I am interested in a lot of things and I have many hobbies. It’s an adverse effect of loving learning for its own sake and it leads to the familiar label: jack of all trades, master of none. And so it is with medicine. I do not know where I belong, and I feel torn between the worlds of medicine, law, and business. That they often overlap should come as some conciliation, but it just muddies the issue for me.
So what is one to do? I try to seek the advice of people I think are learned. I am trying to decide whether or not to become an MD, MD/JD, or an MD/MBA. I have a relative who works in the State department. He’s as sharp as they come, and has the enviable life of traveling to a new country every three years to learn their language, represent the US, and manage the affairs of foreign relations and immigration (as I understand it). He comes from physician stock so he is no stranger to the world I am entering. He has an MBA and he has many smart friends with JDs. He seemed like a logical person to ask.
But within the first few moments of speaking with him, I heard so much that betrayed that impression. Why do people think that it is “okay” for physicians to work for less and less pay because medicine is so expensive? How can they keep a straight face when saying, “Well it’s one of the qualities of a physician that no matter what the conditions, no matter the pay, that they are healers and will help people”? Why do people think that because my future livelihood is invaluable means that they can strip away its monetary value? Shouldn’t it be the opposite?
To all of those that say, “Even if you are payed less in salary, there are other benefits such as the gratitude of your patients and that is a sort of payment”, I ask you: why should they be separate? When I pay someone to fix my car and they do a fantastic job, I am grateful AND I pay them what they are worth. Why, in medicine, do you think it’s okay that they are separate?