Wednesday, January 05, 2011

dream job

a glimpse into the future
one of the pediatric endocrine attendings came down with the flu this week. bad for him . . . but great for me, because he actually had me cover his clinic yesterday afternoon . . . by myself. i still signed every patient out to him over the phone before sending them out the door for labs, studies, or just a drive home, but in general my plans were honored.

from tying my shoes to working up precocious puberty [source]

and honestly? it was at least a little bit thrilling.

i realize that i could theoretically be practicing independently as a (board-certified!) general pediatrician (though i have no desire to ever do this, really). and it's true that during residency, my weekly continuity clinics did provide a great degree of independence; by the end, my attendings rarely saw any of the patients. but this was the first time i've ever gotten to feel like i was running the show, and i liked it.

and this made me very happy, because it means i am in the right career! although that got me thinking about my absolute IDEAL career breakdown someday. here goes nothing:

my dream job

i want to work 2-3 days/week in clinic, preferably a 50/50 mix between diabetes patients and non-diabetes (in pediatric endocrinology, it's easy to have your schedule completely taken over with the former. while i do enjoy taking care of diabetes patients, i also LOVE the interesting problem solving that comes with the rest of our field -- and i want to put my training to good use!)

i want as little call as possible. or at least: i want there to be a nurse on first call (for triage) at all times.

i want to do teaching in some form on a regular basis.

i want dedicated time free set aside to write books -- about what, i'm still not entirely sure, but i just feel like there are several manuscripts inside me itching to get out!

when i've gained more experience balancing it all, i want to do speaking engagements -- maybe some that focus specifically on time management and mindfulness as it relates to patient care. (yeah, i've got plenty to learn before i'm ready for this, although i feel like i already have a lot i could tell a group of new residents).

i want to be home 3-4 days per week (that total includes weekends) so i can also be part-time SAHM.

while it might be hard impossible to find a job that meets these parameters, i will say that i do not care what kind of income this all brings in (at all), so at least i may have something to bargain with!

do you ever think about what would constitute your ideal career/work week? and if you're a veteran in the medical field, feel free to tell me that my aspirations are ridiculous. or not!

you all give me a lot of credit
i loved reading your comments yesterday! i found this one particularly amusing:

because -- yes, i definitely struggle like anyone else. i get sucked into email. and blogs. and twitter. sometimes, i rush to work with my hair only half-dry. i often eat too fast. i do have some good routines and have developed some habits that work well for me. but it's always a work in progress!

i'm just lucky i've gotten to share this journey with all of you, because i have learned SO MUCH from your comments and advice over the years.

while we're on the topic, i will mention that while i certainly wasn't disconnected yesterday, i feel like i did a much better job approaching the above distractions with purpose -- ie, as planned breaks rather than just randomly throughout the day. i have also been experimenting with these one minute meditation exercises that reader jill recommended. so far, it's been interesting.



workout: nada! i was supposed to lift weights but this will be tabled to a later day. the nice part about workout restrictions and not being 'in training' for anything is that i am no longer stressed out by an unplanned rest day.

broccolini/broccolette: i couldn't find broccolini at whole foods, so i bought something labelled "broccolette" instead. turns out, they're the same thing! confusing . . . and tasty.

brocollini + shrimp sauté from this month's CL

i didn't time this perfectly and ended up overcooking the vegetables a bit. luckily, i sort of like mushy broccoli, even if it means half the vitamins have probably leached out.

reading: 30 minutes on ovarian neoplasms in children. unfortunately, this reading was inspired by a patient i saw.


  1. I think my ideal job (way down the line- I have a lot of learning to do before then) would be to work as a statistical consultant for a medical school. I would love the balance of getting to interact with people and being able to learn a little bit about new things all the time (and not ever have to run QC analyses again!).

  2. Anonymous7:25 AM

    i wish that i could "not care" about income. it's definitely a luxury to be able to depend on your partner's income as a surgeon. i will say, though, that i've seen so many friends and acquaintances separate over the years that i think it's so important for women to be able to secure well-paying, full-time income if they need to. i'm finishing my phd now, and i will be the primary breadwinner. i'm happy with this, but it does come with its own set of challenges!

  3. Anonymous8:24 AM

    hmmm i think your ideal job = my ideal job for the most part. i definitely want to be in the medical field and helping others in their health. i used to be sooooo CAREER = LIFE in my mentality over the past few years and i've mellowed a bit over that and want to be able to have other things in my life that i enjoy too. (or at least i think i've mellowed)

  4. Anonymous8:29 AM

    love your ideal job. does sound perfect. very proud of your good independent work yesterday. very impressive!


  5. love the ideal job breakdown, and in terms of the writing + SAHMing, it is quite similar to mine:) Good job on feeling more relaxed about rest days!

  6. Anonymous9:28 AM

    In the end you have to worry about income. To practice there is a cost associated with turning tje key every morning. To have a triage nurse alone will probably cost you 60k per year. All the turnkey cost has to get paid first before you make a nickle. Then there are taxes. As an employer for every dollar of social security the employee pays, you also get to pay a dollar. You will also have to work till May just to pay Uncle Sam all the income tax he expects. The rest of the money you make for the year you get to keep. From this money you will need to stick at least 15% into retirement 25% would be better Also you will need to start saving for jr to go to college. If you can you should start making the plan and start funding those plans this year along with your husband. If you do this and live within your means and except for a mortgage have no debt when you are 60 you will be set The last thing you want to be at 60 is to be realizing you can't retire till 75. My best investment advice is to read the books by Ben Stien and Phil Demuth. Also read the little book of common sense investing by john boggle. Open up Roth IRA for each of you and your husband and fund them every year on jan 1.

  7. i love our ideal job plan. I think about that stuff all the time, an that is probably at the end of the day why i went to podiatry school instead of medical school. I know its not an acceptable answer in an interview but way of life is a hugeeee factor!

  8. I don't think you should ever give up on creating your dream job & schedule. :)

  9. Congrats! I bet that felt great!!! And I love your setup for your dream job. I know I love having some sort of adult outlet as a stay at home mom.

  10. The more I think about it, the more I think being a stay at home mom sounds like a good idea. I used to be all "I'm a woman I want a career!" but really...I've learned my career can't define me. (Mostly learned through having a terrible job.) Working as a per diem nurse is one of the best gigs around, assuming you have someone else who has benefits. (Thank you, whoever future husband will be.) As a nurse I can work a couple twelve hour shifts, still make money to support/add to my family income, yet still be at home and do whatever else I want to do with my life.

  11. Anonymous12:41 PM

    i'm working on figuring out what my dream job would be. i've still got 1.5 years ahead of me in my phd program and really no one job that i'm planning on. my options are open! i do know that i must have some interaction with people each day, i would LOVE to teach, and a flexible schedule (maybe half days or 3-4 days off/week) to be a pseudo-stay at home mom. oh, and in the nutrition field!

    wouldn't it be great if we could all just design our ideal jobs and wave a want so they'd just exist?

  12. Great job taking on the clinic all by yourself yesterday! That must have made you feel so good!

    Love this question about an ideal job as I am thinking about this alot now. For me, I would see patients for a few hours each day (I am a psychotherapist) yet I am continually interested in going for trainer either as a trainer or yoga teacher as I strongly believe in the mind-body connection and think that talk therapy is certainly very helpful but taking care of bodies is of equal importance. I hope that I venture towards that part of it in the near future and eventually.... when I hope to be a Mom one day, I think that schedule could be quite flexible for that too.

  13. Blog stalker just saying hello! (Actually, I tweeted you the other day to ask if I should get a subscription to CE or Cooking Light)

    Just wanted to say thanks for helping to inspire me to get organized in my life! It's tough balancing full-time work, writing, and healthy living. Confession: I ordered the Space 24 and am so excited to start using it! I'll look forward to reading more about your adventures!

  14. Ooh the ideal job! I have just started my phd so I have 3 years of intense work ahead of me although at some point in this time I shall try to start my family before my ovaries take early retirement. I have a supportive supervisor so I shall see.
    My dream job would involve a mixture of teaching, mainly epidemiology research and some public health service work to keep my toe in. I would like flexibility but I don't think I want to be a full time SAHM :-)
    Isnt it lovely to realise that you are doing something you love? Well done with clinic.

  15. It's great that you discovered your ideal job, great first step. I have a similar idea about my dream job except of the diabetes patients and pediatrics. I need to keep working towards this goal.

  16. Oooh that sounds exciting!!

    My ideal job: a group GP practice in a multicultural neighbourhood, without being on call a lot, but with full-time but normal hours so I still have time left to do other things. I'd also have a part-time SAHD.

  17. atilla9:18 PM

    love to see how excited you are about the job. I think you can design the dream job in reality

  18. Anonymous11:52 PM

    Did you do the shrimp butter part?
    Looks complicated and weird...

    Lisa M

  19. loved hearing everyone's $0.02 on the job issue.

    lisa: yes, i did - although i used WAY less butter and only ended up with a little bit to use on the dish - the rest got absorbed into the shells & thrown into the trash! i'm not sure if it enhanced the flavor or made much of a difference, but i felt gourmet :)

  20. This post really spoke to me - I too keep thinking of my dream week and integrating all my interests - I would love to be able to practice law not quite as intensely as I do now (I worked straight through both holiday weekends and was at the office until 11.15pm on Monday and then had to be at the hospital to have my surgery at 6.45am Tuesday) and incorporate more other interests without always being rushing.