The Money Blog

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Practice: Balancing personal and professional goals

Apr 07, 2022

I recently supervised an outstanding junior resident and got to discussing intentional living as it relates to careers.

She shared how, at her current stage of training, she has little control over her time but expressed optimism about her post-residency life.

I cautioned her, however, that circumstances do not automatically improve without deliberate action.

I shared took two examples of how this plays out:

  1. Physicians who become captive to the achievement trap find themselves constantly pursuing new academic and administrative milestones. This leads to ceaseless emails, meetings, and other commitments. While they may rack up an impressive publication list or CV, they are not truly in control of their time (or their lives).
  2. A more common issue is that doctors simply get caught with ongoing personal expenses (like mortgages, vehicles, and consumer spending) that leaves them working extra hours to cover these. While nice homes and cars carry appeal, the extra hours worked don’t leave us happy; they leave us feeling burnt out.

Living with intention means knowing what we need to be happy and aligning our personal lives and careers to those goals. Life is too short to do anything else.