I met up with a good friend of mine from medical school. He was in town with his wife and one-year-old son. So, after we all ate lunch (ok, the little guy did more running than eating), the wife and son went to hang out at the mall while my friend and I caught up.
V is a general surgeon in the Army. He's going to Afghanistan for 6 months, then Alaska for 6 months, then off to Texas for his surgical-oncology fellowship. His wife will stay with her folks nearby while he's doing surgeries in a tent that is only accessible by helicopter.
We spent a lot of time talking about life in medicine. How much sacrifice it takes, how much how give up, what you expect out of it, etc. It was nice to hear someone else also feel like, "Hey I'm 30-something and my life is just now starting...awesome."
We also talked about how other people look at doctors. When people ask me what I do, I cringe. I love my job - LOVE it. But, the scene always plays out the same way. THEM: So what do you do? ME: I'm a doctor. THEM: (silence)
V said, "You know, at the end of the day, it's just a job." And he's right. It's just a job. It's a way for me to make money so I can live, like anyone else with a job. I think it's hard in medicine to not let it take over your life, so that's probably different than most professions. But, V's point was just that - don't let it consume you, it's just a job. It's something I am struggling to put into practice. This profession will suck you dry, it will take and take and take. People will ask and beg and pull more of your time. I probably need to be a little more removed and treat it more like a job, before I get so burned out I have to walk away.