Don’t let initials like M.D.,D.O.,D.P.M.,D.D.S. define you. Medicine and its allied fields bring infinite possibilities but other things that you love shouldn’t be sacrificed to achieve your goals.You are more than your job, it doesn’t have to define you as a person. Avoid physician burnout by setting personal and professional goals for yourself. Make time for non medicine related interests and activities in order to bring back the fun to all aspects of your life.


So, when we think about JOBS what comes to mind?  Thirty years ago, or more it meant going to work for someone or something like General Motors or I.B.M. You would start in your twenties and work thirty years with benefits, pension, healthcare and so on and then retire in your early sixties. Nowadays that sounds like a pipe dream. 

First, who would want to work in one place for all those years and secondly why? Today, that would only be someone who started their own business and grew it before selling it or going public in the stock market. The difference today is with technology as it is you can promote your product or small business and have the entire planet Earth as your target audience! Ok, so if that’s true how do we or you who is reading this use this to our advantage for success in the world of medicine?

Of course, with the advent of the pandemic and the use of Zoom, Telemedicine has exploded in the workplace. But that’s not what I am talking about. What are my options as a young physician or healthcare professional in finding a setting and a work life balance that suits my goals and ambitions? As we all entered our graduate education, we were sponge-like in so many ways. Everything was and is shiny and new. Remember how every new rotation would excite you and set the wheels to spinning! Hey, I could be a psychiatrist or maybe a gynecologist or heck even a cardiac surgeon, and the list goes on. But then the match came, and you had chosen your field of endeavor, and while these could change for most of us, we were locked in and off we went. Your training years are like the beginning of a roller coaster ride, 0 to 60 in 2 seconds! {Think Disney World} then you finish, pick a place to live and start your practice. 

There comes a point where you say is this all there is? Then the dreaded words “burn out” were coined for the feelings that can attack us from the ages of 40 to 70. Think medical PTSD. Sadly, in my view this seems to be happening earlier and earlier for my young colleagues. There are many root causes and that’s a topic for another day.

Ok, enough of this Debbie Downer - I agree there are now in medicine a multitude of “JOBS” at your doorstep. The world is a smaller and faster paced place. But what I see and hear is that you need a PLAN. So here is my plan for you. Sit down and determine your goals {write them down annually] both personal and professional goals. Include and make time for outside interests like art and music no matter how good you are at these, just make time for non-work-related activities. 

Also allow your entrepreneurial spirit to flourish.  You can do a podcast or develop a new product. Remember these outlets can and likely should be non-medical in nature. Believe me, it helps to have white hair, but you can be a Coach/Mentor to your peers from an early age, it’s fun to support your fellow practitioners!

Most importantly make your JOB be FUN!!! Medicine and its allied fields are a calling so to speak but they should not be followed at a loss of love for yourself and your well-being. Remember M.D.,D.O.,D.P.M.,D.D.S. are just initials they do not define what you can be or who you are spiritually. Do not allow those alphabetic references to become a J.O.B.! I want and wish for you to start early and stay late! Cause I’m going to need you!


To read more of Dr. Rick Zollinger's blog "The Script Pad" go to


MD Coaches, LLC is a company dedicated to developing and empowering physicians to realize a greater satisfaction in their roles. Understanding the challenges and operational concerns for both physicians and hospital administrators. MD Coaches utilizes experience and coaching skills to support their physician clients in establishing strategies for positive career progression.


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