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Law School Grad Thinking About Medicine?


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Don't do medicine, long hours, low pay, no jobs. Its a career where you spend your 20s in the hospital suffering and a real risk of being unable to find a job at the end. Sure not all specialties are like this, but enough of them are like this that considering you have a law degree are likely in your mid 20s choosing medicine is just such a big mistake. 

 

You will be eschewing starbucks latte's, company offered yoga and sharp looking people in clean business suits for the beautiful smell of incontinent bowels in dirty wards that have not been updated since the 70s and half the pay, double the training time. 

 

Seriously misguided.

 

Jobs are specialty-dependent. There are reasonable number of jobs out there for non-surgical specialists. 

 

At the end of the day, it comes down to what you value most. Do you want a career that earns you a lot of easy money but have a job that is stressful and depressing? Or do you want a job that keeps you excited until you retire? 

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Seriously misguided.

 

Jobs are specialty-dependent. There are reasonable number of jobs out there for non-surgical specialists. 

 

At the end of the day, it comes down to what you value most. Do you want a career that earns you a lot of easy money but have a job that is stressful and depressing? Or do you want a job that keeps you excited until you retire? 

 

And yet the rest is true. Would you not agree? Unless you do family, psych, derm or a few other call friendly specialties you pretty much are spending your 20s poor, working hard in a place where fun goes to die. 

 

From your post you are in HK right now? Do you know what the job situation is like in Canada? 

 

I assume your last point was comparing law vs medicine for the OP. What I can tell OP is that sometimes you do think the grass is greener on the other side but what I am trying to say is that medicine is not all roses and flowers and you may be surprised at what you find. Just letting you know that. 

 

Especially when doctors seem to have to do more and more schooling just to find a reasonable job its just not the same kind of career that it was pre 08' recession. 

 

I'm not saying don't do medicine, i'm just trying to give OP and anyone else reading this a different side to things. After reading my posts you might think i must hate medicine and want to quit but actually i don't, I enjoy it and I realize what we do is often a big deal for our patients, its just that I believe the common perception of medicine is different from the reality and I just want to get that reality out there. 

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Don't do medicine, long hours, low pay, no jobs. Its a career where you spend your 20s in the hospital suffering and a real risk of being unable to find a job at the end. Sure not all specialties are like this, but enough of them are like this that considering you have a law degree are likely in your mid 20s choosing medicine is just such a big mistake. 

 

You will be eschewing starbucks latte's, company offered yoga and sharp looking people in clean business suits for the beautiful smell of incontinent bowels in dirty wards that have not been updated since the 70s and half the pay, double the training time. 

 

 

And yet the rest is true. Would you not agree? Unless you do family, psych, derm or a few other call friendly specialties you pretty much are spending your 20s poor, working hard in a place where fun goes to die. 

 

From your post you are in HK right now? Do you know what the job situation is like in Canada? 

 

I assume your last point was comparing law vs medicine for the OP. What I can tell OP is that sometimes you do think the grass is greener on the other side but what I am trying to say is that medicine is not all roses and flowers and you may be surprised at what you find. Just letting you know that. 

 

Especially when doctors seem to have to do more and more schooling just to find a reasonable job its just not the same kind of career that it was pre 08' recession. 

 

I'm not saying don't do medicine, i'm just trying to give OP and anyone else reading this a different side to things. After reading my posts you might think i must hate medicine and want to quit but actually i don't, I enjoy it and I realize what we do is often a big deal for our patients, its just that I believe the common perception of medicine is different from the reality and I just want to get that reality out there. 

 

LOL

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Don't do medicine, long hours, low pay, no jobs. Its a career where you spend your 20s in the hospital suffering and a real risk of being unable to find a job at the end. Sure not all specialties are like this, but enough of them are like this that considering you have a law degree are likely in your mid 20s choosing medicine is just such a big mistake. 

 

You will be eschewing starbucks latte's, company offered yoga and sharp looking people in clean business suits for the beautiful smell of incontinent bowels in dirty wards that have not been updated since the 70s and half the pay, double the training time. 

 

 

Funny, the pre-call visit to Starbucks has been a hallmark of my experience, while one of the main selling points of medicine for me is the avoidance of suits of any kind. 

 

If you're the right kind of personality, medicine is pretty fun and it's certainly possible to have a reasonable lifestyle even as a resident. Of course, as they usually say of things like general surgery, if you can think of anything else you could do, probably stick to that, because it can be a pretty shitty (no pun intended... or was it?) life in training and sometimes beyond. 

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I think medicine is pretty fun. A lot of my friends can't even find stable jobs.

 

I agree. I think a lot of people don't realize what they're getting themselves into and later feel disillusioned or have a hard time separating their true thoughts/feelings from what may be a more pessimistic outlook brought on by lack of sleep and self-care. The other thing is a lot of people get caught up in the social comparison line of thought within the little bubble that medicine is, and forget how fortunate they really are when juxtaposed with the general public.

 

Outside of medicine, there aren't many avenues that can offer a similar mix of meaningful work, personal fulfillment and financial stability. Unless of course you happen to have some unique talent or ability that you can leverage--however most people do not fall into this category.

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I agree. I think a lot of people don't realize what they're getting themselves into and later feel disillusioned or have a hard time separating their true thoughts/feelings from what may be a more pessimistic outlook brought on by lack of sleep and self-care. The other thing is a lot of people get caught up in the social comparison line of thought within the little bubble that medicine is, and forget how fortunate they really are when juxtaposed with the general public.

 

Outside of medicine, there aren't many avenues that can offer a similar mix of meaningful work, personal fulfillment and financial stability. Unless of course you happen to have some unique talent or ability that you can leverage--however most people do not fall into this category.

 

I would agree with this statement, but again I think a lot of people outside medicine have a too romanticized view of medicine. In my opinion, there is definitely a reason why doctors have a higher burnout rate, depression rate and suicide rate than other professions. Our profession increases those rates. 

 

I just think if you have a solid career, and you want to switch it to start medicine over again, just understand that medicine may not be any better than what you think law will be. Sure it might be, but at least walk into it with your eyes open. 

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I would agree with this statement, but again I think a lot of people outside medicine have a too romanticized view of medicine. In my opinion, there is definitely a reason why doctors have a higher burnout rate, depression rate and suicide rate than other professions. Our profession increases those rates

 

I just think if you have a solid career, and you want to switch it to start medicine over again, just understand that medicine may not be any better than what you think law will be. Sure it might be, but at least walk into it with your eyes open. 

 

I agree with what you've written here.

 

For sure, the culture of the profession, the rigours of the training and work, as well as the kinds of people it attracts all play into the exacerbation of those rates. That being said, these things are mitigable, although it is not an easy process and it's one that requires an ongoing commitment.

 

I don't know much about law but from the handful of lawyers and law students I have met, medicine appears to be a better deal. That being said it ultimately depends on the aptitude of the individual, their proclivities and their own level of satisfaction (personally and financially) with their given job prospects in law and whether the opportunity cost of forgoing their current path for med is worthwhile for them in their unique situation. 

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Seems like Edict has softened up his stance considerably over the course of this thread.

 

People are allowed to change their minds. Nonetheless, Edict's made a number of valid points throughout this thread.

 

Sure, they may have come to a more nuanced position, but there is no need to single them out.

 

It's not uncommon to express oneself with hyperbole or to catastrophize situations when discussing things on an internet forum. We all do it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here's my take on OP's question:

 

The "right fit" in a career involves the intersection of a number of dimensions that fit into a number of areas:

 

Discrete - number of years of training, employability (% of graduates hired immediately after graduation), financial remuneration, work hours, etc.

Qualitative - the flexibility of the hours (there is a big difference between 60hr/week on your own schedule and 60 hrs/week on your pager/phone's schedule), geographic variation in employability, the content of the work (you will be problem solving in both law and medicine, but would you rather work with numbers and rules and contracts or with diseases and tissues body fluids...?), the context of the work (how much do you like working as part of a team versus individually? Are you okay with spending the majority of the waking hours of your lifetime in an old, rundown building, or is a swishy workspace important to you?)....

 

I could keep on going, but quite probably your feelings on some of the criteria are going to push you towards law and others are going to push you towards medicine, and so you'll just remain where you started - at an impasse. This tends to be a problem with the pros/cons approach when one is down to options that are all relatively attractive. Frankly, you could just as easily have a wonderful (or miserable) experience pursuing a career in either field.

 

That's why I want to suggest another approach for your consideration. You have already invested a significant amount of time (and money?) in pursuing a career in law. I don't know your original motivations or the reasons for your second thoughts, but presumably, at one point there were enough things about law that were attractive to you that you thought you'd like to spend your life pursuing a career in that field. Were I in your position, I would take a long, hard look at the things that originally attracted me to law, the things that I found unpleasant in law school, and then look for the law career path that will fit best. A lawyer I am not, but I suspect it is likely you might be able to find at least one appealing path out of the multiplicity of ways one can practice law. If you don't like it after 5 years, you switch to medicine at that point, if life circumstances allow. I know it sounds like a bit of a harsh way to figure things out, but that's just my two cents.

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