5 Songs Doctors Should Sing on the Day They Quit Medicine

May 23, 2014
Setu Mazumdar, MD, CFP

Most doctors would walk away from medicine if they had the means. And when you get your financial life in order, you'll be able to quit, if that is what you want to do.

OK, I know this might not seem like a financial lesson on the surface, but it really is.

Several years back, I brought a CD titled “Tough Shift? Wanna Quit?” in on my last shift in the emergency department. It was a collection of songs that expressed how physicians feel about their careers. The other physicians would play this CD when the going got tough in the ER trenches.

You and I both know the dirty little secret in medicine: if you had the means to walk away from medicine, you would.

Doctors as a group are very unhappy with the way medicine is today and where it’s headed. Yes, most physicians enjoy patient care, but let’s face it: that’s not what you do on a daily basis. The majority of our time is spent as secretaries, scut monkeys, computer clickers, waiters/waitresses, social workers, coding specialists, and, sometimes, janitors.

So the next time you’re feeling a little down and out in the hospital, the clinic, or the ER, listen to these songs I put on that CD (my favorite lines from each song are included):

“Take This Job and Shove It” by Johnny Paycheck

Better not try and stand in my way

Cause I’m walkin’, out the door

I ain’t working here no more

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister

We’ll fight the powers that be just

Don’t pick our destiny ‘cause

You don’t know us, you don’t belong

“Jump” by Madonna

I haven’t got much time to waste

It’s time to make my way

I’m not afraid of what I’ll face

But I’m afraid to stay

I’m going down my road and I can make it alone

I’ll work and I’ll fight till I find a place of my own

“Waiting For the End” by Linkin Park

(Oh) I know what it takes to move on

(Oh) I know how it feels to lie

(Oh) All I want to do

Is trade this life for something new

“Bang the Drum All Day” by Todd Rundgren

[Substitute government, insurance companies, hospital administrators, or lawyers for the word “boss” when you read this out loud for full effect]

Every day when I get home from work

I feel so frustrated

The boss is a jerk

And I get my sticks and go out to the shed

And I pound on that drum like it was the boss’s head

Because I don’t want to work

I want to bang on the drum all day

Ok, in all seriousness, I don’t want you to get to the point where you have to listen to those tunes—ever.

Instead, I’d rather you get your finances, investments, and retirement straightened out and buffed up to the point where you are handing out that CD to other doctors in your group who haven’t done so.

Getting to that point requires a complete up and down, inside-out, revamp of your financial life to address the big areas:

• Cash/liquidity

• Insurance planning

• Investment planning

• Education planning

• Retirement planning

• Estate planning

• And more

When you’ve got those areas of your finances solidified, you really don’t have to take it anymore if you don’t want to.

P.S. What other songs would you add to the list above?