I have many plan B’s, but most are quite vague. I am a succesful trader (I developed this my early years in med school, when the workload was bearable), but my capital is too low to make a large enough income. With my medicine degree I have many theoretical options (according to google search anyway). About my rent, I’m actually still living at home (VERY close to the hospital so it was financially irresponsible to move out, especially since I make very low money, not to mention rental prices are pathetically high). However I doubt I’ll be allowed to stay once I quit.
Emily, I’ve had the same ideas but I believe that would simply be getting used to the suck. Everybody starts to enjoy something once you gain some proficiency, but what if you like it from the start?
Polo: When deciding what to do as a specialty I was very fed up with clinical medicine (not quite as bad as now). I went backpacking and wouldn’t come back without a decision. I decided for anesthesia because it is quite broad (no specialization in just one organ), you need to know a lot about the physiology of the whole human body (which was always my favorite subject), no contact with complaining patients, no homework, possibilities to go into other fields (intensive care, pain and emergency), time to work on my trading.
During my internship I loved it: got to discuss about the mechanics of the drugs, about physiology, some procedures etc. All while having the time to study at least 2-3 hours per day and add a great workout at the end of the day.
Now I hate everything, and I do mean everything about this job: 90% is boredom (during surgery when nothing happens), 10% is pure panic, the procedures which were challenging in the beginning are already starting to feel extremely repetitive, the responsability of having a patient’s life in my hands all the time…nearly every single action I do in the hospital is potentially lethal. Yet, everything is extremely rushed and chaotic.
I simply have no time to study anymore (I’ve always enjoyed studying the basic sciences in medicine, not the idiotic mindless repeating of lists of symptoms in clinical medicine. Also have always studied other subjects such as economics. No time to read literature anymore etc.). The hypocrisy in the OR and in medicine is unbearable. Most people in the OR are extraordinarily unfriendly and toxic. You’re right that this could be improved and is only temporary.
However I believe this environment makes you toxic. Normally I’m a very good humored person, however since I started this residency I’m a constantly angry time bomb. Quite often my bosses tell me exactly the opposite: they have completely different approaches. There is no STRUCTURED education…hell in my second week I had to do anesthesia on a guy who got a Whipple operation (an >8 hour long MAJOR abdominal surgery).
Not having some basic control of your schedule is something I extremely hate. I’ve always been a worker and I’ve always gotten up very early in the morning, because it was my choice and to study something meaningful or to do something I enjoy.
In the end what really matters is this: is it normal that since starting this job (and I do mean since day 1) I sleep no more than 5 hours per night (I simply wake up at 2 am and cannot get back to sleep), that I am either feeling like I’m about to cry or EXTREMELY angry (which is good for my lifting though!), that I dread going to work? I know the beginning of something new is always hard, but after a couple of months it’s only going downwards.
Objectively speaking I should quit…both due to emotional and rational reasons. Emotionally I can’t handle this. Rationally: the better is the enemy of the good. Not to mention I have studied in a socialist country and have absolutely no debt whatsoever. If my trial for success and for some basic happiness fails, I can always go back to medicine (and even anesthesiology), at another university / country (I speak 4 languages fluently) if necessary.
I’m not exactly quitting in the middle of school. I’ve done 7 years of med school and internship and am actually a doctor. Now I’ve started a 5 year residency. However I find quitting something I have started very difficult and a sign of weakness. My main concern is peer pressure and especially from my parents. I know this sounds extraordinarily pathetic from a 25 years old, but my family has been going through an excruciating divorce since more than 10 years (due to malignant lawyers) and I simply do not want to be responsible for more pain (talking about my mother here).
This move would wreck her, and she’s been through a shitload. Actually she is the reason I aint quitting right now, but is also unfair of me to put the responsibility of this decision in her hands. It’s easy to say you shouldn’t care what other people think but I’m no sociopath and humans actually live together in a society. Easier said than done.
EDIT: And let me add that you guys are right that I should have a more tangible plan B to avoid to fall in an empty black hole when I quit.