Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Specializing

A friend of mine and I were discussing her career options this past weekend. She expressed a concern about the tension between going for the medical specialty she really wanted and the time-committment such a career path would require.

We realized, as we were talking, that as we get older, our life decisions actually have smaller and smaller scope of impact. In other words, when I graduated from high school, I decided that I would pursue post-secondary education rather than working full-time. This was a huge decision, even if it seemed automatic, as it affected tens of other, smaller decisions (what to choose as a major, whether to go to grad school, what type of work I could do after grad school, where I could work, etc.). So, for my friend, by the time she came to the stage in life where she would decide what medical specialty she would pursue, the big question of "what to do with her life" was actually about 90% made.

As with finance, law, accounting, education, architecture, engineering or any other field, some medical specialties require more time and/or provide less predictable schedules than others. However, once someone is so far down the line as to having decided to be a physician, it's probably not worth choosing a specialty that would bore her to tears just because it may make life a bit more predictable.

It seems to me that a person's values, more than anything else, govern his/her decisions. If committment to God, family, community and the spiritual life hold an important place in a persons mind, all decisions will bend and be colored by this. We may choose a career or speciality that is time-demanding, but may not pursue an absolutely consuming job or position that pays a little more.

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