Home > Uncategorized > Plan to Escape Medicine

Plan to Escape Medicine

When I reach “my number”, I am so out of medicine. I am completely burnt out after barely surviving through a residency and things are only getting worse. I feel like I am ready to retire and yet I am only in my early 30’s! I can’t fathom doing this another 30-40 years. In order to escape from the coming Obamacare, I plan to continue to subsist at the poverty line ($10830 US a year- and yes it is doable- I am proof) while living like a pauper in the ghetto as an attending. It is not suffering when you think of the prize of freedom on the other side. You will be amazed at how much you can save over time on even a resident’s salary if you are disciplined. I have come to the realization that I would rather be happy and live in some secluded cabin on the Big Island of Hawaii (http://honolulu.craigslist.org/big/reb/1305738266.html) or in the rainforests of Costa Rica than be chained to the hospital and get sh!t rained on just so I can live in some Barbie dreamhouse with a big a$$ mortgage and have my gas guzzling SUV parked in the cobble stoned driveway while trying to keep up with the the Jones’s or Dr. Nurse Smith that Coastie (over on SDN )has so vividly depicted. Heck with that! This philosophy of being that I speak of is called “voluntary simplicity”, you can google the term and learn more if you want. I concede it is very hard to get out of medicine but I am determined to succeed. I fully realize that you need a well executed plan in place or otherwise you risk committing financial suicide. Just dropping out of residency with no plan is akin to jumping out of a plane without a parachute.

I just wish I would’ve known all this ten years ago and spared myself a decade of grief. But ten years is enough, I refuse to allow more precious time to slip away. Just as Andy did in the Shawshank Redemption (one of my all time favorite movies which has more meaning to me now than ever before), I will continue to chip away at the walls of my prison until I am free again.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. steveperry
    August 8, 2009 at 3:04 am

    Go for it man, but what are you gonna do when you “retire”?

    Will you have enough saved up by then? Or are you gonna get a job like Koonu from Forgetting Sarah Marshall? =)

    Why don’t you just see if you can do like one day a week wherever you’re going, just enough for you to live on?

    I liked your posts about the grass is always greener too. It kind of helped me in my decision to go to dental school instead of medical school, and I’ll be going to dental school next year now.

    I think it would be cool to work in a dental office for like 2-3 days a week somewhere in Hawaii and just live within my means in a beautiful place.

    It kind of reminds me of that fisherman/businessman story.
    Read that, I really like it and I often remember it when I get too stressed or think about all the things I “need.”

  2. medicinesux
    August 8, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Thank you for your comment. I am happy to hear that you have found reading my blog helpful. Part of my intention in writing this blog is in helping others to find peace, happiness, and direction with their careers and in their personal lives as well. I wish you much success in dentistry and it sounds like you have made an informed decision. I love the fisherman story too. It definitely makes you stop and wonder why we put ourselves through what we do in order to reach the same endpoint. So much in fact that I mentioned it in my blog some time back-
    https://medicinesux.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/asking-myself-why/ .

  3. steveperry
    August 8, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Oh man, that’s crazy that you had a post about that already, great minds think alike right?

    I hadn’t read anything before your grass is greener post so I apologize but that’s pretty cool.

    I guess for me it was hard to let go of the physician thing, probably because that is kind of what I always pictured myself being when I was younger for whatever reason. I actually applied to medical school with all of these doubts, and once the interview invites rolled in, I realized that I just couldn’t do it. I guess I had to step right up to the edge of the cliff before I could turn back but I feel fortunate to have been able to stop myself because I don’t think I would have been happy, not in this current environment at least.

    Also, forgive me if I missed you saying it (since it seems that I have already done that once), but are you working just until you save enough to pay off loans? Or are you working long enough to have enough money saved to not have to work again at all? And where do you think you will end up?

    I was just curious of your future plans post-physician.

    Also, what did you do your residency in (I thought I remembered it was anesthesiology but I wasn’t sure)


  4. medicinesux
    August 9, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Nothing is set in stone at this point, but for now the tentative plan is to work hard and aggressively pay down my private loans and save a little bit extra which will enable me to downshift into a more enjoyable less stressful career. I was thinking of IBR’ing the federal loans (which make up the bulk of my loans) since luckily my new career would qualify for the 10 year public service forgiveness. I figure since our country likes to do bailouts why not take advantage? To preserve my anonymity at the present time, I would rather not divulge too much more info regarding past and future employment and current specialty but when the time is right will reveal more.

  5. steveperry
    August 10, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    that’s cool man, I was just curious

    And who knows, with the insane inflation we are about to run into, you may be able to pay off all of your loans pretty darn quickly (but then again, I doubt the feds would raise reimbursement…god I hate those f’ing people)

    good luck

  6. Resident
    August 27, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Very similar feelings about medicine and ‘voluntary simplicity’ as you. Fortunately, I found a good balance in medicine (thus far) in Pathology. It has its difficulties, but does not soak up your soul, time, energy, health like the other fields. There are too many lemmings in medicine. It’s refreshing to read from someone who isn’t. Keep posting.

  7. Kevin
    October 18, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Amen – It’s good to know that I’m not alone in wanting to escape medicine. (I’m a pharmacist, not a doctor.) Hopefully we will both make it out soon!

    • medicinesux
      October 22, 2009 at 1:43 am

      Can’t wait to meet you on the other side. Drinks will be on me:)

  8. Daedra
    October 19, 2009 at 1:33 am

    Thank you for this blog. As a pre-medical student, I now have 3 interviews… and it’s suddenly hitting home that if I get accepted and go, there will be many, many years of my life where I won’t be able to live fully with my friends and family. I don’t think that little free time, debt and a bunch of stress is really what I want to do.

    I’m going to apply for MS/Ph.D. programs instead.

    Not just because of what you said, understand–I am not so gullible–but because of a culmination of little nagging thoughts and the research I have done on being a doctor. I may be deciding a little late in the game… but definitely not too late. I wish you much good luck.

    • medicinesux
      October 22, 2009 at 1:59 am

      Thanks for your note. I am happy to know that you enjoy this blog as much as I have writing it. It is good to hear that you have come to an informed decision. Just remember that the earlier you decide to get out, the easier it is. If you are having hesitations and second thoughts before even enrolling, they will only grow and grow as you go on. I now look back with envy on those from my college days who bailed on applying to med school or the few who dropped out first term of med school and chose different paths. Congrats on finding your own path and best wishes.

  9. Cassandra
    December 12, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Dr. medicinesux,

    Is it true that you are able to live on $10830/yr? I am an MS4 who is rabid about saving money. During this residency interview session, I have slept overnight in the airports and eaten food packed from home; I just took a part time job so I can work like a dog in spring and perhaps cover relocation costs… I just refuse to take out the residency relocation loan.

    My student loans interest rate continues to climb (I consolidated my undergraduate loans at 4.5% and then deferred during medical school, I thought that the ugrad loans were locked in at this rate…) and I have incurred 8K in interest during my 4 yrs of medical school. ( If my father was employed, I probably would have not deferred my undergrad loans and could have kept up with the monthly payments.) I will probably graduate with $150,000 in loans.

    I am desperately interested in knowing how you are shedding your debt and living on under $11,000/yr is this something that can be safely done as a female (ie your remark about living in the projects) as I eagerly await knocking down some (most?) of my loans during residency (6 hopefully years of surgery) with ultra-frugal living (no cable, landline), however I will probably acquire new expenses like renter’s insurance and smartphone (already I am feeling the pain of not owning one, missed out on an interview date and ultimately that interview by not responding under 4 hrs)

    1. How do you manage to cover adult expenses and live under 11,000?
    Do you have any general tips? Once you reach that glorious day, please write a book.

    2. Also I worry that my scrimping will destroy the quality of my life and make for increased stress and poor performance (ie. is it worth it to pay for cable if a bit of tv keeps you sane enough to successfully complete residency?) How do you strike a balance?

    I am sorry for the length of this post, but would deeply appreciate any advice.


    • medicinesux
      December 13, 2009 at 3:42 am

      It sounds like you are doing everything right. Believe me, you are WAY ahead of your peers in terms of being frugal with your money. Many residents I knew in residency were living like they were already attendings despite owing a ton in student loans! Yes, I did indeed live right under the poverty level. I do not feel as if I suffered since I knew it was part of my plan to achieve financial freedom and get out of medicine. Every dollar saved was one minute less I would have to spend in the hospital. I will dig deeper into this topic as I have received many curious inquiries and will in fact devote a whole new posting on this issue in the next day or two. Thanks for your great comment and prompting my next posting.

  10. Brad
    January 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Hey medicinesux,
    I am a final year medical student in Australia and have been feeling like medicine is the last thing i want to do. I was reading a thread in SDN on the cost of a medical degree. Australia is very different and i will have what is basically an interest free debt of only 25K. If this had been your situation, do you think you would enjoy medicine more? i know that there are other factors – poor remuneration for hours worked, poor conditions – but it sounds like the ‘golden handcuffs’ are the major factor.

    • Anonymous
      January 21, 2010 at 11:56 pm

      25K in America would barely get you through just one semester of medical school! Not only are our tuitons beyond insane and still skyrocketing into the stratosphere, but the banks have made it IMPOSSIBLE to discharge any student loans. This is true modern day slavery of the educated class. The punishing debt is just part of the horrid picture that makes up the American healthcare system. I do believe the attrition rate from residency would dramatically rise if student loan debts didn’t keep people chained to the hospital. I would never have returned to residency if it wasn’t for my six figure loans.

  11. Motivated Procrastinator
    March 12, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    You should look up https://www.medfusionconf.org/Default.aspx

    You will find a bevy of like minded physicians. I went last year. Tell them Dyi sent you

    • medicinesux
      March 19, 2010 at 5:21 am

      I am aware of the fusionconference and it seems like a great way for frustrated physicians to come together and learn about other opportunities. Luckily, I found my true passion outside medicine and will be immediately returning to that when I exit someday.

  1. December 7, 2009 at 1:38 am
  2. December 15, 2009 at 2:26 am

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