Why you should not pursue a career in medicine if your sole motivation is to earn money or have an “easy life”.

Why you should not pursue a career in medicine if your sole motivation is to earn money or have an “easy life”.

There is a general idea that doctors make a lot of money, and it is obvious many applicants are driven by this when trying to enter medicine. Coming from an Asian family, I remember when growing that my grandmother would speak to me about how she wishes I would one day become a doctor to rake in the cashes and live a life of abundance. The truth is that, it takes years of insurmountable pressure, work and progress in your training until you reach anywhere near the time when you can strut with your soul and sweat.

The time that takes to complete medical school ranges from 5 years (undergraduate) to 7 years (postgraduate, considering the length of another undergraduate degree). By the time you finish university, you may have accrued $70,000 - $140,000 of university debt. During your first 2 units out as a junior doctor you may earn anywhere from $63,000 - $80,000 depending on how many after hour shifts you can mentally take on. To put this into perspective, this is far less than the earnings of a corporate employee who is post graduate year 7. Approximately a third of your income will be slashed away from the taxes that you finally start having to pay. You must also consider that at this stage in your life at work, you have to worry about rent, travel expenses, utilities and everyday spending.

Once you finish your intern and residency years in the hospital, it may take an additional 3 to 10 years in your chosen speciality training until you become a fellow/ consultant. Your grind does not stop there. Although you may be fully qualified now, there is the ever uncertainty of whether a job position is available at a hospital with your chosen speciality. Without a job at a hospital, where will you grow your patient pool?

The purpose of this entry is not to discourage applicants from pursuing a career in medicine. But it is here to show you that if you really just want to make a nice income, this is definitely not the path you want to take. There are many other jobs that will allow you to earn a better financial award for a fraction of the time dedicated.

Without a truly intrinsic desire to help people, and to really care about your patients, it is impossible to see your training through. The medical training is gruelling overshadowed by the clouds of uncertainty. It is a life of service and a gift, but one that keeps taking.

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