Many of our readers have responded to our survey on what’s your biggest challenge with…
My brain hurts.
I need better work life balance.
I can totally relate.
We are all affected by the weight of medicine and our work in different ways. Some are stressed out and carry that stress home and everywhere. Some feel a massive load on their back that they never take off to exhale. Some feel abused and become bitter.
Is the weight of medicine more than you can bear?
I come home from a morning of surgeries followed by an afternoon of patients and have no more patience, focus or empathy left to spare.
That’s when I become frustrated that I can’t close the door to work and open the door to my life because…
My wife’s friend has an “emergency” according to my wife who wants to help her world. Her daughter’s nose is bleeding and it’s 5 o’clock on Friday after our office has closed. Another friend texts me that his son has a bad sore throat.
In medicine, do you find it a challenge to escape work?
Sometimes I text back suggestions.
Sometimes I simply say the best thing to do is to go to the emergency room.
Or I’m happy to help on Monday at 8 am when I return to the office.
A BOOMM breakthrough I discuss in the Course is that we all need to learn to say "No" more so that we have space and time find our "Hell Yes". To breathe. To think. To dream. To live.
I recently interviewed a Physician Assistant for our practice and one of the first questions he asked me was: How is your work life balance?
How is your work life balance?
For sure, we have a busy practice and all work very hard but I have never thought that our practice structure or demands threw life out of balance as much as the massive weight of working in medicine does.
Our conversation reminded me of how drastically different the lives of physicians are based on their specialty or employment or locale.
The life of a general surgeon with ER and consult emergencies is very different from a radiologist. The life of an employed ER doc is very different from a private practice allergist.
I chose Ear, Nose and Throat surgery for many reasons but it is very rare, if not nonexistent, for me to be up all night long.
I chose Los Angeles because we have spectacular weather almost every day of every year. I play tennis all year long and my kids swim all year long.
I shared with the applicant that we are all home by 6 pm most nights and our weekends are free unless we are on call. Our work life balance is great.
As I think about it more, it is less my actual job and more how medicine can bleed into life outside of work that is the real challenge.
How do you let go of thinking about patients or a staff problem or a complication?
Does medicine bleed out into your life?
I work very hard when I’m at the office but I also have a full life where I don’t think my wife or kids would say I was never around or not present with them.
These have been intentional choices along my journey to choose ENT, choose private practice and choose to live in California.
This magical balancing act is found by optimizing my time and creating space in my life for more than medicine and then matching my life to my vision.
When we know what is important to us, we can consciously make choices to create the life we need.
The most surprising epiphany for me on this tightrope has been that the more I have engaged myself with interests outside of medicine, the less suffocated I have felt inside of medicine and the more I enjoy my work and my patients!!
That is how and why I began and continue writing, playing tennis, investing in real estate and being an active part of mastermind groups.
They enrich my life and help me exhale as I balance the tightrope of work in medicine.
If I can do it, why not you?