What's the most rewarding part of your job?

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Keeping mine very practical and about actual activities/moments versus philosophical.

1) Mentoring. I have two all-star staff members leaving for graduate school. I'm stressed as heck because I cannot envision how my lab will function without them, but also could not be happier/more proud of either of them.
2) Ideas. Actually doing the science can be quite mundane, but there are few things more satisfying than when a project idea crystallizes into something that I know is a fundable grant. Particularly if it is fundamentally insane either because of the sheer complexity of the design (mutli-phase project involving self-report, a vast array of biosamples, EEG, structural and functional MRI and ecological momentary assessment?) or the sheer novelty of it (applying mathematical tools developed for studying feeding behavior in whales to psychopathology in humans).
3) Conversations with colleagues - especially RE: ideas. Most of us in academia go into it because at some level we like having smart conversations with smart people about models/frameworks, methods, etc. It is a shame this happens less and less as you move along in your career as more time gets sucked up by HR issues, budgets, etc. (at least in my experience) but it is an absolute blast when it happens. Probably only happens a few times a year, but the occasional 3-4 hour brainstorming session with a colleague where we basically whiteboard a project idea are probably my favorite moments.
 
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I literally play with toddlers for a living, so there is a lot of inherent fun in my job. It's very rewarding to give the families some answers as to their questions about what's going on with their children, as well as set them on the path to effective services. Every now and then a child who reportedly does not like strangers and hate touch will give me a hug as they leave the office, leaving their parents and early intervention workers' mouths agape in disbelief that I was able to connect with a child who was largely though to be "unconnectable." Those are the best days (though almost all the days are pretty good).
 
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Lately? The paycheck.
 
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I literally play with toddlers for a living, so there is a lot of inherent fun in my job. It's very rewarding to give the families some answers as to their questions about what's going on with their children, as well as set them on the path to effective services. Every now and then a child who reportedly does not like strangers and hate touch will give me a hug as they leave the office, leaving their parents and early intervention workers' mouths agape in disbelief that I was able to connect with a child who was largely though to be "unconnectable." Those are the best days (though almost all the days are pretty good).

Been about three years since I saw a patient (...I really do need to find time to get licensed here) and I saw a totally different population, but 100% this.

The 50 year old "feelings-are-for-girls" country boy who has a breakthrough in session, cries for probably the first time since childhood and asks if its OK to hug me at the end of session? Clinical work was never my thing but those were good days in clinic...
 
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It's definitely the hordes of adoring fans.
I told you already... if you stop walking around with tuna in your pockets, the hordes of stray cats would stop following you.
 
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I work in a large school district and spend my days putting prevention and intervention systems into place at scale. I'm doing our EoY outcomes review and can see data from hundreds of students who have shown measurable, meaningful benefits from high quality, low effort interventions that my team has trained schools to do. I'll never meet them, and they'll never meet me, but I sleep well at night knowing these kids and families are having a better school experience.
 
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I literally play with toddlers for a living, so there is a lot of inherent fun in my job. It's very rewarding to give the families some answers as to their questions about what's going on with their children, as well as set them on the path to effective services. Every now and then a child who reportedly does not like strangers and hate touch will give me a hug as they leave the office, leaving their parents and early intervention workers' mouths agape in disbelief that I was able to connect with a child who was largely though to be "unconnectable." Those are the best days (though almost all the days are pretty good).

That does sound like good stuff. As the parent of a toddler, I am curious how often you get slapped, kicked , or bitten?

Years ago, I remember an elementary age child going under the desk and attempting to bite me and my supervisor's legs during a school psych assessment as a trainee. Not the greatest parents either from my recollection. I had to call CPS for the first time on that kid as well.
 
That does sound like good stuff. As the parent of a toddler, I am curious how often you get slapped, kicked , or bitten?
Honestly- pretty much never. I can't remember ever being bitten or kicked during an ASD eval, and maybe have been swatted less than a handful of times of the past 10+ years doing this (though 2 of those years were remote!). I have the luxury of almost exclusively doing assessments on kids under three, so I've got the routine down pretty good, have used the same toys to "break the ice" for at least a decade (seriously- learn to juggle, get a pig that makes noise when you squeeze it, and put a rubber duck on your head and have it fall off when you fake sneeze- kills it every time!). I really try to make it a very positive experience for the child and the parents- I want them to see that their child is fun, cute, playful, etc.
 
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Been about three years since I saw a patient (...I really do need to find time to get licensed here) and I saw a totally different population, but 100% this.
Non-clinically, just a few week ago I had my first doctoral student (I was his dissertation chair) successfully defend. That was very rewarding seeing him work through his study and the trickeries of applied research and end up with something very good and useful to the field.
 
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Treating PTSD and seeing people actually get better. I love it, and it actually happens quite often.
 
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The flexibility + money.

I mostly work when I want, and I travel quite a bit. I worked ~2.5 days last week and still billed $8k. I had to write a rebuttal report and see a few clinical pts for f/u. This week I had a case dropped on my head, so whether I want to or not, I’m working the weekend. The good news is I should bill $12k-$15k between the record review, rush fees, and some phone conferences for another case. Stressful but if they are willing to pay, I try and find the time.
 
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I've gotten paid well to do some really s**tty psychologist jobs. Didn't last too long! I like the combination of nice pay and fun job. One without the other is not rewarding for too long (though YMMV depending on your needs, where you are in your career, etc.).

I think that depends on the job. I don't find my job fun as often anymore, but I do find it meaningful. Honestly, I do wrestle with the idea of moving into more general practice, which might be more fun but less meaningful. Good conversations are fun, helping folks face painful realities is more meaningful.
 
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I genuinely enjoy doing comprehensive DBT and it’s a privilege to work with a great team at my VA and have support for such a program.

Seeing patients who buy in and figure out how to work their butts off to make the types of changes in their life and starts to see positive benefits from their efforts is incredibly rewarding.
 
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I genuinely enjoy doing comprehensive DBT and it’s a privilege to work with a great team at my VA and have support for such a program.

Seeing patients who buy in and figure out how to work their butts off to make the types of changes in their life and starts to see positive benefits from their efforts is incredibly rewarding.

I didn't know you were doing full model DBT! Super cool. It can work really well if your administration is supportive
 
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1) Most of my work is being asked interesting questions, and reading about interesting things.
2) 99% of the individuals I see in person are nice.
3) Nearly everyone I meet is interesting in some way, and have something interesting to teach me.
4) There is a book about the offices of psychoanalysts. One of the analyst said something like, "~Seeing patients. That's my trick. I can live a thousand lives through other people.". So... that's nice.
5) I can ask almost any question I want.
 
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Working with people who are motivated to use therapy to make meaningful changes in their own life for sure.

A couple I worked with last year, who were on the verge of breakup reached out last Friday to let me know they are still going strong and recently engaged. It is a pretty good feeling.
 
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I've gotten paid well to do some really s**tty psychologist jobs. Didn't last too long! I like the combination of nice pay and fun job. One without the other is not rewarding for too long (though YMMV depending on your needs, where you are in your career, etc.).

Cool beans
 
Former PP job:
I worked mostly with PTSD in therapy. It would be morbid to describe that as enjoyable, so maybe “rewarding” is good. People who’d had nightmares five nights a week for twenty years getting to remission in a few weeks. That was great.
A good number of my men patients would never have seen a therapist if they didn’t see me first. That also felt good.
Having patients describe specific ways their lives are better, or even the frequent referrals from happy patients, also felt great.
I also did assessments, those were good. I think I had somewhat of a reputation as not being a pay-for-a-diagnosis guy so I had minimal problems with fakey people and I got lots of referrals from physicians. Also felt good.

Former tenured professor:
Working w students in the lab. That was by far the best. I never even made a faculty member out of a student, they all went on to be science informed clinicians.
Being mostly research focused and also teaching clinical skills and being licensed and boarded, to demonstrate it’s not either/or.
Later as program chair helping to incrementally innovate training sequences and improvise procedures.
Teaching cognitive assessment was also super fun.

Current job in industry:
Everything. Excellent w/l flow and balance. Amazing colleagues who are mindblowingly smart and also super nice. Feeling much more appreciated than in academia by higher ups (my local dept in academia was great, upper admin I have less to say about). Really interesting work with lots of opportunity to learn in my own field and in related ones. Compensation:
 
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I didn't know you were doing full model DBT! Super cool. It can work really well if your administration is supportive
Done correctly, it really can be life-changing for folks. I’ve seen a full DBT model work wonders w some veterans, but it’s resource intensive and definitely needs buy-in from management.
 
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1) Most of my work is being asked interesting questions, and reading about interesting things.
2) 99% of the individuals I see in person are nice.
3) Nearly everyone I meet is interesting in some way, and have something interesting to teach me.
4) There is a book about the offices of psychoanalysts. One of the analyst said something like, "~Seeing patients. That's my trick. I can live a thousand lives through other people.". So... that's nice.
5) I can ask almost any question I want.
This really is a great approach to the work. I still keep a foot in the clinical world bc it’s good to keep my intervention skills active, but being paid to learn new research and expand my knowledge in adjacent areas is a great bonus. I just took on a case where some of the questions span specialty areas, so it’ll be interesting to see how everyone approaches these questions.
 
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Yeah- flexibility and autonomy frequently come up in the literature as predictors of job satisfaction (with the caveat that salary needs to be fair).
Bingo!

I have been doing this long enough I’ve seen patients’ lives transform too, but being able to make an impact *and* do it on my own terms has always been my bigger goal. We don’t have to sacrifice our own happiness and bottom line to do our jobs well and also be compensated well.
 
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Done correctly, it really can be life-changing for folks. I’ve seen a full DBT model work wonders w some veterans, but it’s resource intensive and definitely needs buy-in from management.

Unfortunately I've seen two DBT programs collapse at VAs because administration was not supportive. They don't care about the research showing that DBT actually saves money, decrease overall utilization, etc. But, trying to keep this thread positive, DBT is a great program to have!
 
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So the most rewarding part of my job is definitely seeing growth and change in my clients. A close second is being my own boss. I’m not cut out to deal with bureaucracy and people trying to tell me what to do.

I love what I do. I consider myself fortunate to have a career that is meaningful and enjoyable.
 
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The fact that I can take time out of my schedule to get my pilot's license is also another big perk of being in PP full time, and making $4500 a week in consistent income, travel when I want, see patients wherever and whenever I want, and have employees who work for me and earn some nice passive income. My PP is my retirement plan. I am building it to a point so that I can go from making $200K a year with me seeing patients to making $200K in passive income so I can just take off and travel more, fly, etc.

I did the whole professor thing, and work for the VA system. I have no desire to ever work for anybody else. :)
 
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The fact that I can take time out of my schedule to get my pilot's license is also another big perk of being in PP full time, and making $4500 a week in consistent income, travel when I want, see patients wherever and whenever I want, and have employees who work for me and earn some nice passive income. My PP is my retirement plan. I am building it to a point so that I can go from making $200K a year with me seeing patients to making $200K in passive income so I can just take off and travel more, fly, etc.

I did the whole professor thing, and work for the VA system. I have no desire to ever work for anybody else. :)

Just to add on - now that I have been in PP full time since last October, I've been able to travel more to places where I can catch some amazing concerts. I used to be a professional classical musician, so to see the MET Opera perform Turandot at the MET Opera Hall, all dressed up in fancy custom tuxedos (special thanks to my practice paying for them), has been a bucket list item of mine, thus, I am doing more things that align with my values and passions. The very thing I work with my patients on. In August we go to Brazil (first class) for 2 weeks, and after that we go to Milan, Italy to see the opera there.
 
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It’s tough to answer. I’ll always find clinical interactions rewarding in my heart, but statistical interactions give me a different level of happy in both head and heart 😆
 
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I'd say it's providing feedback (good or bad) to patients and their families; this is also sometimes the worst part of the job. The intellectual challenge of forensic work, and the different nature of that entire system vs. clinical work, comes in second place.
 
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Just to add on - now that I have been in PP full time since last October, I've been able to travel more to places where I can catch some amazing concerts. I used to be a professional classical musician, so to see the MET Opera perform Turandot at the MET Opera Hall, all dressed up in fancy custom tuxedos (special thanks to my practice paying for them), has been a bucket list item of mine, thus, I am doing more things that align with my values and passions. The very thing I work with my patients on. In August we go to Brazil (first class) for 2 weeks, and after that we go to Milan, Italy to see the opera there.
Apparel isn't a business expense unless it is a condition of your employment and not suitable for usual wear.

ABBA is a case study in this.
 
  • My pay is good
  • I'm pretty good at this and sometimes I make a life course altering difference (from helping schools understand that 16yo has an intellectual disability and seeing their dread/suicidality decrease once they're given an appropriate curriculum, to getting a nonverbal three year old into ABA and seeing them three years later and they're talking, to using assessments to help parents better understand their kids and help the kiddo better understand their challenges are not a character flaw, and lil stimulant med is a good thing, and you start seeing behavioral success)
  • I see some pretty interesting, medically complex, rare genetic, challenging kids with often severe developmental challenges and sensory impairments (like a Deaf kid, from a spanish background, with no language proficiency in spanish, english, or ASL, with nystagmus, charcot marie tooth, who has ID, who surprises me in therapy with how much he can speech read and "hear" and orally communicate) and you never know what you're gonna see. I guess it's cool to see all this variety, always have to learn about stuff, and then apply/modify our tools of understanding and interpret in that context.
  • I get a decent amount of time off and leave by 330pm most days.
 
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Just to add on - now that I have been in PP full time since last October, I've been able to travel more to places where I can catch some amazing concerts. I used to be a professional classical musician, so to see the MET Opera perform Turandot at the MET Opera Hall, all dressed up in fancy custom tuxedos (special thanks to my practice paying for them), has been a bucket list item of mine, thus, I am doing more things that align with my values and passions. The very thing I work with my patients on. In August we go to Brazil (first class) for 2 weeks, and after that we go to Milan, Italy to see the opera there.

I also love opera (my username is in fact an opera reference!) That sounds amazing - nothing like a Puccini score, imo. Enjoy!
 
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We go to a bunch of symphony and opera concerts. Houston's scene is mediocre.
Haven't had the opportunity to get into opera yet, but a huge fan of symphonies and classical choral music. I'm in the local select choir and it's been keeping me sane during grad school. I also just got selected to be in a 24-voice recording project for the commissioned works of three composers in my state and am really excited to have them be part of the production process!
 
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The IRS legit terrifies me. They can’t get you for ignorance of the law, right? But anything where you’re willfully doing something like this just seems like the thing they’re chomping at the bit to get at.
They can totally get you for “ignorance” of the law. If you’re claiming something, it’s your responsibility to make sure the claim is legit. I’ve known a few folks who’ve been dinged bad bc they thought that bc they were models they could claim their haircuts and stuff.
 
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The IRS legit terrifies me. They can’t get you for ignorance of the law, right? But anything where you’re willfully doing something like this just seems like the thing they’re chomping at the bit to get at.
I find them extremely reasonable. Unless you’re doing something extreme, they pursue you civilly. Usually that starts out with a letter that says you made an error, and you owe them X plus interest and fines. And their fines are kinda cute.

They’re pretty cool about mistakes and such, so long as you’re clearly operating in good faith.
 
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The most pick-me-up moments are when the downright mean/angry patients show progress and verbally say “I used to be _____, and now I’m not, because you helped me” (paraphrased of course). Those folks who are rude right out the gate raise my BP the most. I am also a young woman and these tend to be men older than me, so that factors in as well. I don’t like having to “play the game” and be more firm/assertive than normal to get them to show basic respect. I consider it my good societal deed for the day when they show proof off developing self-awareness and accountability.
 
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I didn't know you were doing full model DBT! Super cool. It can work really well if your administration is supportive
Actually though, how was that even swung?

I get that idea that outside of divine intervention itself that's just not a possibility at the VA I'm an RA at.
 
Actually though, how was that even swung?

I get that idea that outside of divine intervention itself that's just not a possibility at the VA I'm an RA at.
You need a lot of mental health and overall hospital leadership. Data and scientific driven leadership is almost certainly a must as well.

In terms of actual steps, it’s theoretically not that hard since DBT has an existing research base, including with veterans.

It might start off as a small pilot program that is approved for a defined period for a certain # of clinicians to ‘buy out’ their time from another clinic. And outcomes can be tracked to hopefully demonstrate keeping the team as is or expanding it.

You’d probably be surprised at how many VAs have some type of full (or close to full model) DBT team around the country.

There’s also a national DBT program (I believe it’s housed under the EBP office umbrella) with folks who would probably love to assist with seeing if it’s possible to get it on board at more facilities.
 
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