Personal factors to consider in evaluating a Job Opportunity
Many a times I have been asked by medical residents going into a new practice that how does one know that the medical job is the right one. While you may feel a physician job opening is not right for you, the same practice may be a perfect job for another physician. It all depends on your priorities and how a particular medical employment position fulfils them. I will list some of the key points which you should note about every opportunity to help you make a decision.
LOCATION : Successful doctors do not move around unless they are into locum tenens. For you to be successful in practice you need to be known in the town both by patients and other doctors who will refer patients to you. That will help you build up your patient base which can take anywhere from two to five years. Larger the patient base, higher is your revenue generation, stronger will be your financial position, and greater will be the power or influence you will enjoy in the hospital and medical practice. Take home point is that your patients are your job security. They are your priority. And you need to stick to one place to accumulate them
So ideally when you are moving to a new doctor job you should have plans to be in that area for good. That is unless you run into problems and in which case you either need to solve them or move.
Choose the employment location carefully. Do you like warm or cold weather? Do you like outdoors activity or city life? And so on. The website www.citydata.com is a good resource for that. Also remember your personal priorities may change in the future. As a single doc, you may dream of hustling bustling city streets and pubs. But once you have a family you may want to go to a small town with a nice house on a lake. You may start looking at good school district, once you have kids. So think long term when you make that decision.
Cost of living is another issue you need to consider. You can live the life of a king or a pauper with the same salary based on where you are located. Here is a link for good cost of living calculator you can use to compare physician employment at two different positions.
DISTANCE FROM FAMILY: How far do you want to stay away from you own or your spouse’s family? Not too close and not too far is a matter of opinion. I always recommend staying not to far from you extended family. Strive to keep your extended family including brothers, sisters, and parents nearby. In the long run that will give you more peace and inner strength than money.
WORK HOURS/ CALL SCHEDULE: You can differentiate between various opportunities based on call schedules or work hours. Unless you are significantly overcompensated or you are offered a huge growth potential (on paper not just verbal!) DO NOT try to work yourself to death. Because believe it or not burnout is a reality. If you have more time to concentrate on your family, job satisfaction will increase.
BENEFITS: If salary is roughly the same, the job with more benefits is better in the long run. When comparing salaries, also include value of the benefits. One physician employer, who does not match your 401 K and the other who does could mean a difference in value running into thousands over a period of time.