Time to Look for a Job #illumedati 1

Hey everyone, it’s Medicine Mondays again. It’s the beginning of December now and we’re right in the middle of The Match. However, what about everyone else in their last year of residency/fellowship? It’s probably “Time to Look for a Job“.

Time to Look for a Job

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Time to Look for a Job?

Well, yea. Depending on your specialty you may have already started looking.

For example, when I was looking for a job as a neuroradiology fellow, I started looking really early, around September of fellowship year. The reason for this is because the job market for radiology was pretty tight back then. It has opened up a little since then, but, from talking with my younger colleagues, it isn’t what you would call “wide open”.

However, for other specialties, I think there is a pretty wide variation in when people sign contracts for first jobs. Some residents/fellows sign their contracts more than a year in advance if they are going into a specific specialty (or subspecialty) and/or if they want to be in a particular area. I have a colleague like that. However, I think right now is a good time to look for a job.


There are a few reasons why I’m choosing this particular time period.

It’s Holiday season. I think the importance of family and free time are at its peak around this time. Keeping this in the back of your mind while going on interviews will help you decide what you really want. Overall, I think doctors (especially coming right out of training) underestimate the importance of time off and what constitutes a “reasonable” call schedule. As young doctors coming out of training we are rushing toward making money, paying off the loans, and getting the house with the white picket fence, and all those things you couldn’t have while a poor medical student or resident. Trust me. I understand. But please… don’t be Dr. Yoloswag.

You must remember that the money has to come from somewhereThe somewhere is from your time… and your time is limited. Make sure whatever you trade for your time is worth it to you. I talk about this in my post Choosing Your First Job, which I humbly recommend that you read.

What else?

You also must remember that physician contracts can be simple or complex… or complexly simple.  You must remember that anything not specifically spelled out in your contract is open to interpretation, that’s what I mean by complexly simple. It may be a simple 5 page contract to sign, but very complex to get out of.

I’ve written a whole series on Physician Contracts: One Two Three

However, that little series is just a primer when looking at a contract. I would strongly recommend that you have a lawyer who specializes in physician contracts, preferably your specific specialty, and locale, to look at it for you. This is especially true when it comes to any kind of partnership, company ownership, shares, or other complexities.

Is this post just for doctors coming out of training?


I’ve also chosen this Holiday time period for people currently in jobs they don’t like to really do some introspection as to why they don’t like their jobs. It’s the Holiday season and it’s the end of the year. I think it’s a good idea to evaluate your own job satisfaction at this time.

  • Is this location where you want to be long term?
  • Is the call schedule something you can handle?
  • Is the “extra money” you’re getting over that other job, worth it to you?
  • Are you getting enough time with your family, or just free time in general?
  • Are you able to save efficiently for retirement?
  • Are you happy?
  • Are you fulfilled?

I know it’s hard to change jobs.

“The grass is always greener on the other side… right?”

However, I think this time period is a good time to some real introspection. Times change. What was important to you 5 years ago may not be as important now. Also, what was “normal” back when you signed your contract might not be the norm anymore.

For example, let’s say doing q4 call was normal in your specialty, but that a q6 is more common, or perhaps you have hospitalists or nocturnalists or some kind of night coverage that has become more common. Of course, change can go the other way too.

I guess what I’m saying is that if you really dislike your job, I really think you you owe it to yourself (and your love ones) to try to find something better. After going on some interviews and looking into other options you may decide that your job is still the best option for you. While nothing will change, I think your outlook on your job will be more positive. However, if you look and find out that your job really is as bad as you thought, then perhaps it’s time to move on, or try to get your job to make changes to keep you.

Another option is that if your job is an in-demand specialty and you’re flexible, you may want to try locums in a few different areas to get a feel for things before putting down roots again.

Anything else?


There is no need to be more resilient. Doctors are resilient enough.

I would be wary of any job that feels the need to offer their doctors “resilience training” and has problems keeping their doctors.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand what resilience training is trying to do.  However, you can’t squeeze water from a stone… or my analogy was the iPhone with a case. No matter how strong your case (resilience) is, with enough pressure under a hostile environment – anyone would break.

In closing, I would like everyone to remember, all the money in the world won’t give you time back: Time is the great equalizer. Life is short. Be happy.


Holiday season is a good time to start looking for your first job…

… or a new one.

Life is short. Be happy.

I’d also recommend reading these posts:

Also, please read: The Biggest Mistake of Your Life

Medicine Mondays Sensei


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