Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Working weekends

I don't like working weekends.

Well, who does, right? I mean, there are probably a few people who like it for some reason. But I'm guessing most people don't enjoy working weekends.

But I really, really don't like working weekends. When I have to get up to work on the weekend, I usually spend much of my time at work on the brink of tears, accompanied by a steady stream of resentment toward all the people who don't have to work that day. Then I usually come down with a cold the next day. So I feel like I might dislike working weekends more than average, but I could be wrong. That could be average.

Sometimes weekends on call aren't as painful as regular days. But sometimes they're much more painful. Sometimes they involve rounding on every patient on everyone's service with an attending who doesn't seem to understand that weekend rounds are for emergent issues only and judiciously uses the phrase, "Is there anything else?"

I suppose that there are several jobs that also involve working weekends (policeman? chef?), but there are also many that don't. My husband, for example, has never worked a weekend. And he has a good job with a good salary.

It bothers me that becoming a physician requires this commitment of working weekends, at least during training (which, as we all know, lasts for freaking ever). Especially when you have young children at home, this requirement ranges from annoying to heartbreaking. I'm sure lots of people will comment and say that they have a job that doesn't require any weekend responsibilities, but I don't think that's the norm for physicians. People get sick 7 days a week.

There's a part of me that wonders if you're the kind of person who really, really hates working weekends, and really, really hates waking up early, if maybe you shouldn't consider a different career based on that alone? Sometimes I wonder if I should have.

58 comments:

  1. try being in high school and having saturday classes because your school's strict adherence to tradition demanded it to be so. you see, when you're WORKING weekends, you get paid for the privilege.

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  2. I hate weekends. They are always ten times harder, in my job. Except the last one, which I gave up with money. My partner said it was the easiest call he has ever had (and he has had a lot of call). Just my luck.

    Who wants to work 12 days straight? Not me.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. It's been almost 30 years. Hated weekends then. Hate working weekends now. But it's part of the territory

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  5. From what you write, fizzy, it does seem like sometimes you might be happier in another field. It's not just this thing about weekends--I remember your post a while back about not trusting your instincts when you went to shadow a doctor in college. Have you thought about a career change? I know it's not always possible for everyone but if it's in any way possible to move into another area (maybe some field where you can still use your MD credentials) it could be worth looking into if you really feel this way a lot.

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  6. I totally sympathize about hating working weekends especially when thinking about all the precious time missed with the little ones. However, once you are out of training wouldn't it be possible to find a job without weekends or even part time? If not, at least as an attending you can set your own schedule and round on patients as you feel necessary. Both my husband and I are physicians. He works in an outpatient clinic and never takes call or works weekends whereas I work in a hospital, take call, and some nights and weekends. I think there is a lot of flexibility in medicine after training which can be more enjoyable after you have some autonomy. Hang in there!

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  7. I wonder the same thing sometimes. I actually don't have any issues with working weekends - I usually see weekends as a 2-day study marathon with evenings off - but I do have a huge problem with getting less than 8 hours of sleep. I can't even function on 5 hours.

    ... So, seems like I'm going into the wrong profession. But like you say you once did, I'm not really taking that feeling too seriously yet.

    It seems this might not end well.

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  8. Thank you for bringing such nice posts. Your blog is always fascinating to read.

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  9. Ah, only from PM & R =)

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  10. I hear you! I don't hate the work, but miss my family like crazy....and my non-medical husband hates it too...
    I'm hoping it'll get better after training- still on call but not as much on site....

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  11. I'm in solo equine veterinary practice and on call for emergencies every weekend. I also work every Saturday.

    Do I enjoy this? No, not at all, though I didn't mind too much for the first six or seven years. I'd love to have two consecutive days off without call every week. This is just one reason I'm exploring another career path. Perhaps you should, too.

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  12. To all the people who know me so well that they think I should quit medicine after nine years of training: I actually no longer work weekends. I had a one-time work-related obligation this weekend, which reminded me how much I hate it. So no complaints currently, but that doesn't change the fact that it seriously sucked having to work weekends for nearly a decade. And not wanting to work weekends also limited my job options.

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  13. Of course any job choice limits your options. You just have to be emotionally stable enough to handle your decisions. I like what I do and the patients I see so I sometimes compromise my family time to do it. Perhaps you write your posts with the object of provocation. You want people to comment; if you don't like the comments stop putting your emotional laundry out to view: are you really at the verge of tears? Give me a break.

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  14. >>not wanting to work weekends also limited my job options>>

    Okay, so why didn't you decide to do whatever it is your husband does (good salary and no weekends)?

    Honestly, as a kid, I used to wonder who worked weekends (other than my parents, of course, but I KNEW they were weird). Now that I'm an adult, I wonder who doesn't, at least occasionally. The streets are NOT deserted when I drive to work at 6:30 AM on Saturdays. I kind of enjoy stopping to get my coffee and smiling at the cashier: yeah, I'm working today, too.

    To be clear: I, personally, am making a change because I'd like regular hours with minimal on-call. I don't care if those regular hours happen to fall on the weekend; my significant other works most weekends, too.

    What's sacred about the weekend?

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  15. No one is asking you to quit your job. I think they are just responding to what you have written yourself, i.e. "I wonder if I should have considered a different career."

    You can't write things like that on a public blog without expecting some people (me included) to question whether you are happy in your chosen field. If you think that's no one's business, don't put these kinds of thoughts in a blog post.

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  16. Wow, there is quite a lot of catty backlash to a simple "I hate working weekends" post. I seriously doubt you're looking for people to respond with negative comments. It is challenging to work weekends. As an airline pilot, I worked weekends every single month, month in and month out, no matter how senior I was, and I *hated* it. I didn't even have kids then and I still hated it. But, it was part of the job description. Now, I don't work that job (I made a change) and I see my kids and my spouse on the weekend, get a lot more sleep, and as a result, am a lot happier.

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  17. Hi. I am new to this blog and am enjoying following it. i too am a resident with a 4 and 2 year old. I am in agreement with the weekend thing. My 4 year old now understands that I usually do not have to work saturdays, so when he sees me preparing my things to leave on a saturday or sunday, he is devastated. which makes his mommy very sad........

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  18. I had to work weekends at my prior job, and also detested it. At my new job I don't and I have to say, it's really nice to be able to commit my time to my family. But yes, it did take some looking to find a job that was in the right place and good salary. It's not the ideal job in some respects, but then again, what job is? :)

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  19. I work weekends (both Saturday and Sunday) almost every week. But! I get to choose when and how the work happens, which helps a lot. I expect it will be this way with most of the rest of my life if I keep doing academic medicine, but if I find that it's bringing me to the point of tears, I might decide a different career is in order.

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  20. I know my first reply sounded a little bitchy. I have a bad cold (see post) and had five minutes prior to rushing off to work, so that was what came out. Felt a little bad about it after, but it was too late.

    That said, it is absolutely my pet peeve when a medical blogger makes a post complaining about some aspect of their training or job, and some anonymous commenter (possibly a premed, possibly someone not in medicine at all) says, "Gee, sounds like you don't like medicine. Maybe you should switch careers." What am I supposed to say? "Oh, thank you, Anonymous Person, that never occurred to me! To hell with my hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt and the ten years of grueling training under my belt! I'll just switch careers! It's so simple!"

    So yeah, it really pisses me off when people say that.

    (Outrider, I was not expressing irritation with you, because you were not anonymous and were sharing a personal experience.)

    And to some of the most recent Anonymouses: of course I expect these comments. I'm always secretly disappointed when everyone agrees with me. But if you honestly don't believe I could be on the verge of tears, then you really have no idea what medical training is like. I've not only been on the verge of tears, but I've cried many times on call and seen several fellow residents doing the same. Exhaustion + frustration + missing family = crying.

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  21. OMDG: My dad does a lot of research as a physician, and he is basically working all the time. But he does it from home usually and he enjoys it, as you probably do too. I guess I mean working more along the lines of pagers and patients.

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  22. >>To hell with my hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt and the ten years of grueling training under my belt! I'll just switch careers! It's so simple!>>

    Well, I can tell you from personal experience: it isn't simple. The hardest part, for me, was letting go of my carefully constructed identity as a clinician. The next most difficult was figuring out how to pay the bills.

    Beginning to implement a plan to leave clinical medicine became relatively easy after I'd resolved those two issues, more or less. I'll still be a veterinarian - I'll always be a veterinarian - but my time as a solo, 100% on-call equine ambulatory veterinarian will be ending shortly.

    I think being open to change is wise. Once I considered what exactly about my job makes me unhappy (clients and erratic hours) I knew I had to make a change because that's also my job description.

    Unlike you, I don't care if I work weekends. I prefer a "weekend" during the week, actually; my mechanic and hair stylist are always able to accommodate me.

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  23. Outrider: I actually might prefer working weekends if I had a partner with a similar schedule. But for now, working weekends means my husband and daughter are having fun without me. Which makes me sad. (I want them to have fun, of course, but I want to be there.)

    Part of the reason I get irritated by the passing comments that "you don't seem happy, leave medicine" is that of course these people don't know me or realize that I've already made huge changes in my career to maximize my happiness. I was a different person after leaving my first residency. It is, as you said, a very hard thing to do. A lot of the things I complain about on this blog are things that USED to bother me during training and I'm sort of venting retroactively.

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  24. We all hate time away from our families. I agree the weekends away range from no fun to total heartbreak. What I see in your original post is unstable emotions. Most of my colleagues who are young moms have the frustration but do not break down in tears...Did you mean to sound that off balance? Or was that for effect?

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  25. No, I think I'm the only mom who feels sad and sometimes tearful when I miss my child. I probably need help.

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  26. Fizzy, maybe I'm in the minority but your post came off as really self indulgent. How many people would love to have a job where no weekend work was required? In these difficult times, millions of people would kill to have any type of paying job. While you feel resentful about the people who don't have to work on weekends, what about the people who are servicing your weekend needs when you are off? Do you ever have to buy gas or groceries on the weekend? Do you take your kid out to places on the weekends? Do you imagine that none of those workers have families or activities they would rather be doing?
    You chose to become a physician AND a mother. Figure out how to make it work.
    BTW, I am an Ob/gyn 8 years out of residency who works many weekends.

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  27. First, I wish people would man up and attach a name to your comments. It's impossible to reply to all these Anonymous people. I understand that when you're being rude, you don't want me to know who you are, but at least give me something to call you.

    Second, I'm going to reiterate that I don't work weekends anymore. So it doesn't help to tell me to find a new job or "make it work."

    Third, I *said* in my post that lots of people work weekends. Lots of people don't too. Also, in most fields, people don't work 27/31 days of the month like in residency. (or 31/31 days of the month, like some private attendings do)

    I think I'm allowed to gripe about things that I've experienced but am not currently experiencing or plan to experience again. I think it sucks for other people and I like to speak my mind, at least on the internet. I've noticed that when I thought I was miserable alone, I later find out that everyone else was equally miserable. None of my opinions are unique. Lots of people hate being doctors and quit medicine, and these are some of the reasons why. If I can't give my opinions or vent, what should I talk about? You want to hear some cute things my daughter said?

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  28. Oooh, also: This is the first time I've gotten snipped at by an OB/GYN attending since med school! Brings back memories :)

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  29. Fizzy,
    I have no problem with (wo)manning up. I wrote the last Anonymous comment.

    I have no problem with you venting about your past problems. What I had a problem with was the tone of your vent. To me, it came across as a sense of entitlement that you be be expected to work weekends. Statements like "I suppose there are several jobs that also involve working weekends" or "it bothers me that becoming a physician requires this commitment of working weekends" do nothing to illicit sympathy or empathy from me.

    My mom was a nurse who worked the 11-7 shift in order to make more money. And yes, she worked many weekends. My dad was a long distance truck driver who was often away from home for weeks at a time. In my first three years post residency, I made more money than both of my parents combined over their entire careers.

    Again, I say vent away about whatever you feel. Just try to see another point of view. I have no great love of doing deliveries at 2AM, but I feel blessed to have a career that pays so well for doing something that I love.

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  30. What field were you in first before switching? just curious.

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  31. Ob/gynMD: I can't say I'm not grateful that I was allowed enough education that I don't have to drive a truck or pick up garbage or pump gas to make a living. That wasn't really my point. My issue is that with my college education, there were TONS of career paths I could have taken that would have had a more regular schedule and better lifestyle right off the bat. I could have easily taken a different path that would have allowed me a better lifestyle, and I was just musing whether I should have taken one of those paths. For example, my cousin is a teacher and gets a good salary (admittedly, far less than mine), two months off in the summer, no weekends, and lots of vacations. She has a good life. There was no barrier in my way of having a career like that.

    The philosophical question is that if you like some things about medicine but are someone who really hates the hours involved (and some people do more than others), is it better to avoid medicine? In the same vein, there were things I liked about ob/gyn, but would never have considered it because the hours would have made me miserable. But for you, it was worth it.

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  32. Fizzy, are there any jobs which are "perfect"? If the job has good hours/lifestyle/etc. does it pay well? Is it fulfilling? Is there room for improvement?

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  33. I just have to say, the backlash to Fizzy's original post seems a little ridiculous. This is a blog, right? A place for people with similar lifestyles, interests, or at least an interest in reading this blog, to express themselves. Maybe the tone of Fizzy's blog wasn't entirely inscrutable, but I don't think that should be the point. I personally enjoy reading the 'real' stuff that these women feel. I prefer that to a sugar-coated/'I don't want to offend anyone who might read this' kind of post. That's just my opinion.

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  34. Oh, dear. If you complain on a blog you have no shoes, someone would write in saying how dare you complain, I have no feet. If you complain you have no feet, someone would say you over-indulged nincompoop, I have no limbs....and so on, and so on. We all have a right to vent, even if we have jobs/warm clothes/a house over our heads--luxuries half the world doesn't have. And I hate working weekends...even though I know I'm providing for the family. I work on weekends and have the satisfaction I could vent about it. It's therapeutic to vent. Vent away, Fizzy. I enjoy your posts. I don't have a google account so I will be one of the anonymouses. :)

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  35. I totally agree. I hate working weekends especially now that I have a 6 month old. As a surgery resident, I leave work before he wakes up and come home after he sleeps. There have been weeks where I have not seen him awake during the weekday. I live for the weekends when I can just play with my baby and remind him what his mamma's face looks like. I now hate being on weekends more than ever. Just one more year and I will finish residency and have more control over my hours and not be at the beck of someone else! Thanks again for your posts. It makes me feel like I'm not alone as a mom in medicine.

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  36. Another hater for the working weekend. I'm a resident with a 2 year old, married to another in medicine. In my past career in Epidemiology at least when I worked on the weekends it was my choice to write papers, do analysis, etc. Before that, when I worked in service jobs on the weekend, you would always get days off, even if they weren't Saturday and Sunday.

    It's so rare to get a weekend in which we are all home together just relaxing. No pager, no textbook, no night shift looming. I can't wait to finish residency and be my own boss for the weekend!

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  37. I like mamadoc's early comment. She's worked weekends and hates them but it was part of the territory. Vent away Fizzy but it did not occur to you any time during your shadowing, premed, med school and first residency that this might be something that is part of what you do? I agree with OBGYN doc that it sounds a little self indulgent. My husband does get the pleasure of weekends but has longer much more stressful days also. I hate leav ing my kids everyday not just the weekends. But I chose my profession and my current job. I will not be driven to tears by my own choices.

    Sorry no Google account--Sunni

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  38. >>The philosophical question is that if you like some things about medicine but are someone who really hates the hours involved (and some people do more than others), is it better to avoid medicine?>>

    Short answer: yes, I think you should avoid medicine if you really hate the hours.

    Long answer: I think it depends how much you hate the hours. As many have pointed out, most people don't love being on-call or working when their family and friends aren't.

    Certainly, for myself, I don't love leaving my warm bed to drive out to a farm in the middle of the night, but I accept this as part of my job. Honestly, once I arrive at an emergency, I become involved with managing the patient and am happy as a clam... unless the client is stupid and has been watching the horse all day but decided it required my attention *right now*. This used to annoy me; now, it can provoke rage. When I hit that point, I realized I could not continue doing this indefinitely.

    I've actually spent a lot of time analyzing what about my current work makes me miserable. There are plenty of minor negatives: the long/early hours, the salary, the danger, euthanasia. I can live with all that.

    Now, what I really hate are unpredictable hours with no respite and dealing with clients, because they're never going to smarten up.

    I think it's really a two-part question: what are the negatives of your job, and are those *major* negatives for you, personally? If the answer to the second question is yes, well, I think you need to consider a change, no matter the obstacles.

    (LOL... word verification = pharrep - trying to tell me something?)

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  39. Well, I guess just as it's my right to complain, it's other people's right to tell me I should shut up. *shrug* I just didn't realize that not liking to work on weekends was so controversial. I've got a super controversial post coming up soon about the sky being blue.

    Also, maybe I'm an idiot, but I don't know what it means to be "self-indulgent." The only time I've ever heard that term is on American Idol when someone sings a song and Simon Cowell tells them they're being self-indulgent... never made much sense to me. So I finally googled it and it says "exhibiting excessive or immoderate indulgence of one's own personal desires and needs above all others." I still don't entirely get it. Am I self-indulgent because I want a better life than certain other people? Isn't everyone self-indulgent then?

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  40. I think there is no controversy in hating the working weekend. Controversy arises when you state that your prior investment is forcing you to do it. Outrider has it that there is no easy or short answer. But I think the early posts expressing concern about your career choice reflect that your post had nothing of why you stay in medicine besides your past training. If you love what you do otherwise, you decide if the cost of the weekend is worth it. You are right, you had other choices and you still do. Good luck.

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  41. Thank you for writing honestly about your feelings.

    I too, greatly dislike working weekends, I would say it's the worst aspect of a job I otherwise love. Yet, I picked this job and there are other trade-offs which make it worthwhile and satisfying enough for me in other ways that I suffer the weekends. As an internist, I could easily move into another job that would require less or no weekends. Easily. But those jobs have features about them that I wouldn't enjoy, probably more so than working weekends for me does now. I also am compensated well for working weekends, not that this makes up for time away from the whole family.

    It's all a choice (well, after residency, that is). When I started this job, I worked a whole lot more weekends (and had no children), and now that I have 2.5, I am selecting a pathway that involves less weekends. The great thing about many academic jobs is the chance for flexiblity, taking on administrative roles, that changes job structure.

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  42. Fizzy, I was also surprised that this post turned out to be so controversial.

    I don't like working weekends, either, but I don't *hate* it. I knew it would part of my job for the long haul when I started in neurosurgery. We have a lot of emergencies, so weekend call has to be covered. I'm lucky to only be on one weekend out of four.

    When I get aggravated with it, I think, "What if I were off on the weekend and saw a pedestrian get hit by a car? What would I do? I would put my plans on hold and stop to do everything I could to help the person. Taking care of an emergency on call is really no different, and I should be no less willing to set aside my plans to help that person." That helps me feel better about a busy call weekend.

    My son often likes hearing the stories about what I saw and did on my call weekend.

    That said, I often feel about sleep deprivation as you feel about working weekends. I love sleep. Love it! In residency, I sometimes thought getting away from the sleep deprivation would be worth switching careers. Of course, it wasn't worth it, and I didn't. But boy, sometimes it was tempting, especially at the end of a 36 hour shift. So I totally get where you're coming from.

    I still sometimes say jokingly that I went into the wrong field because I hate losing sleep so much! :-)

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  43. >>I often feel about sleep deprivation as you feel about working weekends.>>

    I could ask, if you love sleep, why did you decide to have kids?, but I digress...

    Ideally, one should be able to tolerate the less desirable aspects of one's job without becoming depressed or enraged. Reading Fizzy's original post, it sounded like working weekends is intolerable and makes her completely miserable. I found this puzzling, since the impression I got from past posts is that Fizzy works regular hours with few, if any, on-call committments. If this hasn't proved true six months into attending-land (residency was no doubt a different animal), why not consider other options?

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  44. Outrider,

    Certainly you can ask, and I would say: because I love being a mom even more than sleeping. And I love operating more than sleeping. I suppose I should actually say that I hate sleep deprivation, not that I love sleeping.

    We all make sacrifices to do the things we love. We just prioritize. If our priorities change over time, as yours evidently have, we change what we are doing, as you have quite sensibly done.

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  45. Wow, Fizzy, way to go with controversial blogs. 44 comments?! Anyway, thank you for stimulating discussion and contemplation!

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  46. Thanks to gcs15 for putting my thoughts into words. If I did not love what I do I would never leave my munchkins on a weekend to do it. May sound terrible, but in the midst of work I am not generally thinking about home but about how to do the work. In less busy moments of course I miss the sticky kisses and cute stories. But medicine for me is avocation. no I am not claiming sainthood, I just like what I do. So Fizzy's tears are hard for me to get *shrug*

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  47. >>If our priorities change over time, as yours evidently have, we change what we are doing, as you have quite sensibly done.>>

    For me, it wasn't so much a shifting of priorities as a realization: this is NOT what I expected, I don't like it at all, and despite considerable effort, I can't figure out how to make it better.

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  48. Fizzy -- I love that your posts engender such rage from some people. It make me look forward to reading the posts, and all of the comments. Keep it up! I'm tired of reading drivel people write in order to make themselves be liked by everyone. This is so much more interesting!

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  49. gsc15: I actually hate being sleep deprived too! Almost as much as working weekends.

    I feel like it's all about ratios. If you love your job more than you hate being sleep deprived or working weekends, then you're good. But when I was in college, there were many career paths I could have taken that would have allowed me lots of sleep and no weekends. So I do wonder if medicine was "worth it" in that regard. What if I could have been just as happy as, say, an actuary, yet been allowed to work regular hours? The ratios would have been much better.

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  50. I actually wouldn't say that I hate sleep deprivation.... I really love sleep. I would love to give up night call forever but since a significant portion of my practice is low-risk obs, I have to do a few nights a month (usually 2, which is pretty bearable).

    Like outrider mentioned, once I am actually at work delivering little bundles of joy and supporting labouring women and their families, I find myself snapping wide awake. If you ask me, was medicine "worth it", I would say yes, without a doubt.

    I didn't find your post controversial but my theory is that some people take issue with doctors complaining at all. After all, we get good money and prestige, and on top of that, we get to help people. Sometimes I think that both doctors and non-doctors expect us to be superhuman, with no physical or emotional needs. We're not allowed to have any weaknesses, if that makes any sense.

    That being said, doctors are certainly not the only ones who have to work weekends or odd hours. We do get paid way better though. And actually you might be surprised to know that many actuaries have to put in unpaid overtime hours.

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  51. >>some people take issue with doctors complaining at all. After all, we get good money and prestige, and on top of that, we get to help people.>>

    Money isn't a priority for me, as long as I can pay my bills. Veterinarians are also held in high esteem by most people. I care much more about helping horses than people, honestly, which is just one reason I'm a veterinarian, not a physician.

    I simply don't think it's a big deal to work weekends. With that, I'm off to work now. My significant other already left.

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  52. Wow! What a conversation.
    For the record I love being a mum, I am happy in medicine and I too am often at the point of tears when I am sleep deprived and away from my babies. And a change of career is not what I want. Nor am I some blubbering mess of a woman.

    Being a mum is hard...and oh so wonderful
    Being a doctor is pretty bloody hard at times...but I wouldn't change it
    This blog is a place where people doing both wax lyrical about the challenges and rewards of the combining of two hard wonderful jobs.

    I often wonder momentarily if being a receptionist would have been better, working 9-5 Monday to Friday and leaving work at work...

    then I think...Of course not!

    And by the way..
    Not sure about the states but there is nothing good about the money junior doctors get in Australia.

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  53. More than I hate working weekends, I hate working holidays. I hate driving to work on the completely empty streets, parking in the nearly empty parking lot, and hating everyone who is with their families.

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  54. Wow. What a thread. Balance of what you love and hate. For me currently the sacrifice is worth it. In spite of all the training and debt, if the ratio changes I am out.

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  55. >>More than I hate working weekends, I hate working holidays.>>

    Coming up on my eighth consecutive Thanksgiving and tenth consecutive Christmas on-call. Working holidays doesn't bother me, as long as I have a little uninterrupted time for my loved ones. I usually get tired of eating and lounging and cut out to ride my horse at some point during the day, anyhow. My family understands.

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  56. Sleep deprivation turns me into a miserable monster. It was my one doubt before going to medical school. I wish I'd listened.

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  57. tired, but mostly happyNovember 28, 2010 at 8:15 PM

    I'm sorry that you are feeling bad. Truly, that is the thing that matters, and not comparing yourself to other people. I think it's helpful to be objective whenever I am on call and driving away from my family or answering a phone call instead of finishing the chapter I was in the middle of. Some physicians/nurses/phlebotomists/physical therapists etc. are working every weekend, and whenever one of my kids is sick on a weekend (or thanksgiving, as the case may be) I am always grateful that a competent and caring person is on the other end of the phone, in the ER, doing the x-ray, or doing the ID consult. I always express my appreciation to these folks because I know that on any given day it may be very hard for this person to be away from their family. I make no pretenses - I don't love being on call and woken up in the middle of the night and I don't look forward to periodic extra time away from my family. Yet, in my case, my doing this every 4-8 weeks means that the rest of the time, one of my colleagues takes care of my patients, whom I love - and in general with the same dedication they'd give to one of their own patients. So, unless the value of helping people had vanished for me altogether, call and weekend work is just part of the package. Perhaps actuaries don't work on weekends. But nurses, gas station attendants, shoe salesman, reporters, laboratory scientists, librarians, firemen, waitresses, electricians, the check-out person at target, snow plow drivers all do... and I'd be terrible at (and not love) most of those jobs. But you shouldn't beat yourself up for feeling sad on any given day.

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  58. THANK YOU for your post. Gosh, I feel ya (quasi MS4, on a year of research before that dreaded year..). THANK you for being honest because come on, we're all human and you just admit it. I say write on because you make my day...

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