I went with a friend for a bite,
As the afternoon turned into night
Comparing job notes
Benefits, values, and quotes,
And the value of leisure delight.
Twenty-four hours ago I put data into a web site called DocCafe, which helps doctors looking for work get in touch with employers and agencies. An avalanche of email followed.
I emailed my CV right and left. Over lunch I spent two hours and all of my cell phone’s voltage talking to recruiters.
I spoke directly. The ratio of jobs that fell through to jobs that panned out runs 8:1. Yes, I said, go ahead and present me but I’m working with more than one recruiter.
After my lectures I met a friend for a sandwich. Rebecca knew our daughter Aliya in college; she lived in Sioux City for two years and in that time befriended Bethany and I. She lives in Lower Downtown Denver now, and, like me, finds herself between jobs.
We compared notes. She commented on the importance of employer appreciation, and that interpersonal respect, money and benefits much be considered as a whole package. I talked about my job during my premed years at Cybertek, the software firm that did United American Life’s computer work in a building four blocks from where we sat (the building has since had an appropriately committed relationship with a wrecking ball). They trained me, paid me $.80 above minimum wage, let me study while I worked, and let me eat the leftover breakfast pastries.
Later in the evening I ran into an ex-partner. Rick left our Sioux City group in 1993 to move to Greeley. Recently a hospital purchased his practice, he stopped doing OB and making hospital rounds. Now that he doesn’t get awakened in the middle of the night, he gets good sleep on a regular basis, and has more time. He feels rejuvenated. Actually he says he almost feels like he retired.
When we shared our views, I commented on how much happier I am now that I’m not the boss, and we both talked about how we work too much, but how much we love the work.
The topic eventually came to accessibility of medical care. Yes, we agree, all these things that we’re doing result in more leisure for us, but if all the doctors had a sudden attack of sanity and stopped working those life-shortening overtime hours, there wouldn’t be enough doctors. And especially there wouldn’t be enough family practitioners.
I presented my plan: eliminate the premed requirements; democratize the pre-clinical med school years and put the information on the net for free. Anyone who can pass Part I of the Boards should be allowed to continue into a clinical program. Those last two years of med school would be extended from two to two and a half years to cover everything relevant in premed and those skills that cannot be taught by computer (interviewing and physical exam). Current medical schools, for a price, would teach those students who don’t do well with distance learning. The result would be a much larger number of doctors willing to work fewer hours for less money.
We agreed about the feasibility and improbability of such a scheme.