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Old 01-03-2006, 11:01 PM   #1
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180

Anyone here ever pull a major 180 career-wise?

I'm thinking about going back to school, trading in my BA for a BS, and then going on to med school.... of course, this will mean that i'll be giving up just about everything, but it seems like the right decision. I'm thankful that I have lived below my means since exiting college as being encumbered with debt would make this transition impossible. Having a lifestyle devoid of monthly payments and that is easily downsized is a godsend.

Part of me is still sitting in the corner sulking at the prospect of six-figure debt, but for the most part, i'm happy... I have never been very happy in IT/management, and have wanted to be in medicine since my high-school days. The only decision I have left to make is when to pull the trigger, and return back to academic life. This fall sounds good, but the part that's currently sulking suggests that I hold off until fall 2007 since it will allow me to bolster my savings, and my fiance will have just finished up nursing school....

Any thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Tips (philosophical or monetary)?

One more thing- since I have 'decided' on my eventual plan of action, I have been much happier. Today at work was awesome... not because the work itself was great, but because I felt as if some horrible burden had been lifted. Sounds campy, but that's how it was.
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Re: 180
Old 01-03-2006, 11:56 PM   #2
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Re: 180

Congratulations Marshac. The world needs more doctors like you who are called, rather than go seeking high incomes.

Ha
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 10:46 AM   #3
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Re: 180

I think it is a wonderful idea. Do it sooner rather than later.
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 11:02 AM   #4
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Re: 180

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshac
Anyone here ever pull a major 180 career-wise?
Not myself personaly, but:

1. A coworker did this 4 years ago and it created a lot of talks at work.
Great software engineer, PhD, few high volume books sold (we felft like we worked with a celebrity) and she decided to quit and go where - to the law school. Puzzled everybody.
She was probably in her mid thirities at this time.

2. A friend of mine in IT build a little nest egg, than quit the IT job and went into professional photography. Took him 3 years to become really profitable, he probably still earns less in the new job, but he really loves it


As far as MD - if you are not after big money, you might consider PA programs instead. We have several friends who are happy PAs and the salaries are in 80-120k range. Waay more resonable work hours than MDs
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 11:15 AM   #5
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Re: 180



I haven't done it, but I'm thinking about it. I've gotten sick of being a lawyer and have the financial means to do something entirely different. Your plans for med school sound well thought out. Wish you all the best! -kate
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 11:17 AM   #6
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Re: 180

Sailor's suggestion isn't far off the mark. *My former SIL is a Nurse Practioner. *Several physicians have commented that they wish they had gone her route. *

She can practice medicine independently and write prescriptions. *My SIL specializes in cardiology and now works in a teaching hospital. *She gets to spend more time with patients than physicians.

NP tracks require a BS in Nursing from a university strong program.
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 11:26 AM   #7
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Re: 180

If that is your calling, carpe diem, man.

Here's the devil's advocate's argument:

Do you like working really long hours? Being on call? How much of a pay boost are you really going to get, on an hourly basis? Malpractice insurance is expensive. How many more years of schooling? 6? 8? How many years of residency? 4? Going to specialize?, keep adding time. Add in student loans that you'll have to repay (with higher interest rates than recent years past). How would your lost earnings over the next 10-12 years impact your long-term FIRE goal, if any? How much more will you make after you pay taxes at a much higher marginal tax rate?

I'd seriously suggest asking your personal doctor (family practitioner or whatever) or other MD's you know to have lunch or coffee with you, and get some 1 on 1 info on what medicine practice is really like. Tell them your plans. There's always papers to push, forms to fill in, B.S. wherever you turn.

Med school is no joke, from what I hear.

The reason I'm playing devil's advocate is that I faced a similar choice as you are facing now. I was about to start practicing civil engineering, making decent middle class money, when I thought about going to law school. I figured, hey, I can double my salary, and being a lawyer is exciting, fast-paced, challenging, interesting, etc. As it turned out, I spent 3 years in law school getting a law degree just to return to work in the civil engineering field as an engineer. I benefited immensely from going to law school, but I also lost almost 3 years of earnings, law school was stressful at times, and I'm still a couple years away from my Professional Engineers' license due to my time spent at law school. I made the right choice at the time, but knowing how things turned out, I may not have made the same choices if I could call for a "do over". I couldn't stand working twice as much as a lawyer to double my salary, and end up paying a big chunk of that extra salary to the government for taxes. The reduction in quality of life and elimination of most of my free time wasn't worth it for me.

Just the flip side of the coin before you do anything drastic. Work can be boring and sucks (that's why they pay you to do it). But make sure you do your due diligence and research before making a big life decision like this.

But, if that is medicine is your calling, carpe diem, man.
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 11:31 AM   #8
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Re: 180

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat
Sailor's suggestion isn't far off the mark. *My former SIL is a Nurse Practioner. *Several physicians have commented that they wish they had gone her route. *

She can practice medicine independently and write prescriptions. *My SIL specializes in cardiology and now works in a teaching hospital. *She gets to spend more time with patients than physicians.

NP tracks require a BS in Nursing from a university strong program.
My brother is a PA and has been for 25+ years. *He works two jobs; one for benefits and a consistent paycheck and the other for fun (Emergency Room PA *:P). *He plans to retire in a couple of years from the daily Gov. contractor company with a nice fat pension and full health insurance and but keep working PT as an Emergency Room PA for spending money. *He loves it and I envy his enjoyment of his job. *

PA or NP is a good way to go. *The required study time and expenses are much lower and the job rewards are in many ways better than an MD. *While the MD may make more $$, they tend to have less quality contact time with patients which is a big reason many like being a PA or NP. *

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 01:18 PM   #9
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Re: 180

A former co-worker of mine left a good job as a technical writer to be a missionary supported mostly by donations from anyone who will donate to support her. I've been helping her for about 5 or 6 years now.

I really admire her leaving the paid work force to do what she feels her calling is.

Good luck, you'll make a great physician with that attitude.

BTW, I used to work with a Nurse Practitioner and the requirements for a Physician Assistant vs Nurse Practicioner were almost the same. So if you're looking to save some time, thouse might be something to look at.
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 02:15 PM   #10
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Re: 180

Dr. Craig Smith (the guy who performed heart bypass surgery on Bill Clinton) used to be a telephone line repairman, so I guess anything is possible in life.
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 02:34 PM   #11
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Re: 180

Do it! Do it! Congrats! You are making the right choice. Sooner rather than later.
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 03:06 PM   #12
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Re: 180

Marshac,
what are your motivations for going into medicine?
For example, if you've always wanted to do brain surgery, then PA or NP training won't set you up for that. Would rec talking to lots of practicing MD's, PA's, NP.
Most med schools req a degree (can be anything )and basic schooling(i.e. year of English, cal, physics, organic, inorg, etc). Good friend in my class was poly sci major; helped to have prestgious U degree.
would be happy to PM you.
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 03:10 PM   #13
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Re: 180

I say go for it!

My brother did a sort of 180 - he had a degree in Electrical Engineering and worked for an unnamed federal government agency doing a lot of international work with antenna installation and such... fairly profitable but exhausting.

He quit and went back to law school. That was at about age 30 I think. He's now 40 and has his own extremely profitable patent law firm. But the key for him is that he was able to use his EE training and experience to help clients obtain highly technical patents, so it was a sort of combination of the two areas of expertise.

Maybe you could do something similar (sorry didn't read all posts yet, maybe someone else already said that.)
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 03:13 PM   #14
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Re: 180

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshac
I'm thinking about going back to school, trading in my BA for a BS, and then going on to med school....
Cool. * I've known a bunch of MDs and a bunch of nerdly geeks. * They tend to be different personality types. * Docs tend to be a bit more gregarious. * The nerdly types with an interest in medicine usually ended up on the research end as MD/PhD's.

Are you sure you need to go back for a BS? * If you had basic biology, o-chem, physics, etc in college, then you're probably ready to prep for the MCAT. * Med schools love to get candidates with diverse backgrounds -- they'll fill in your gaps.

Here's a semi-famous guy who went from geek to doc:

Ed Roberts
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 03:24 PM   #15
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Re: 180

I agree with Justin that you should think long and hard about this decison. Your training alone will take 10 years or so (2 for BS, 4 for med school, 4 more for residency). All my MD friends tell me that residency is hell (much worse than IT work). I've thought about this myself, and there's no way I would stand to be treated like a resident. Also consider the extreme stress and long hours. These factors contributed to the premature death of my father (early 30s).

Talk with some med students and residents in addition to practicing doctors. You want to be an MD but do you want to be a medical resident (a college student, a medical student)?

This choice is also very likely to put the kabash (or significantly change) ER plans. I know one MD or ERed in his late 50s, but none who retired sooner than that. Note the absense of MDs on this board.

If after careful consideration you still want to do it, then great -- congratulations and best of luck.

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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 03:49 PM   #16
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Re: 180

I made a 180 change when I was 30 years old. I went from working as a Power Company Lineman to a desk job as a Computer Programmer. Money wise, it was tough, because it took a while to get back to the type of money I was making before, but now I make more money than I would have if I was still a lineman (and the work is a whole lot easier...).

I'm trying to make another change now (Author and Self-Publisher), but I'm going about it differently. I'm keeping the day job and doing the writing and publishing on the side.

Good Luck.
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 04:05 PM   #17
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Re: 180

good luck marshac! You're still young enough to do a 180.

I was a bean counter for several years before getting into IT. I did it because it seemed sexy at the time and paid better than accounting. Eight years later and IT doesn't seem so sexy anymore :P. The honeymoon phase for learning new technology is getting shorter and shorter. I'd like to do a 180 and become an exotic dancer but unless geriatric gentlemen's clubs become popular, I don't stand a chance of making a decent living.
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 04:12 PM   #18
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Re: 180

Quote:
Originally Posted by cube_rat
I'd like to do a 180 and become an exotic dancer but unless geriatric gentlemen's clubs become popular, I don't stand a chance of making a decent living.*
Let us be the judge of that, cube_rat. I can host the video for you.

Targeting retiring boomers seems like a smart move to me. And marshac can provide CPR and other medical services. What a team you two would make!
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 04:24 PM   #19
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Re: 180

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
Let us be the judge of that, cube_rat.* *I can host the video for you.

Targeting retiring boomers seems like a smart move to me.* And marshac can provide CPR and other medical services.* *What a team you two would make!*
Sign me up for that retirement home!
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Re: 180
Old 01-04-2006, 08:14 PM   #20
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Re: 180

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshac
Part of me is still sitting in the corner sulking at the prospect of six-figure debt, but for the most part, i'm happy... I have never been very happy in IT/management, and have wanted to be in medicine since my high-school days.
You know that a significant minority of surgery is performed by robotic systems? I'm not talking liposuction but prostatectotomies and bypasses. Business Week ran an article on the trend around March 05 so it's going mainstream.

In a few years there's gonna be a crying need for doctors that know how to kick-start cope with computer systems.
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