I know a young doctor who I will call Stephanie, whose approach to her career impresses me quite a bit. She graduated at the top of her class, became a specialist, and had many choices open to her.
Stephanie chose to settle in a small city because she preferred the lifestyle that it offered to her over that offered by Toronto where she grew up. She chose a specialty that does not require her to be on call or to work evenings or weekends. She decided to open her own clinic and to work four days a week.
None of this is to say that Stephanie’s choices were better than those made by other doctors who live in the big city and/or work in the emergency room and/or are subject to being called into the hospital at 2 am to perform emergency surgery. Just to say that Stephanie planned her career carefully and made choices that work for her and her family.
I contrast Stephanie’s approach to her career to the choices that I made during most of my legal career which boiled down to being swept along by the current of the profession. Taking the Articling job that I could get. Graduating in lean times and taking the Associate position that was available. Changing firms when it turned out that the position that I had taken was not going to lead to the partnership that I thought that I wanted. Becoming an Associate, Partner, Department Head and Managing Partner at another firm and staying there for 34 years, working evenings and weekends, and sacrificing my life as well as my physical and mental health. Competing with my partners for control of the firm and a larger slice of the partnership pie. Fighting internal political battles rather than voting with my feet. All of the usual nonsense that in the end means nothing.
What I did – that don’t impress me much!
Be like Stephanie!