Author Topic: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money  (Read 12017 times)

LawDoc

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Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« on: October 25, 2012, 12:07:56 PM »
Hello MMM Forum!

I'm a medical resident at a crossroads and I would love to hear some opinions from the forum.

In the next 12 months, I will need to pick a sub-specialty to pursue after my residency.

I love geriatrics and I really like gastroenterology.

The kicker is, however, that gastroenterology reimburses much better than geriatrics.  The average salaries from gastroenterologists is ~$275k, versus $175k for the average geriatrician.

So, do I do something I truly really like that will reimburse me well, versus doing something I think I love that pays quite a bit less?

I know this all comes down to goals... my goals are to pay down my student debt (nearly $100k from medical school) and to achieve financial independence quickly.  I love medical practice and don't envision myself wanting to retire young, but I would like the flexibility to work less (say, 40 hours a week instead of the average physician's 60-70 hours).

Now, the prevailing conventional wisdom is "do what you love" and "follow your passion"... but I'm not sure that I buy that.  People think that following their passion (professionally) will make them happy at work, but I'm finding that my happiness at work is more related to 1) autonomy, 2) flexibility, and 3) being part of a good team of co-workers than the actual content of my tasks.

Then again, I've been in school or training for the last 24 years and have never had a real job, so what do I know?

Happy to provide more information, but thought this would be a good jumping-off point.

Thanks for any insights!
LD

RoseRelish

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 12:20:02 PM »
If you don't want to retire ASAP, I'd say to pick the one you love. The money is great in either case, so you can achieve FI pretty fast no matter your choice. If the one you loved paid $40k and the other paid $250k, then you'd have some explaining to do. In the end, your life will probably be about the same making either $175k or $275k.

bo_knows

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 12:21:32 PM »
If it's a choice between something you "really like" and something you "love" but the "really like" category gets you to your goals much much quicker, I'd be going with that.  There are plenty of people out there choosing between "hate" and "only kinda hate". :)

Side note: I've had a scope down my throat more than a dozen times... gastroenterologists are a dime a dozen in my area, but all of them seem to be doing well.

KulshanGirl

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 12:30:21 PM »
I agree with Widerhaken.  If you're setting forth in your new career with this mustachian outlook, either salary is going to rock your world and get you what you want, and fast.  I would go with what you love.  Plus, it seems that with geriatrics you look forward to a career of treating the whole person, wonderful persons with lifetimes of stories.  And you'd probably be able to land jobs in gorgeous places everywhere, as there are plenty of retirees in those places.  :) 

Devils Advocate

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 12:34:22 PM »
If you think you can enjoy GI "enough" than I would definitely do that. 

You can then scale back your employment, work PT, make as much as a full time Geriatrician, and fully ENJOY your life!
Ultimately it's up to you and your values, but I would take a serious look at the more $$$.

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MoonPilgrim

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 01:12:00 PM »
I'm not that familiar with careers in this realm, but do people who select certain specialties tend to have a certain personality type?  (Doctors, nurses, and administrative staff?)  Since you like both specialties and your happiness depends partly on the team you work with, this might be a factor. 

Of course, everyone doesn't fit neatly in a box, but I found that when I was teaching and split my time between two schools, I tended to get along better with the elementary school teachers, and didn't click as well with the high school teachers.

At another job I held, the field engineers had a very different dynamic than the network engineers.  If there's still time, I would spend some time around people who do both geriatrics and gastroenterology, and see what kind of feel you get.

Do you tend to get along better with women or with men?  Is either specialty predominantly one or the other?  I've always had a very hard time getting along with other women, particularly in a work environment.  Of course there are plenty of exceptions, but the competition, manipulation, and politics are exhausting.  Unfortunately, I work in finance/administration/purchasing, and where most of my employees and coworkers are women.

That might not help at all, but maybe there's some food for thought?

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 02:45:34 PM »
I say take the money. You may be excited now going into your "love" field, but that may not be the case in 5 years of 70 hour weeks. With the substantially larger salary you would have FI much sooner to pursue your end goals. 100k /yr of additional savings is an extreme difference.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 02:47:10 PM by Scuba Stache »

jrhampt

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 04:24:15 PM »

Do you tend to get along better with women or with men?  Is either specialty predominantly one or the other?  I've always had a very hard time getting along with other women, particularly in a work environment.  Of course there are plenty of exceptions, but the competition, manipulation, and politics are exhausting.  Unfortunately, I work in finance/administration/purchasing, and where most of my employees and coworkers are women.

Wow, so sorry that you find women to be so awful to work with.  Jeez.  It's already hard enough as it is to deal with sexism in the workplace without it coming from other women.

needmyfi

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 07:35:24 PM »
Thanks jr, couldn't have said it better.

For what its worth, take the love it and leave the money.  You wil have plenty of money either way and since I ain't getting any younger, I will need a doc who loves the job.

grantmeaname

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 07:55:29 PM »
Wow, so sorry that you find women to be so awful to work with.  Jeez.  It's already hard enough as it is to deal with sexism in the workplace without it coming from other women.
What the fuck is up with the hyper-politically-correct fake indignation all over the forums lately? MoonPilgrim said she works with a bunch of catty women, and doing some introspection said she realized that more generally she just doesn't work well with women. That's not sexism, that's an accurate generalization for her based on her experience. It's not like she's set on keeping women down under a glass ceiling! She's making a useful and accurate statement about her career that may prompt a moment of genuine reflection from the OP and serve as a useful pointer. Or it may not, and it'll be discarded and the world will go on no worse for the wear.

Geez.

KingCoin

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2012, 11:23:00 PM »
I'm starting to see some backlash to the conventional "follow your passion" line of thinking. The recent article sums it up pretty well:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/jobs/follow-a-career-passion-let-it-follow-you.html
http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/09/solving_gen_ys_passion_problem.html

Basically, the argument is that it's hard to know what you'll be truly passionate about until you've spent a a few years with it. Following that line of thinking, and given that you think you'd enjoy both fields, I'd take the extra money. Things become more muddled if we're talking about investment banking vs teaching or something like that.

To address the complications of women working for women, it's apparently not all anecdotal, at least if the "Workplace Bullying Institute" is to be believed.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/business/10women.html
That's not to say it might not be the manifestation of dysfunctional gender relations in the workplace more broadly speaking.

needmyfi

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2012, 03:22:58 AM »
This is getting completely off topic, but I looked at the gender bullying link and found it to be a sensationalistic take on "gender politics" for people who are bad at math.   In a room filled with 100 bullied people, according to the article, 60 people have been bullied by men -30 are women and 30 are men while the other 40 have been bullied by women with 28 of these being women and only 12 are men.  I know, lies damn lies and statistics.  According to the figures in this article, a working woman is still just as likely to be bullied by a male boss. The article then goes on to say that over 50 percent of the managers are women but doesn't give us a percentage to further calculate your odds of the gender of your shitty boss, but only further supports the statistics that if your boss is a dick he might have one.  Gee the article ponders, is this some sort of women hatin on women thing!  Maybe the mid level women who do like to be assholes have figured out that male subordinates are more likely to push back and go to upper level, still mostly male management and complain that their supervisor is on the rag again.

Someone who chooses a career based on the likely gender of their supervisor may need to look at the whole equation.

As for political correctness, calling out some (insert perjorative adjective based on a sterotype)(member of a group you have already determined likely to fit that sterotype) not making you a (insert douche).....
I am a 54 year old female with a degree in mechanical engineering and only had one female boss.   She was fantastic.  I also had many male bosses who were also fantastic, in fact I haveonly had one boss who was a jerk.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 04:39:52 AM by needmyfi »

Snow White

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2012, 05:27:41 AM »
I am an RN married to a surgeon so I have a bit of experience with this field.  Gastroenterology is a surgical subspecialty so review your training and think about whether you like the surgical environment.  Does surgery excite you, thrill you, challenge you or do you approach the surgical suites with fear and trepidation?  As you know, a significant part of your work life would be in that environment.  I personally like the team work in a the clean,  contained environment and I like technology so the OR is a good fit for me but it isn't for everyone.  (I don't currently work in the OR but that is another story). Most physicians  spend a chunk of their time taking call at night,  on weekends,  holidays, etc and that CAN be miserable or it can be minimal depending on the your work setting and specialty.

Your decision should ultimately be about how you want to spend your work days and it sounds like you have two good choices.   Good luck!

jrhampt

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2012, 06:29:53 AM »
Wow, so sorry that you find women to be so awful to work with.  Jeez.  It's already hard enough as it is to deal with sexism in the workplace without it coming from other women.
What the fuck is up with the hyper-politically-correct fake indignation all over the forums lately? MoonPilgrim said she works with a bunch of catty women, and doing some introspection said she realized that more generally she just doesn't work well with women. That's not sexism, that's an accurate generalization for her based on her experience. It's not like she's set on keeping women down under a glass ceiling! She's making a useful and accurate statement about her career that may prompt a moment of genuine reflection from the OP and serve as a useful pointer.

There's no fake indignation involved; that's real indignation because I get tired of hearing this crap from other women.  And it is sexism, so that's what I'm calling it.  If she said she doesn't work well with black people because of some sort of stereotypical excuse (or useful and "accurate generalization"), we would call it racism, because that's what it would be.  It's pretty simple.

But to respond to the OP, I say follow the money.  He likes the other field, and it's a huge pay difference.

happy

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2012, 06:58:14 AM »
OP,

Have you had enough experience in both areas to decide? 
As someone else said gastro is a more procedural specialty hence the higher $, but also higher medical liability insurance and more lawsuits, whilst geriatrics is a cognitive specialty that requires a high level of concentrated thought and  considerable patience.
What are the job prospects like? - in my country gastro is very competitive and its hard to get good jobs, but geriatrics being less popular, its easier get job choice
What are your preferences re afterhours and oncall - again gastros here are required to do urgent scope lists

Whether its 275k or 175k, its still a fine salary achieve FI the mustache way.

Personally I'd go for the one that suited my preferred lifestyle and my personality... I'd rather be happy along the way.

totoro

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2012, 07:30:01 AM »
Maybe you should take some doctors in both specialties out for coffee and ask their advice. 

I would consider future lifestyle fit as much as salary given that you are going to have enough to retire anyway and don't have plans to go for that on an early timeline.  What if you did a vision board (yes, my stock response) for your career.  Put what you want your life to be like in all aspects and really focus on what your worklife will be like.  Include monetary and non-monetary values like continued learning, job satisfaction, free time...

What a great problem to have :)

arebelspy

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2012, 08:04:30 AM »
This isn't a typical "follow your passion versus follow the money" debate, for two main reasons:

1) OP has stated both will make them happy (though might enjoy one more than the other).  Typically it's a choice of love versus hate in these debates.

2) Both pay well.  Typically it's a choice of paying almost nothing versus paying well.

Thus most of the traditional arguments (along with some of the above comments) need to be thrown out, IMO.
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freelancerNfulltimer

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2012, 09:12:31 AM »
For the difference of 100k a year, take what you like over what you love.

You'll be surprised how quickly something you love can become a chore when you're forced to do it day in and day out for a paycheck.

I agree with the other poster that true happiness in a workplace comes from flexibility, autonomy and a good team to work with.

I love making websites. I don't love so much being told to; make this purple instead of lavendar, make this font 2 points smaller, change this back to the way it was before - nope just kidding, change it back again, please don't have phone calls at your cube, your timecards are not filled out 100% the way we'd like them to be, watch out for the catty girls upstairs who like to put others down to make themselves look better rather than just do their job correctly ... etc...

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2012, 08:40:38 PM »
Wow, so sorry that you find women to be so awful to work with.  Jeez.  It's already hard enough as it is to deal with sexism in the workplace without it coming from other women.
What the fuck is up with the hyper-politically-correct fake indignation all over the forums lately? MoonPilgrim said she works with a bunch of catty women, and doing some introspection said she realized that more generally she just doesn't work well with women. That's not sexism, that's an accurate generalization for her based on her experience. It's not like she's set on keeping women down under a glass ceiling! She's making a useful and accurate statement about her career that may prompt a moment of genuine reflection from the OP and serve as a useful pointer.

There's no fake indignation involved; that's real indignation because I get tired of hearing this crap from other women.  And it is sexism, so that's what I'm calling it.  If she said she doesn't work well with black people because of some sort of stereotypical excuse (or useful and "accurate generalization"), we would call it racism, because that's what it would be.  It's pretty simple.


I wouldn't call it sexism, I'd call it a low tolerance for bullshit. I work with almost exclusively men, and while some are still dramatic (and fill the environment with politics) but the number of them I can't stand to work with, are much much less than the number of females I've had issues with. 


sheepstache

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2012, 09:37:43 PM »
Wow, so sorry that you find women to be so awful to work with.  Jeez.  It's already hard enough as it is to deal with sexism in the workplace without it coming from other women.
What the fuck is up with the hyper-politically-correct fake indignation all over the forums lately? MoonPilgrim said she works with a bunch of catty women, and doing some introspection said she realized that more generally she just doesn't work well with women. That's not sexism, that's an accurate generalization for her based on her experience. It's not like she's set on keeping women down under a glass ceiling! She's making a useful and accurate statement about her career that may prompt a moment of genuine reflection from the OP and serve as a useful pointer.

There's no fake indignation involved; that's real indignation because I get tired of hearing this crap from other women.  And it is sexism, so that's what I'm calling it.  If she said she doesn't work well with black people because of some sort of stereotypical excuse (or useful and "accurate generalization"), we would call it racism, because that's what it would be.  It's pretty simple.


I wouldn't call it sexism, I'd call it a low tolerance for bullshit. I work with almost exclusively men, and while some are still dramatic (and fill the environment with politics) but the number of them I can't stand to work with, are much much less than the number of females I've had issues with.

I work with almost exlusively white people, and while some are still dramatic (and fill the environment with politics) the number of them I can't stand to work with, are much less than the number of black people I've had issues with.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2012, 10:01:30 PM »
I am in the position to be able to avoid dramatic people of all kinds in my workplace.  I find, however, that I don't often have to do that nearly as much when working with men, than when I've worked with women.

That is my experience.  You might not like it, but then again, I imagine you might be someone I wouldn't get along with well anyway.

I am not less likely to hire a woman, or promote one, should I be the decision maker.  My personal understanding of sexism/racism is to give someone preference over another, based on factors outside their control (gender, gender identity, race, etc).  I wouldn't do that.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 10:10:09 PM by Self-employed-swami »

Snow White

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2012, 07:06:35 PM »
Lawdoc...be sure and let us know which path you take!

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2012, 08:02:25 PM »
Lawdoc...be sure and let us know which path you take!

Indeed.  Sorry that your thread got hijacked.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2012, 11:21:33 PM »
I just got a private message from needmyfi.  I was going to reply to it, but I thought it might be more interesting to post it here, along with the response I've drafted:

"Sorry you have so many issues with women and there are in general so many people you can't stand to work with.  I personally feel my energies are better spent trying to forge productive working relationships with coworkers as opposed to stereotyping perceived flaws in groups of individuals.  I was a mechanical engineer and worked mostly with men.  I also worked in a place where I was often the only white person in the room. I didn't always like every one but when conflict arose sometimes I needed to look at myself and try to foster cooperation instead of division.  I sense that you see your self confessed lack of tolerance as a virtue.  Good luck with that. You may find your career path rocky indeed."

This is my response, however I get the impression that she's already pre-judged me, and isn't open to revisiting it:

"I think you are reading a lot more into what I said, than I wrote.  I'm not sure why you feel the need to chastise me via personal message either.  I never said that there are many people I prefer not to work with, but that of the few I've encountered, all but one have been female.  I've been working professionally since I was 20, and as such, I've worked with a number of males and females.  The vast majority of actual university-educated professionals of either gender have been a pleasure to work with.  I actually find that the dramatic people, are the people who are less secure with themselves, because of a lack of education, and therefor have felt threatened by younger, more educated people (usually women).

I'm sorry if you're offended by my opinion, but we don't always get along with everyone.  That being said, I've been able to craft a working environment such that I rarely have to work directly with anyone that petty now; On an ongoing basis, dramatic people don't last in my working environment, of their own doing.  I value co-workers who come to work to be productive, not gossip and be dramatic.  I am actually in a supervisory position in the job that I have now, and I am a self-employed contractor.  I have gained a lot of experience 'forging relationships' and I certainly don't have nearly as many unresolved workplace conflicts as I used to, at the beginning of my career.

I'm not sure if you actually messaged me in an attempt to provide advice, or just point out how much better of a person you are than me, but your message comes off as pretty smarmy.  I don't 'have it out' for anyone, based on their gender, or any other factor.  I don't prejudge anyone, and I hold people's skills and abilities in the highest regard, as opposed to office politics."
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 05:06:22 AM by FrugalToque »

totoro

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2012, 10:08:56 AM »
I'm not sure where the line between sexism and true gender differences lies.  There is no doubt in my mind that women have suffered from gender stereotypes in the workplace, but there is also no doubt in my mind that women and men have gender differences. 

Unlike visible skin colour differences, gender likely does have some impact on brain processing and interpersonal relationships in many cases.  In addition, there is the argument that men and women learn different ways of interacting based on their environment: nature vs. nurture.   

As for me, I just don't get that fired up about the topic.  I feel that there are biological and learned differences in most cases, but I don't mind who I work with as long as they treat me fairly.  If someone does prefer to work with men or women I view that as potentially an issue as it could impact hiring decisions and upward mobility in the workplace, which would be unfair it done based on gender alone.  I would not like to have a man or woman not want to work with me just because I'm female.

•American Academy of Neurology. "Men More Likely to Have Problems With Memory and Thinking Skills." ScienceDaily. April 18, 2008. (Sept. 16, 2008) http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/04/080416152000.htm
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/01/17/summers_remarks_on_women_draw_fire/
•Bryner, Jeanna. "Why Men Dominate Math and Science Fields." LiveScience. Oct. 9, 2007. (Sept. 16, 2008) http://www.livescience.com/health/071009-women-science.html
•Carey, Bjorn. "Men and Women Really Do Think Differently." LiveScience. Jan. 20, 2005. (Sept. 16, 2008) http://www.livescience.com/health/050120_brain_sex.html
•Douglas, Kate. "Cherchez la difference. For years, war has raged over the emotional differences between men and women. Now brain imaging may settle the matter -- or will it?" New Scientist. April 27, 1996. (Sept. 16, 2008) http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15020279.100-cherchez-la-diff%E9rence--for-years-war-has-raged-over-the-emotional-differences-between-men-andwomen-now-brain-imaging-may-settle-the-matteror-will-it-kate-douglasreports.html
•­Hoag, Hannah. "Sex on the brain." New Scientist. July 19, 2008
•Hotz, Robert Lee. "Deep, Dark Secrets of His and Her Brains." Los Angeles Times. June 16, 2005. (Sept. 16, 2008) http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-brainsex16jun16,0,5806592,full.story
•Karolinska Institutet. "Sex Differences in the Brain's Serotonin System." ScienceDaily. Feb. 17, 2008. (Sept. 16, 2008) http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2008/02/080213111043.htm
•Kolata, Gina. "Men and Women Use Brain Differently, Study Discovers." New York Times. Feb. 16, 1995. (Sept. 16, 2008) http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE1D8173FF935A25751C0A963958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all
•Ripley, Amanda. "Who Says a Woman Can't Be Einstein?" Time. March 7, 2005. (Sept. 16, 2008)
•http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1032301,00.html
•Society for Women's Health Research. "Sex Differences Extend Into the Brain." ScienceDaily. March 3, 2008. (Sept. 16, 2008)
•http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2008/02/080229171609.htm
•Thompson, Andrea. "Gender Difference in Grammar." LiveScience. Dec. 9, 2006. (Sept. 16, 2008) http://www.livescience.com/health/061208_gender_grammar.html
•York University. "Male and Female Brain Patterns Differ During Reaching." ScienceDaily. April 14, 2007. (Sept. 16, 2008) http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2007/04/070413212142.htm
 

sideways8

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2012, 11:15:26 AM »
Wow those are two pretty darn good choices when you think about it! Either way, you'll be in the six figure range. Of course, you have to consider what others said- how soon you want to retire, how quickly you want to pay off debt, etc.  and the three happiness components you mentioned (1) autonomy, 2) flexibility, and 3) being part of a good team of co-workers). Which of these are you willing to compromise a little? Would the geriatrics specialty give you more of the "1,2,3" that make a happier environment? Would it be enough to offset the slower debt payment and later retirement/FI?

You are rather fortunate that in your case following your passion will still get you to a good place financially! I'm a bit of an optimist so please don't mind my enthusiasm for your exciting options :)

Just curious- are you planning on becoming board certified?

As for the gender thing, I've worked in environments where I was the only female as well as female dominated (as is the case of my current job). Personally, I get along with everyone who is relatively sane and do not have a gender preference. What I DO mind is when people are drama queens/kings and when managers refuse to manage or who just really, really suck at it and do a worse job than I would.

LawDoc

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2012, 08:36:45 AM »
Hi all-

Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies (minus the hijacking... which is thought-provoking in another way).

I tallied them up, and the final recommendations have been:
GO FOR LOVE:  4
TAKE THE MONEY:  5

So, a pretty even division of opinions... and I could not agree more with those of you who said I'm fortunate to have the conundrum I do... not exactly a Sophie's-choice, by any means.

Writing my original post was a great exercise -- it really helped me crystallize my goals and realize some things about myself.

In particular, even though I don't want to retire young, I view my debt (especially my 100k of med school loans) like a noose around my neck.  Some of my equally-indebted colleagues don't feel that burden, but I perceive it acutely... which points me toward GI and higher pay.

So, if I had to decide tomorrow, GI would be my pick.  As you know, though, most advisers/mentors are not Mustachian, and the conventional advice, by far, has been "follow your passion".  Ultimately, I've got a few months and I'll keep you all posted on the final decision.

Thanks again!
LD

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2012, 08:56:10 AM »
Good luck on your decision. 

:)

Osprey

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2012, 10:18:07 AM »
LawDoc: Best of luck with your decision. I'm three years out of med school and thinking of quitting altogether so take my opinion with a bucket of salt but:

It's a Job. Do it for the money.

Look at it this way: how many extra hours of work in geriatrics would you need to do in order to reach the same amount of money that you'd make from a day in gastroenterology? Inversely, how much shorter could you make your day if you worked the higher-paying job? Is the difference in time/money/energy worth it to you?

Togoshiman

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2012, 12:19:16 PM »
OP, I'm in the legal field several years out and, for me, the substantive work/topic area matters much less than autonomy, compensation, environment, people around you, atmosphere, etc.  I would weigh those heavily in your decision, a la what Snow White said - which environment would you be most comfortable in most of the time.  If those factors balance out roughly equal, for me the comp difference would really push me in that direction because it gets me freedom much more quickly.  With that freedom you will be able to design your dream practice or join your dream team. 

Put another way, subject matter you truly like plus the total freedom to shape all those other intangibles of your life and work very rapidly would, for me, outweigh pure subject matter I like more. 

Good luck!




unpolloloco

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2012, 01:32:01 PM »
Keep in mind that 100k in debt will go down very quickly once you're making 6 figures.  As someone making 175k/year, you really don't need to worry all that much about FI assuming you don't have lifestyle inflation.  Lifestyle inflation is the enemy here!

A440

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2012, 11:44:41 PM »
Isn't a geriatrics fellowship shorter than GI?  That might be a consideration too.

How onerous would your call responsibilities be in GI vs geriatrics?

desrever

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2012, 12:35:01 PM »
As someone who saw his household (me+wife) income swell in the last three years from to 300K to 580K due to some promotions and well-timed company switches ... I say take the money. An additional 100K/yr adds up insanely quick if you are serious about saving it and letting it grow. We are 31 and last year spent a half million dollars cash on a house. We've been able to lend money to our friends and family at low rates to help them get out of stupid debt. That extra income stream can translate to years of your life to do whatever you want. Make sure you're visualizing that freedom when you make your decision.

It Figures

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2012, 06:19:46 PM »
As someone who saw his household (me+wife) income swell in the last three years from to 300K to 580K due to some promotions and well-timed company switches ... I say take the money. An additional 100K/yr adds up insanely quick if you are serious about saving it and letting it grow. We are 31 and last year spent a half million dollars cash on a house. We've been able to lend money to our friends and family at low rates to help them get out of stupid debt. That extra income stream can translate to years of your life to do whatever you want. Make sure you're visualizing that freedom when you make your decision.

PLEASE tell us what you and your wife do for a living that you saw your income almost double in three years and you're 31 with a half million dollar house paid in cash!!!!  BTW, whatever, brought you to this site with an income like that?

It Figures

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2012, 06:38:50 PM »
LawDoc, I think that you will be more satisfied with the GI specialty.   Earn the extra $ but spend as though you are making much less.  Then when you achieve FI, which shouldn't take you too long, you can change the direction of your career if you wish.  Or the other advice that was given, working in the higher paying specialty but for less hours for better quality of life.

LawDoc

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Re: Follow your Passion or Follow the Money
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2012, 11:00:13 AM »
@Desrever- thanks so much for your response.  I've enjoyed reading all of the comments on this thread, but your natural experiment ("we made X, it was fine; then we made more, and it was better,") particularly resonated with me.

Probably a lesson here about the indefatigable delight of the human mind in anecdote...which I acknowledge is not a great way to plan one's life, but it draws my attention nonetheless.

@A440- you are right that GI will take an additional year of training.  GI fellowships are all 3 years; geriatrics ranges from 1-3, but the one in my current city (where I want to stay) is 2 years.  So, yes, that is definitely something I need to consider...

Thanks again to all for the insights.  I've really enjoyed hearing the Mustachian take on my situation!