate paps, dont do em, plenty of groups that outsource that caca.
    if you depise bone marrows, dont do em.
    if you can read stat FNAs to save your life, dont do em.
    etc. similar to finding a spouse I guess. (I cant handle women with dogs especially big dogs, it really creeps me out, e.g. dealbreaker)
     
  22. cytoborg

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    Interesting LADoc. And 26 weeks???!!! Holy &*((^&ing #$%^!!!!!
     
  23. pathdawg

    pathdawg Senior Member
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    This is why I enjoy LA's work here so much. My man speaks THE TRUTH. When I look back now on my decisions after my fellowship, I can see, through my retroscope, many mistakes that I would never make today. Here is my take on what LA said above:

    1. LA's strategy to stall. I completely agree. So many people panic and take the first seemingly decent position offered. Don't do it. The market typically heats up in Feb and March. Make patient, informed, and calm decisions.
    2. Honestly, until youve been out in the real world for a few years, Im not sure you have a good enough gauge to make solid choices, some people luck out, others dont with their first real job. Truer words have never been spoken. I myself had a terrible first job. I was there less than a year before I left for greener pastures. As a resident and fellow, I really didn't have a clue in terms of what constituted a good job. There really is no substitute for experience.
    3. The "red flag" of the spontaneous surgical unknown test. Absolutely true. This is an absolute deal breaker. If an employer is this much of an ass ot do this, I don't want to work with him/her.
    4. One thing I would add is this: During the interview, observe how the boss treats other people in the office. Not just other staff, but the lab techs, the secretaries, the janitors, etc. If the boss is rude or condescending to these people, then run, don't walk. They'll be treating you like that soon.
     
  24. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    I didn't feel all that concerned about the on the spot "test". It really didn't have much of a test feel. It is not like they game me a box of slides and some paper and said come back with the answers. It was more like they just wanted to see if I could handle a little pressure. One of the partners who I had been talking with for an hour or so just had me sit at her scope and she sat at the other head and I talked through some cases. I got the feeling getting the correct answer was not as important as just being confident and coming up with decent differentials (because many of the cases were not really possible to diagnose without specials and/or more history).

    I did not experience it but I did hear of places that just gave you a box and said go write down your answer. That would have been a red flag for me. In that scenario the group doesn't get to see how you really think and react to pressure.

    Also, I totally agree with checking out the interaction between the partners and the support staff. Also, if you go to dinner with them check out the interactions with the wait staff. Find out about turn over for the support staff too. If they are going through secretarial staff, techs and transcriptionists at an alarming rate then that might also be a red flag.

    I actually didn't want to wait too long in the year before securing a job. One reason I didn't want to be worrying with that and boards at the same time. Another is my wife works in the school system as a speech therapist and needed to know where we would be going as early as possible because most school systems start hiring in the early spring for the next year.

    I agree with taking your time and finding what you think will suit you best though. Hopefully it is a job you will be staying at for many many years. Out of the three places I interviewed, only the job I took was a slam dunk for me. I would have stalled on the Texas job and never ever taken the Ohio job.

    One nice thing for me is I am not really tied down to any location so if the job doesn't work out, I doubt I will have much problem securing another. And, I will not get in debt over my head until I work awhile and know this job is the "right" one.

    The group doesn't do many bone marrows or FNAs, nor autopsies. They do do paps. I trained with Frable (and we are required to do many months) so cyto is not a bid deal, but paps are a pain. Luckily the group also has a cytopath trained partner.

    Wow, 26 weeks vacation!
     
  25. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory.
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    Had an interesting afternoon yesterday, the group that offered 26 weeks/yr increased it to 30 weeks (starting) and offered to pay me almost a grand a day to "interview" and look at some of their cases. Suspiciously, its starting to sound to go to be true, but I got another call about a job where they are offering to throw in a 2 bed/2bath fully furnished apartment..free, the location is very, very desirable in California. Thats a nice pretax bene. They also offered to match the "interview retainer" of the other group.
    The lesson is Im fairly happy I decided to wait to accept an offer.
     
  26. Willie B

    Willie B Senior Member
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    So,

    Does this mean that the job front isn't as bad as everyone says it is?

    Congrats GP. You definetly deserve it.
     
  27. yaah

    yaah Boring
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    As I have said before, I caution everyone to not interpret what one person says as speaking for "everyone." I have never said anything about the job front being bad. The job market will fluctuate from year to year in every location. It may be tough in one specific area of the country and a bonanza in another. I posted a while back, the USCAP treasurer was here last year and talked about the job market being very good. There will always be a few people who have trouble finding jobs due to various reasons, but be careful about applying what one person says to others.
     
  28. drPLUM

    drPLUM Got your tickets?
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    There are other medical fields that have a similar job market to pathology but don't seem to have the same worries. For instance, not every field has a job market like anesthesia and radiology do right now. If you do a gas or rads residency at any reputable program you can get a job just about anywhere you want. There are plenty of fields like urology, ENT, and ophtho (these come to mind because I know residents in these fields who are hunting) where people have to move and search for the right position. Do you think every newly minted ophtho grad just hangs a shingle and all of the sudden has tons of cataract surgeries waiting for them everyday? From the residents I've talked to competition for ophtho jobs (and other subspecialty) in large, desirable cities is keen. Yet, this doesn't scare folks away from ophtho residencies, just as an example (not trying to start an ophtho thread discussion).

    But then again, I have asked the job market question on this forum before myself. The more I learn though, the more I don't think it is that much different from some other fields.
     
  29. SLUsagar

    SLUsagar rock chalk jayhawk
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    GREATPUMPKIN,
    you have to gross? what the heck are you serious? i wonder how many places offering jobs nowadays make you gross! I mean sure, if they're willing to pay me 250+ starting i'd think about it, but jeez, as a 5th year + resident? come on. wow, i'm shocked; thought you'd be done with that.
     
  30. Gut Shot

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    One of our cyto fellows is/was favoring a job that has her grossing. My reaction was similar to yours, and her response was "Why would I mind grossing? It's completely mindless and a nice break from the scope."

    I have little love for grossing, but I can see her point.
     
  31. pathdawg

    pathdawg Senior Member
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    I have had two jobs in the 5 years since I finished training. The first one (which I left after 8 months) featured daily grossing. I also justified it in the beginning as "not being so bad". It was bad. I would be very busy signing out cases and then had to stop and gross for two hours. It was a mundane waste of time.
    My current position (which I have been at for over 4 years) does not include grossing (we have a PA). It is a much much better situation. I could never go back to daily grossing now.
     
  32. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory.
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    Dude let me rain on your parade now: MOST jobs especially at smaller groups require grossing. Sure if you want to be Kaiser's little biotch forever, then you wont have to gross. I would say a straight up 50% of my interviews were with groups where the pathologists grossed everything including POCs and Bx's!!!
     
  33. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory.
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    Pathdawg, got the word on a "group in distress" and wondering if you ever heard of a situation of someone doing a hostile takeover on a practice? By my calculations it is close to a seven figure net/yr gig. The thought of having my own practice with no buy in/parternship wait etc. is intriguing....although it sounds like alot of work!

    I feel the grossing B.S. tho, it definitely does suck. But bro, when I gross (every other day), its for like 6 hours straight! I grossed in 70 cases in a single day last week. Hence, Im leaving this job...

    ....LADOC going into ninja-mode.
     
  34. pathdawg

    pathdawg Senior Member
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    I have heard of "hostile takeovers", but that usually involves fairly large groups negotiating with hospital systems and undercutting the current pathologist(s) out of their deal. I haven't heard of a lone guy manuevering a hostile takeover (not that it can't happen, I just have never heard of that happening). Sounds interesting, tho.
     
  35. Gut Shot

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    Oh, dear God. I'd just as soon shave my pubic hair with a Weed Eater.
     
  36. yaah

    yaah Boring
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    I would much rather gross than have to do bone marrow biopsies or FNAs or **** like that. One of the major hospitals in the detroit area (Beaumont) has all the bone marrow biopsies done by pathologists apparently.
     
  37. pathdawg

    pathdawg Senior Member
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    Dude,
    Let me let you in on a simple little equation:

    Procedures=$$$

    Grossing=tech level work

    Given the choice, the would MUCH rather do bone marrow bxs and fna's. No brainer.
     
  38. kaw

    kaw Member
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    thanks for the posts. It is interesting to read about down the road issues for me. One curious thing which I focus on way too much is malpractice. I would like to know if Path still has lower malpractice premiums than other specialities??? Any insights would be appreciated.

    thanks
     
  39. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    I am a small town type of guy. And, most small town practices will not have a PA. I don't really have a problem with grossing I just don't want to do it all the time. Once a week will be no big deal. And, as you said they are paying me well. ;)
     
  40. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    Overall the rates are lower for pathologists, but from what I can tell the rates vary from state to state quite dramatically. Maybe one of the practicing guys can give more insight.
     
  41. yaah

    yaah Boring
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    This is an archaic vestige of the past when procedures were compensated much more than interpretation, because it is tangible and easy for the public to understand. I feel this may change in the future as procedures are done more frequently by techs and PAs. Grossing the specimen is part of the diagnosis and needs to be done well. Sticking a ****ing needle in a lump is something that is only difficult if you don't do a lot of them. And if you have someone trained to do only this with their day, the results will be a LOT better.
     
  42. pathdawg

    pathdawg Senior Member
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    While I agree with you that the interpretation part should be compensated more, the fact is that it is not. Archaic vestige of the past? Not yet. For example, currently for a frozen section, we are paid more for the Part A (technical) component than we are the Part B (professional) component. That is the reality, no matter how distastelful it may seem. I agree with you that this is crazy. The same applies to an fna. This is why we as pathologists should not give up these procedures.
     
  43. dermoid cyst

    dermoid cyst Junior Member

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    if you do not mind my asking - are they paying you in the 200K range? if that is the case, without a fellowship, i would say that you did very well in looking for a job. ive been told that salaries for path coming out of residency without a fellowship were in the order of 120K.
     
  44. mcfaddens

    mcfaddens Member
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    Procedeures= $$$$
    This is true in all specialites of medicine
    I come from a family full of physicians (2 brothers, dad, 5 aunts and uncles) they have all told me the same thing if you can do a procedure go for it, especially if you are in a small group or solo. Even for psych the guys doing ect are makin more than the the rest of them. I will definately persue as many procedures as possible and get good training doing them. I guess if you stay in a tenure academia type job it doesnt matter, but in the private world if you can do something and make cash in a short period of time (you get doubled pay for the read too) you should do it :luck:
    Ive also been told over and over again that the private world is nothing like residency and the quicker you are able to adapt the better off you will be :luck:
     
  45. A.D.O.R.

    A.D.O.R. Acronym Lover
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    I'm intrigued. What exactly do you mean? How do they differ?
     
  46. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    Yes, I am in that range.

    I was suprised as well. Most of the folks that have graduated over the last few years I know about started somewhat lower. But, most also stayed east coast. Maybe that is part of the difference.

    I would also say $120 is too low, none of the jobs I looked at were that low. Even academic jobs are paying around that it seems.
     
  47. drPLUM

    drPLUM Got your tickets?
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    That's curious to me. I was under the impression that academic jobs payed in the 80's and you were expected to make the difference with grant money, etc.
    Although for PP that would be low for what my resident friends have mentioned.
    I was told PP can start 140-160 and academics 80-90. Maybe these academic salaries are just at my instiution (yikes!). :)
     
  48. Gut Shot

    10+ Year Member

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    At my graduate school institution, brand new MD assistant profs started in the 120's... circa 1995.
     
  49. mcfaddens

    mcfaddens Member
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    More business, law, and politics less doing what you were trained to do.
    They should train residents more about the business aspect of medicine. One could be a great doc but if they cant manage to hold down a practice no one would benefit from their skill. A "practice" is a business and you have to be able balance this demand with actual medicine (ie what we are trained to do in residency). I love pathology but i understand that the cases dont fall from the sky. You have to keep your clinicians happy (or they wont use you) do well for you employees (their job depends on you) make sure your billing practice and other financial obligations are in concordance with the law. Try not to loose out to the big labs like Quest and Ameripath. Make sure your diagnosis is as accurate as possible (pressure from malpractice lawyers) and you have to feed your family.
    In resideny you dont have to do any of this and the cases are waiting for you everyday. Its pretty sweet but not representitive of the outside world. :luck:
     
  50. cytoborg

    5+ Year Member

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    So I should get paid more than my attending when I do frozens? :laugh:
     
  51. mcfaddens

    mcfaddens Member
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    YES :luck:
     

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