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Considering Career Change to Medical Field
12

Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)
I'm in my mid-40s and am an established engineer. MSME degree. P.E. I'm paid well and don't really have any complaints about engineering. Married w/two adolescent kids. No mortgage, no debt. I have an itch to go to medical school to become a plastic surgeon. This seems like a very severe pivot in my life and I know it would not be easy. But the itch is there. I have had an interest in that world for years, but only recently did a light bulb go on with an idea to become a surgeon. It would be roughly 4yrs of med school and 6yrs of residency. I'd have to save up the cash beforehand, since we don't do debt. I would likely have to quit working to do med school full-time. We would have to live off my wife's income, which will reduce our lifestyle significantly but not be impossible. My main question is whether this is wise or not, considering my age, my comfy engineering position, and the severity of the pivot in my life. I'm curious if anyone else here can relate or has a story to share about a similar experience.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Certainly, people have done so; I went to an ophthalmologist once, who had been an EE in his previous life. Nevertheless, you are looking at a minimum of 10 years before you can fully practice, which leaves you with barely 10 years to practice before normal retirement age and more importantly, a limited number years before your physical abilities and dexterity potentially get in the way of doing surgery.

Also, depending on what subspecialty you are looking at, there may be fellowship requirements post-residency to be board-certified, which is another 1 to 2 years https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/fello....

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

What are your wife's thoughts on this idea?
Realistically how many years to save up the cash for medical school? add that onto the time frame.
Sounds like you will be close to 60 before you are into actual practice.
Have you discussed this idea with a surgeon?

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Another thing - do you have all of the prerequisites to get into medical school? Probably need a bunch of biology courses, etc.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (SWComposites)

What are your wife's thoughts on this idea?
I have not shared it with her yet. We have a weekend alone soon. If the itch hasn't faded by then, I intend to broach the topic.

Quote (SWComposites)

Realistically how many years to save up the cash for medical school? add that onto the time frame.
Yes I imagine that will take a few years as well. I need to think about that too.

Quote (SWComposites)

Have you discussed this idea with a surgeon?
No I haven't. But after talking with my wife, if it gets to a "serious" stage, I think your idea is very good.

Quote (SWComposites)

Another thing - do you have all of the prerequisites to get into medical school? Probably need a bunch of biology courses, etc.
I reviewed my local alma mater for its "pre-med" curriculum. My engineering work overlaps quite a bit, but there is still a good share of biology stuff missing that I'd have to do.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Two of my classmates in engineering school (I graduated in 1971) went on to medical school and became doctors. While I've lost track of one of them, the other I'm in regular contact with and while he's a year older than me, which would make him 76, he's still working full time in a hospital in the Seattle area. He's a diagnostic specialist, working mostly with female cancer patients. And while he's given notice to hospital management that he intends to retire eventually, he has so far only cut back to something like 50 hours a week. I've been kidding him that he needs to work as he has actually had two families. Children by his first wife are now grown and he's a grandparent a couple times over. But he also has a son by his second wife who's just now graduating from high school. In his spare time, he helps coach his son's swim team, but now that he's graduating and is probably going to attend college on an athletic scholarship, he's probably looking forward to slowing down a bit more.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)
@johnrbaker, this is great feedback! Having followed the world of plastic surgery for many years, which is probably where this itch came from, I can think of several renowned plastic surgeons well into their 60s and even 70s that still practice every day.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

2
I've been unemployed a couple of times during my career, and the first time was for nearly a year. It was then that I realised that I should have gone into medicine. I think I would have had as much 'fun'. A few people have cautioned otherwise. In hindsight, I would not recommend anyone go into engineering. It's one of the poorest paying professions, with one of the highest liabilities. I enjoy the stuff I do, and after 50 years am still doing it, but in hindsight...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

You are in your mid 40's with teenage kids and you are suddenly going to spring this wild idea out of the blue on your wife now? Good luck!! Let us know how the weekend goes.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Quote:

I realised that I should have gone into medicine. I think I would have had as much 'fun'. A few people have cautioned otherwise. In hindsight, I would not recommend anyone go into engineering.

If you go into a specialty, you will do better, but a straight family doctor doesn't necessarily make that much; I've out grossed my family doctor wife. If you become more of a supervising doctor, you could do much better, even in family medicine, but the risks run much higher since you'd have to hire nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants to do that, but their lesser training puts their risks on you, since you sign off on their charts. While the risks might be, in absolute terms, lower than structural, they are non-zero and many doctors have gotten pretty much everything stripped away from them, so you'd need to own no assets to protect yourself. Note that family medicine also comes with a load of unpaid work; you can't charge patient charts to anyone, that comes out of whatever payment, copays and insurance. you get. The other challenge is the complexity of insurance, since you have to bill insurance to get paid, and they are the worst. Some insurance companies will arbitrarily reject invoices routinely, knowing that most doctors can't afford to spend time chasing deadbeat insurance companies. You'd have to hire a really good biller just to make sure all your claims get paid.

As for "engineering," it's a broad term, so there are lots of disciplines that aren't necessarily as constrained by renumeration. I think I did reasonably well, and as an industrially exempt engineer, I wasn't subject to lawsuit possibilities.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (SWComposites)

You are in your mid 40's with teenage kids and you are suddenly going to spring this wild idea out of the blue on your wife now? Good luck!! Let us know how the weekend goes.
Thank you for that candor. My gut tells me there is a little snark in the comment, but hopefully I'm wrong. With that in mind, I can let you know that our marriage is plenty fortified enough to digest these types of tough conversations without ruining a weekend. Heaven knows, we have had plenty of tough conversations over other wild ideas. I merely intend to present it as an "hey, I have this idea and I'm not sure where I stand on it yet. Will you help me talk through it and tell me what you honestly think?" She would be over the moon to entertain the conversation.

Quote (dik)

In hindsight, I would not recommend anyone go into engineering. It's one of the poorest paying professions, with one of the highest liabilities.
I suppose everyone's journey is different. For me personally, I don't have many complaints about my current engineering compensation. I am comfortable with it. I could retire nicely with it, but in engineering I am sort of feeling a lack or purpose and meaning.

For anyone else reading, I want to go on record and be clear though...I'm not pursuing plastic surgery for money, fame, or fortune. I genuinely have an interest in the subject itself. So my quandary doesn't have much to do with the pursuit of money at all. I want to help people look the best version of themselves that they want to be.

Quote (IRstuff)

If you go into a specialty, you will do better, but a straight family doctor doesn't necessarily make that much; I've out grossed my family doctor wife. If you become more of a supervising doctor, you could do much better, even in family medicine, but the risks run much higher since you'd have to hire nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants to do that, but their lesser training puts their risks on you, since you sign off on their charts. While the risks might be, in absolute terms, lower than structural, they are non-zero and many doctors have gotten pretty much everything stripped away from them, so you'd need to own no assets to protect yourself. Note that family medicine also comes with a load of unpaid work; you can't charge patient charts to anyone, that comes out of whatever payment, copays and insurance. you get. The other challenge is the complexity of insurance, since you have to bill insurance to get paid, and they are the worst. Some insurance companies will arbitrarily reject invoices routinely, knowing that most doctors can't afford to spend time chasing deadbeat insurance companies. You'd have to hire a really good biller just to make sure all your claims get paid.
This was great feedback. Fortunately, many aesthetic plastic surgeons don't get involved with insurance at all (that group would include me if I get there one day). I'm seeking aesthetic cosmetic surgery, which is usually "pay out of pocket." And if approached by someone having insurance, I'd turn them away, simply because I have no desire to deal with it. Typically the good plastic surgeons have more than enough pipeline to turn away those insurance jobs.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Quote (dik)


I've been unemployed a couple of times during my career, and the first time was for nearly a year.

In 1962, I got my first regular paying job when I was 15-years old, working in a meat market. Except for my first year in college, and about three weeks when I changed jobs in 1980, until I retired in January 2016, I was never without a regular job. I realize that that might be rare by today's standard, until I look at our oldest son's situation. He's 53-years old, and except for four-years in the Army, he's been working for the same company since he was a junior in high school, when he started as a grill chef at a local seafood restaurant. Today he's the brand executive for that same concept, responsible now for all of the restaurants in the country.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

In addition to points already made, consider your value to society. Engineers are essential, while many of us would consider plastic surgery to be a blight, if cosmetic surgery is your intent.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (hokie66)

In addition to points already made, consider your value to society. Engineers are essential, while many of us would consider plastic surgery to be a blight, if cosmetic surgery is your intent.
That's a good point. Although it should be obvious, I didn't think of it.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

John... I was about 14 or 16 and had 3 paper routes... I saved up $150 to buy a single shot .22 cal Walther target rifle... was a pile of money back then, but I was seriously into targets...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

I got laid off from a single summer job three times that summer. It was loads of fun; they made video games, and part of the summer involved troubleshooting a Pong game.

So I literally got paid to play, since you have to play the game to find out what was wrong, right?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

I've had several pivots in my career. Tradesman as an owner and employee, military, engineering, now a govt regulator. Nervousness, doubt, and second-guessing are normal before, during, and even long after the change. I've wondered if I could pivot and succeed, then wondered years later if a past career could've been more successful despite the fact that all were very successful. I've also found three separate revs/versions of each - 1. what you think the job will be pre-pivot, 2. what the job is for a few years, and 3. what the job is after the honeymoon wears off. The fun part for me has been trying to guess which stereotypes are true and which are grossly wrong - I never expected engineers to such nerds, also didnt expect a top 10% salary to increase significantly with the move from engineering to govt. IMHO owning a trade business had the highest wealth potential, the military was the most satisfying, engineering the most enjoyable, and working for govt the highest pay. Understanding your motivations and the fact that they change is important.

Aside from lost time/cost of education, worth considering is the worst-case scenario that you pivot, hate medicine, and want to come back to engineering. What would that entail? If your current employer didnt hire you back would you have to take a big pay cut, move house, change industries, or make another big change? Is that reality worth the risk to you? If so, best of luck in medicine. If not, best of luck in engineering.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (CWB1)

I've had several pivots in my career. Tradesman as an owner and employee, military, engineering, now a govt regulator.
Very ironic. My life has followed a similar track...military, tradesman (auto mechanic), engineering, and whatever is next. Very neat!

Quote (CWB1)

Nervousness, doubt, and second-guessing are normal before, during, and even long after the change. I've wondered if I could pivot and succeed, then wondered years later if a past career could've been more successful despite the fact that all were very successful. I've also found three separate revs/versions of each - 1. what you think the job will be pre-pivot, 2. what the job is for a few years, and 3. what the job is after the honeymoon wears off. The fun part for me has been trying to guess which stereotypes are true and which are grossly wrong - I never expected engineers to such nerds, also didnt expect a top 10% salary to increase significantly with the move from engineering to govt. IMHO owning a trade business had the highest wealth potential, the military was the most satisfying, engineering the most enjoyable, and working for govt the highest pay. Understanding your motivations and the fact that they change is important.

Aside from lost time/cost of education, worth considering is the worst-case scenario that you pivot, hate medicine, and want to come back to engineering. What would that entail? If your current employer didnt hire you back would you have to take a big pay cut, move house, change industries, or make another big change? Is that reality worth the risk to you? If so, best of luck in medicine. If not, best of luck in engineering.
Your post was extremely insightful, relevant, and helpful. Thanks for sharing. It definitely triggered some things to think about. Yes, I've definitely thought about the 3 stages you outlined and wondered what it will be like when the honeymoon wears off.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Quote (m ridzon)

I genuinely have an interest in the subject itself...
I want to help people look the best version of themselves that they want to be.

Compromise, go into biomechanical engineering in that field.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Maybe I'm just plain boring but undergoing a complete career makeover when you're in your 40s sounds really strange to me, especially you've apparently already put decades of effort into your current career path and you don't have any complaints about your current job. All because of an "itch"? Not trying to be rude but is it possible that you have Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, or something other condition that makes you act impulsively?

Another thing to consider if you took the plastic surgery route is that you would be competing with people 20-25 years younger than you and most of them will probably be using Adderall, Ritalin, or other stimulants to help them study.


-Christine

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)
@Christine74, I appreciate your candor, but you definitely caught me off guard.

Quote (Christine74)

All because of an "itch"? Not trying to be rude but is it possible that you have Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, or something other condition that makes you act impulsively?
No, I'm not impulsive. No action has been taken thus far. No I do not have any of those disorders. I'm merely dreaming and considering possibilities. All people dream. Vocalizing those things doesn't make you bipolar or ADHD. Although you don't know me, I'm stunned you came to that conclusion from my post. I certainly hope someone doesn't label you that way next time you dream out loud. I'm fully aware of what has been invested into engineering thus far. That is one big reason I didn't impulsively dive into this medical idea already. I would never dive into it until I have counted all the costs, spoke to my spouse and family, and decided that I was 100% invested in this new idea.

Quote (Christine74)

Another thing to consider if you took the plastic surgery route is that you would be competing with people 20-25 years younger than you and most of them will probably be using Adderall, Ritalin, or other stimulants to help them study.
I'm stunned. I never heard of this occurring or even considered it as an option. I suppose younger folks may use that to help them study but my gut tells me the percentage of users is probably not as high as you surmised. However, when I went through the rigorous engineering curricula, I used brute force, with no stimulants. I studied many hours. Many sleepless nights. Tons and tons of hard work. As I have pondered this medical topic over the recent weeks, I thought those engineering academic experiences would be an advantage, thereby giving me the tenacity required for medical school. But it sounds like you have insider information on the "edge" that is required to get through medical school. Thanks but no thanks.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Quote:

I thought those engineering academic experiences would be an advantage, thereby giving me the tenacity required for medical school. But it sounds like you have insider information on the "edge" that is required to get through medical school.

That's not the issue; the issue is that no one is the same person they were 25 years ago. Even your basic metabolism might no longer be the same; the demands of being a father to a newborn, or even a toddler, would potentially sap one's energy reserves, even if they were much younger. I think that after living through your child not sleeping through the night, your younger competitors will appear as if they were on drugs, even if they weren't.

Note also, residency is not a slam dunk, unless you have pre-knowledge of your future; it may entail unrooting your family or spending 4-6 years away from them.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Thanks for clarifying. I didn't mean to offend and I certainly didn't make any conclusions, it just seemed very unusual to me because I don't know anyone that's made that big of a career change that late in life.

I've read a few articles on the topic of stimulant use becoming more and more common as a "study aid". From recent graduates I've spoken with one admitted that they used Adderall to prep for an exam, but all of them said that they knew students who used it to help them study/focus. When I was in school I never once heard of anyone using/abusing prescription stimulants in order to help them study.




-Christine

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (IRstuff)

That's not the issue; the issue is that no one is the same person they were 25 years ago. Even your basic metabolism might no longer be the same; the demands of being a father to a newborn, or even a toddler, would potentially sap one's energy reserves, even if they were much younger. I think that after living through your child not sleeping through the night, your younger competitors will appear as if they were on drugs, even if they weren't.
Fair enough. You make a valid point. I do know those were hard times when I went through my BSME, PE, and fairly recently, my MSME. The point I was trying to make is that those times were very formative for me, in terms of knowing how hard and far I am capable of going. In some ways, I kind of surprised myself. Younger people don't have the advantage of knowing that about themselves in their 20s.

Quote (IRstuff)

Note also, residency is not a slam dunk, unless you have pre-knowledge of your future; it may entail unrooting your family or spending 4-6 years away from them.
Yes, I am fully aware of that. It's another wrinkle that I would have to think through and get my spouse's feedback on.

Quote (Christine74)

Thanks for clarifying. I didn't mean to offend, it just seemed unusual to me because I don't know anyone that's made a big career change that late in life.
Fair enough. We can let bygones be bygones. I'm certainly not turning away feedback. I knew my post would invite some criticism and at the very least, it's worth thinking about. That said, I digest enough business, professional, and personal development podcasts, books, and other literature to know it's not too wild and crazy for a person to step up to challenges like this when they have the fortitude to face it. People reinvent themselves all the time. I have read countless stories folks who have done that. So the idea didn't seem quite as crazy to me, as it struck you.

Quote (Christine74)

I've read a few articles on the topic of stimulant use becoming more and more common as a "study aid". From recent graduates I've spoken with one admitted that they used Adderall to prep for an exam, but all of them said that they knew students who used it to help them study/focus. I expect that it would be more common in more demanding academic programs like medicine.
Thanks for clarifying.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Ok, jumping back in here. And while I typically encourage people to go where their passions take them, there is a bit of reality that usually needs to be considered.
Assuming you can work out the expenses, and time issues, and get thru undergrad pre-requisites, and get into medical school (and that's quite difficult from what I have read), and get thru med school and get accepted into surgical residency, ...
What do you see your business model as a plastic surgeon? You mentioned aesthetic cosmetic surgery where you don't have to deal with insurance. Presumably this would be working in private practice? There is a huge amount of start up costs associated with that, and then the issue of building up a reputation to attract business; or do you see yourself joining an existing practice? Do you see yourself as working for the rich and famous? If so, do you have the sales/marketing/personality skills to move in those circles? Have you met many surgeons? They all seem like Type A+ personality types; is that you?

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Quote:

They all seem like Type A+ personality types; is that you?

I think that's a trained response, starting off with a "fake it until you make it" approach; being beset by self-doubt would make even non-surgeons, and even engineers, less effective. We learn through experience and possibly some compartmentalization to bury those questioning voices in our minds and simply "believe" that we're right. It might help to bang your head against the wall to effectualize that; Dilbert's manager did that in one strip winky smile

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (SWComposites)

What do you see your business model as a plastic surgeon? You mentioned aesthetic cosmetic surgery where you don't have to deal with insurance. Presumably this would be working in private practice?
Yes I am solely interested in private practice.

Quote (SWComposites)

There is a huge amount of start up costs associated with that, and then the issue of building up a reputation to attract business;
I agree on having startup costs. I'm aware that issue lingers out there but haven't gotten that far in my thought processes, in terms of how to handle it. Before diving in, I would need to think through that.

Quote (SWComposites)

...or do you see yourself joining an existing practice?
No, I do not see myself joining an existing practice. Concurrently with this plastic surgery itch, I have an entrepreneurial itch to run my own business. I would need to think through how I can launch a private practice.

Quote (SWComposites)

Do you see yourself as working for the rich and famous?
Not necessarily. However, I have identified a niche in plastic surgery that is sought after, but underserved. Many surgeons shy away from this area and I'm aware why they do, but don't hold the same apprehension they do. I have interfaced with other surgeons that do serve this area and can see that it's an area that could be better served.

Quote (SWComposites)

Have you met many surgeons?
As mentioned in my initial post, I've been following this world for years. Yes, I've met a few dozen surgeons, but not to inquire about becoming one. Rather, my wife is interested in having plastic surgery, which has meant dozens of consultations with prospective surgeons to discuss her goals.

Quote (SWComposites)

They all seem like Type A+ personality types; is that you?
On the DiSC profile assessment, I'm a DC, which is akin to the A personality you mention. I have no issues filling a "lead/trailblazer" type of role.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Quote:

I'm aware why they do, but don't hold the same apprehension they do.

Sometimes, people are afraid because they are just fearful; other times, they are justifiably fearful. Sometimes, the apparent lack of risk is just because of only hearing anecdotally favorable information or sheer luck on the part of participants. NASA has burned itself many times because of rose-colored glasses from escaping catastrophes, until they actually do happen

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (IRstuff)

Sometimes, people are afraid because they are just fearful; other times, they are justifiably fearful. Sometimes, the apparent lack of risk is just because of only hearing anecdotally favorable information or sheer luck on the part of participants. NASA has burned itself many times because of rose-colored glasses from escaping catastrophes, until they actually do happen
Without going into all of the details, here's a metaphor I can give to explain the apprehension...it might be akin to walking into a skydiving place to ask if you can skydive. The instructor will say "yes you can do that, we have done it many times and feel comfortable doing it, but you have to sign a waiver so you fully understand the risks." Despite adequate training and experience, the fraction of the general population willing to be skydiving instructors is low. Few people are willing to take that risk to help others have a skydiving jumping experience.

Please refrain from nitpicking my metaphor as I'm sure you'll want to poke holes in it. At a bird's eye view, the point is that the niche has a market, but the doctors willing to serve that market is slim because they don't want to take those risks. But there are plenty of prospective patients who have done the cost-benefit analysis and are willing to take those risks. Using my metaphor, some patients want to go skydiving and I would be a willing skydiving instructor that can help them have that experience, after all risks have been disclosed and agreed upon.

As mentioned, I've been following this world for years. So I have heard the arguments on both sides of the fence for this niche area. I'm fully aware of where many surgeons stand and why. I'm also fully aware of the few that are willing to serve this niche. Those few are "skydiving instructors" (using my metaphor) that are trained and willing to help people have that experience.

And before you would say "risks should not be taken when it comes to someone's health,"...I hear you loud and clear. Realize though, the moment the knife ever touches the body for ANY surgery, risks are incurred, no matter what. There's no escaping it. Hopefully the surgeon is skilled enough to mitigate those risks as much as possible. And many prospective patients are willing to undergo surgery for seemingly unnecessary cosmetic reasons. However, there is plenty of data demonstrating the upsides that can come from cosmetic surgery, which is a whole other conversation in and of itself.



RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

I wasn't trying to nitpick any metaphor; I was merely trying to point out that overconfidence, particularly with the lack of concrete experience, can be ill-advised.

Additionally, even when you do, or did, have the experience, it may no longer be valid; I used to do a tiny bit of skateboarding in my 20's, but when I tried to teach my kid, I wound up dislocating my elbow and ripping several muscles.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

We are all curious, how did the conversation with your wife?

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

I was reading this and I think this is a great idea. Would be interested to hear what the wife thought. If you as a family can make it work why not. Life is too short to not follow your dreams sometimes. You have at least 20 more years of your working life ahead of you - I am a firm believer that you have to love your job if you can because you spend do long there. Often there were things we wanted to do when we were younger that just were not possible for a number of reasons, so plenty of people change career.

In the country I live in I believe there is a restriction on the age you are allowed to go to med school, this is because of the length of time it takes to train Drs and the training cost is subsidized by the government, so they want to make sure they get a return on their investment. I am not sure what the cut of age is. (and it is a bit stupid as most young Drs disappear off shore anyway).

I am also thinking about passing in my engineering career for something else. I would like to work part time with animals and do some charity work, and also thinking about going back to university and doing a degree in medieval history, or something similar. Not because I have to, but because I want to. I have done the hard stuff, sucked up the corporate bull, been a slave to the morg, worked for years while managing a family and I have realised the last year or so that I am tired. Really tired. I have been interviewing for other jobs but don't actually think that a new job in engineering is the change I need - I think I need to get out of engineering. I also need to have that discussion with my partner, but I suspect he will say go for it as he has been telling me for a long time to quit my job as he is fed up with me being under huge stress, working long long hours for little thanks.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (ilovechickens)

I was reading this and I think this is a great idea. Would be interested to hear what the wife thought. If you as a family can make it work why not. Life is too short to not follow your dreams sometimes. You have at least 20 more years of your working life ahead of you - I am a firm believer that you have to love your job if you can because you spend do long there. Often there were things we wanted to do when we were younger that just were not possible for a number of reasons, so plenty of people change career.

In the country I live in I believe there is a restriction on the age you are allowed to go to med school, this is because of the length of time it takes to train Drs and the training cost is subsidized by the government, so they want to make sure they get a return on their investment. I am not sure what the cut of age is. (and it is a bit stupid as most young Drs disappear off shore anyway).

I am also thinking about passing in my engineering career for something else. I would like to work part time with animals and do some charity work, and also thinking about going back to university and doing a degree in medieval history, or something similar. Not because I have to, but because I want to. I have done the hard stuff, sucked up the corporate bull, been a slave to the morg, worked for years while managing a family and I have realised the last year or so that I am tired. Really tired. I have been interviewing for other jobs but don't actually think that a new job in engineering is the change I need - I think I need to get out of engineering. I also need to have that discussion with my partner, but I suspect he will say go for it as he has been telling me for a long time to quit my job as he is fed up with me being under huge stress, working long long hours for little thanks.
Great insight! Thank you for sharing!

Quote (TigerGuy)

We are all curious, how did the conversation with your wife?
Well, I know some people in this thread scorned me and was sure my wife was going to stomp out the idea immediately. However, I had the conversation with her last weekend during a road trip. It went perfectly fine and she didn't stomp out the idea. It did catch her off guard slightly, but not much since we tend to dream big like this and share openly in our transparent marriage (e.g., she just threw me her career curveball few months ago and the discussion went fine). Of course, she knows me better than anyone on the planet. Therefore, she pointed out observations she immediately made in the situation...things about me and my personality that may be a factor in the situation. So she gave me some things to think about. We talked about obvious logistical things...how to fund it, how to live solely on her income, how the kids would fare, whether we'd have to move, how we'd fund a clinic startup at the end, etc. We didn't nail down answers on most of them, but they were all laid out on the table so we at least have an idea what we are diving into. I told her about this thread here, but she didn't want to see it since these types of conversations online are pretty predictable; i.e., some folks will say "go for it," some will say "ridiculous idea."

Bottom line...no decision was made. Her and I will chew on it for a while and see what comes of it. If the idea fades, that is fine. If the idea intensifies, that is fine too and we'll talk about next steps. For whatever it's worth, she had absolutely no doubt we could make it happen if we wanted. Our marriage has seen a lot and it's become pretty fortified through times of trial.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Quote (Slide rule era)

Compromise, go into biomechanical engineering in that field.

SRE got there before me, but you don't seem to have responded. A degree or course would be 3-4 yrs max, there is a need for people with real life experience in this field and could this be an alternative path if you don't fancy engineering for ever?

Also looking at your responses, there seems to be some mysterious "niche area" that you are focussing on. Can you enlarge on that?

If many people back away from whatever this is, it sounds to me to be even more risky than anything else.

To go through 8-10 years before even getting close to practicing this sounds like a journey too far to me.

My father though did something similar. Slightly forced upon him as his gov't job and institution was closing. Could have taken the very generous terms offered but decided to go into Law, from education. Studied part time for a couple of years and then full time including mandatory training for another two.

Basically found a niche where he acted as locum for single handed solicitors or those who suddenly had a surge of work and also took on firms who had been shut down by the regulator for fraud, lack of action or illness / death and managed the wind down of that company. Did enough to make it seem worthwhile doing the studying, but then my mother was a saint, spending many evenings alone as he studied hard into the night.

So it can be done - as with all such decisions, does the upside pay for the downside, literally in terms of $ or mentally or relationship wise?

Personally not for me and I can't quite see the desire burning through in your posts tbh.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (LittleInch)

SRE got there before me, but you don't seem to have responded. A degree or course would be 3-4 yrs max, there is a need for people with real life experience in this field and could this be an alternative path if you don't fancy engineering for ever?
I saw the response about biomedical engineering and took note of it. I didn't see a need to respond, as it merely seemed like an idea I could ponder, which I've done.

Quote (LittleInch)

Also looking at your responses, there seems to be some mysterious "niche area" that you are focussing on. Can you enlarge on that?
No, I'm not going to expound on that niche. Folks who don't have an appreciation for the art of cosmetic surgery will simply scorn me and the niche. Mainstream culture already holds a stigma on cosmetic surgery, so I'm not going to willingly throw myself into that debate here in this thread.

Quote (LittleInch)

If many people back away from whatever this is, it sounds to me to be even more risky than anything else.
Yes, it comes with risks. But so doesn't skydiving. However, if done properly, those risks can be minimized and the recipient can enjoy the experience.

Quote (LittleInch)

So it can be done - as with all such decisions, does the upside pay for the downside, literally in terms of $ or mentally or relationship wise?

Personally not for me and I can't quite see the desire burning through in your posts tbh.
The burning desire is there. You don't detect it in the thread because it is contrasted against reality of the cost (relational, financial, emotional, etc.). Everyone of those factors are completely apparent to me. If I could rewind 15yrs, I would likely forgo engineering for this surgery idea. The strong desire is definitely there though.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Interesting.

If you can't come clean now though to a bunch of like minded engineers in an anonymous Internet forum, how are you going to do this to friends and family face to face? Wouldn't it be better to get your defence lined practiced here.

I used to skydive so can see where your coming from but this sounds more to me like BASE jumping. Sure people do it but I never did - too much risk even for me - and you're trying to be an instrutor despite never having yet done any skydiving?

It does sound though that you harbour quite a bit of regret you didn't go down that path??

It sounds like you know your shit though and good luck if you determine this is the way to go.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (LittleItch)

Interesting.

If you can't come clean now though to a bunch of like minded engineers in an anonymous Internet forum, how are you going to do this to friends and family face to face? Wouldn't it be better to get your defence lined practiced here.
This is not the correct setting to bring it up and it's not exactly anonymous with my handle having my name. If I were a surgeon, it'd be no issue for me to proclaim what I do. As an engineer working on commercial nuclear power plants, it is no different than visiting family in Kentucky that lives and dies by coal-powered plants. When visiting, I am aware of the setting I'm in and take necessary precautions to avoid mention of nuclear so I can avoid confrontation, ridicule, and scorn.

Quote (LittleItch)

I used to skydive so can see where your coming from but this sounds more to me like BASE jumping. Sure people do it but I never did - too much risk even for me - and you're trying to be an instrutor despite never having yet done any skydiving?
I see your metaphor. However, it doesn't exactly translate to this setting entirely. Plenty of surgeons have never had plastic surgery. It's not required to undergo plastic surgery to become a surgeon. On the contrary, to start, at a minimum, it would be required to have an interest in it, along with some layman's background, of which I certainly have both of those.

Quote (LittleItch)

It does sound though that you harbour quite a bit of regret you didn't go down that path??
No, I don't harbor quite a bit of regret for not doing it. As mentioned in my initial post, I'm okay where I'm at as an engineer. I'm content and probably could be content staying with engineering. But I didn't know then what I know now. I didn't know then that plastic surgery might be so intriguing. So as a dreamer (coupled with pragmatism), I like to ponder possibility and wonder about bigger and better things that interest me.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

This is quite a fascinating thread alright.

The key issue I think you need to consider here is your family life and situation and how different that is now compared to what would be your fellow students aged 18-20 and what you were like then. as said I saw my mother left alone for long periods when all of us had flown the nest as my father did his training for law and that was only 3-4 years. You're talking 10 and from what I can see about $250-300,000 in course fees. Paying that back over 30-40 yr working life compared to your ~10-15 is a big difference.

It really is about the biggest pivot and change you could possibly think of compared to reinvention or alternative careers so thinking long hard and challenging yourself to see if this "dream" is worth the undoubted change and pain is a good process. I really do wish you luck and hope you come back to us ins a few weeks or months and let us know what you decided to do.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

I am not you so I don't know how you evaluate certain things. I would strongly try to determine what you like about a job and try to fit it into a side gig or a related occupation. People get hung up on needing to do a certain thing and often when they get a chance to do that thing, it never was all that they expected and the stuff that they didn't like still followed them, shitty customers, shitty bosses, shitty co-workers etc.

I can only speak for myself but there is a very real chance that your sidetracking into the medical field might exhaust you. You can get away with all nighters and extremely hard efforts in you 20s and 30s but it becomes much more difficult later on. I am not saying that it is impossible but you might be pushed to the point where it is not fun or as interesting as you expected.

I have heard of people sidetracking so it is not entirely an unheard of thing but often in essense they are buying another job.

10 years ago I strongly considered going into data science due to issues I was encountering with regard to harrassment and discrimination I was running into. I think I would have been happier but it had nothing to do with the work. I could have jumped shipped then and made quickly where I should be now. I think it would have been enough to interest me and I would have been compensated fairly. I don't know what to say know. I could still make that transition but the motivation isn't as much there. I think switching fields makes more sense later on when the work environment is no longer tolerable or the body can no longer handle the work.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

I often wonder what percentage of engineers regret choosing the profession. I reckon if you don't get fast-tracked early on as a project manager / manager / client manager type it is a terrible profession.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

I actually prefer the lower stress level of not being in a managerial role. Maybe I'm remembering the good old days through unclear lenses, but as a manager, I don't get to do as much engineering as I would like.

As far as career changes, I know an individual that was married with kids, and then decided to go to college. He then decided to become a dentist. He told me how much he hated school before then and his wife thought he was nuts, but supported him in that endeavor.

There is no rule that says, "Once an engineer, forever an engineer."

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Quote:

I often wonder what percentage of engineers regret choosing the profession.

We do know that roughly 30% of all engineering graduates are not working in their disciplines, whatever that implies.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

I've seen/heard several claims that 90% of engineers never make management, which matches my experience pretty well. Personally I think the non-technical and management tracks are pretty miserable, the income potential is higher but there's no real engineering, less job security, and far more blaming and petty politicking. Given the unlikelihood of an engineering manager ever making the C-suite & big money, staying on a technical track up to senior engineer/fellow/tech steward/etc seem to be the sweet spot for balancing income, responsibility, and quality of work.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (Fischstabchen)

I would strongly try to determine what you like about a job and try to fit it into a side gig or a related occupation.
Agreed. The wife and I are brainstorming possible side ideas that still scratch the itch.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Interesting discussion. Personally I have never seriously considered a complete career change.

But I have a colleague who is a structural engineer with about 10 years experience. She took time off a few years ago to go to med school. I don't know exactly why since we haven't worked in the same projects for a while, and we don't work at the same office so we havent met recently. But knowing her, I suspect that the challenge might interest her.

From what I heard she spent a semester at school, then worked a while and then another semester at school. I happened to meet her manager last week and asked about how she was doing. According to him she has probably skipped med school now. She tried but after a while realized that it really wasn't "her thing".

Before going "all in" on a large life changing decision. Is there any way you can test? I think/hope smile everyone has interests outside of work. But personally, I don't think I would like to turn them into a career smile.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (ThomasH)

Interesting discussion. Personally I have never seriously considered a complete career change.

But I have a colleague who is a structural engineer with about 10 years experience. She took time off a few years ago to go to med school. I don't know exactly why since we haven't worked in the same projects for a while, and we don't work at the same office so we havent met recently. But knowing her, I suspect that the challenge might interest her.

From what I heard she spent a semester at school, then worked a while and then another semester at school. I happened to meet her manager last week and asked about how she was doing. According to him she has probably skipped med school now. She tried but after a while realized that it really wasn't "her thing".

Before going "all in" on a large life changing decision. Is there any way you can test? I think/hope smile everyone has interests outside of work. But personally, I don't think I would like to turn them into a career smile.
Thank you! This is great insight! It is some great thoughts to ponder!

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Having read your original post, I can definitely relate and I have been there myself, as I'm sure everyone in the world can. However, a new perspective might be useful.

As far as I can tell you have three options:

Option 1) See this desire through. Give up your current job, go through the decade or more learning, grinding etc (including earning money now to pay off the fees). Finally achieve your dream to become a plastic surgeon, and feel relief that you fulfilled this desire. Then realise that you have just one more desire to fulfil. A nagging desire that you just can't let go of. Again. It will now become your new life mission to fulfil this one other desire and you will only feel relief when this achieved. In a few short moments you find yourself on your deathbed, compulsively replaying the stored memories in your brain, happy or unhappy about a particular desire that was either fulfilled or not (most likely not, since there is always one more desire, such is the mind of the human).

Option 2) Live with the regret of not attempting to fulfil your desire of becoming a plastic surgeon. Carry this negative feeling with you. Continue with your life, thinking that you have done what is right, but still have that image in your mind of what could have been, and how more satisfied/happy/fulfilled you could have been if only the stars had aligned slightly differently and you had not made that fateful decision X number of decades ago which has now permeated through your history and brought you to this situation, in which you feel regret and dissatisfaction.

Option 3) Observe, objectively and non-judgmentally, the desires that arise within your body and mind. They are simply a natural part of your evolution/creation, neither good nor bad, and there is no reason for you to get involved. Treat them like you would the hairs growing on your arm, and simply allow them to be.
There are desires (and fears) which have served this organism well in its survival, such as the desire for food/shelter, the desire for community, the desire to protect your family etc. However, we are at a point in time where these basic desires are mainly fulfilled, and yet the human body/mind cannot let go of its primal evolution and its psychotic compulsion to desire. With no basic desires left to fulfil, the mind has now projected its desire into the imaginary world. The desire for self fulfilment, career advancement, personal acknowledgment, the desire to be remembered etc.

My advice would be to simply let go of this desire, just like you would let go of a burning stone in your hand. And it doesn't even have to be for that long. Just do it for one week and see what happens. You can always pick up the burning stone again after this if you feel the need.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

You're only on this ride once. I feel sorry for folks who don't pursue their life's passion. Go for it.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Strucpatholgst,

If this was a passion, I would say go all for it if it was feasible without too many sacrifices. It might not be that but often people think it is. I think that before someone does something like this, they really need to figure out what they are missing from their current occupation. It very well could be that switching jobs or companies fulfills what they are missing. More than a few times, I think I would have stayed where I was if I didn't have to deal with certain nonsense or got to work close by a really close group of guys and gals that I would consider good friends. I think people sometimes forget that they spend often more time with co-workers than family and if you are not fitting in or don't have a good group of pals, it can feel all very unfulfilling. People always talk about keeping coworkers at a distance because bad xyz things happened in the past but you spend way too much time around this people to only be half a person or have half a relationship. I think I would work a fruit stand if it would set me financially and I got to shoot the shit with friends everyday while working a chill job.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Quote:

It very well could be that switching jobs or companies fulfills what they are missing.

The converse, of course, is that you might bring your dissatisfaction with you to the new career, so that's something that requires serious consideration.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (Euler07)

Having read your original post, I can definitely relate and I have been there myself, as I'm sure everyone in the world can. However, a new perspective might be useful.

As far as I can tell you have three options:

Option 1) See this desire through. Give up your current job, go through the decade or more learning, grinding etc (including earning money now to pay off the fees). Finally achieve your dream to become a plastic surgeon, and feel relief that you fulfilled this desire. Then realise that you have just one more desire to fulfil. A nagging desire that you just can't let go of. Again. It will now become your new life mission to fulfil this one other desire and you will only feel relief when this achieved. In a few short moments you find yourself on your deathbed, compulsively replaying the stored memories in your brain, happy or unhappy about a particular desire that was either fulfilled or not (most likely not, since there is always one more desire, such is the mind of the human).

Option 2) Live with the regret of not attempting to fulfil your desire of becoming a plastic surgeon. Carry this negative feeling with you. Continue with your life, thinking that you have done what is right, but still have that image in your mind of what could have been, and how more satisfied/happy/fulfilled you could have been if only the stars had aligned slightly differently and you had not made that fateful decision X number of decades ago which has now permeated through your history and brought you to this situation, in which you feel regret and dissatisfaction.

Option 3) Observe, objectively and non-judgmentally, the desires that arise within your body and mind. They are simply a natural part of your evolution/creation, neither good nor bad, and there is no reason for you to get involved. Treat them like you would the hairs growing on your arm, and simply allow them to be.
There are desires (and fears) which have served this organism well in its survival, such as the desire for food/shelter, the desire for community, the desire to protect your family etc. However, we are at a point in time where these basic desires are mainly fulfilled, and yet the human body/mind cannot let go of its primal evolution and its psychotic compulsion to desire. With no basic desires left to fulfil, the mind has now projected its desire into the imaginary world. The desire for self fulfilment, career advancement, personal acknowledgment, the desire to be remembered etc.
This is VERY good and thoughtful insight. Thank you for sharing. My wife, knowing me better than anyone else, applied a similar approach when I talked to her. She knows I have an interest in plastic surgery, but also knows that I have a thirst for achievement and tackling the next best thing. She challenged me to think deeply about how this would (if at all) satisfy the thirst/itch and if there'd be something else later that begins to itch.

Quote (Fischstabchen)

I think people sometimes forget that they spend often more time with co-workers than family and if you are not fitting in or don't have a good group of pals, it can feel all very unfulfilling.
I agree with you 100%. I definitely face this issue and have been very open with my wife about it. I only had a few pals at my first engineering job 10yrs ago. I enjoyed being around them and we still chat occasionally. I left that job due to leadership problems. Since then, the lack of work buddies has become exceptionally apparent to me, in an unfavorable way; i.e., I have never had that good of an environment since. I'm working feverishly with my wife to fulfill that need for community in other ways though.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

IRStuff,

The point is to try things that are low risk and low commitment first. So, he gets another job and 3 months into it, he realizes that that didn't fix anything. Or he realizes his med school pipedream was better just as fantasy. Going to med school might be the cure but god damn it would be nice if there was something cheaper and less committal that could be tried first.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Fischstabchen,

Yes, I understood the risk, since I even posted about that earlier; my point was to echo the sentiment that dissatisfaction is often disguised as something else, and often, one needs to do serious soul searching to identify whether the "grass is greener" ideation isn't just a manifestation of something completely internal

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Quote (IRstuff)

my point was to echo the sentiment that dissatisfaction is often disguised as something else, and often, one needs to do serious soul searching to identify whether the "grass is greener" ideation isn't just a manifestation of something completely internal
Yes, as you say, people feel dissatisfied with their situation and then look externally to try and find a cause of their dissatisfaction. Obviously in many situations there is a direct cause, such as suffering abuse. But for a normal situation the dissatisfaction comes from inside. If the internal problem is not resolved then it doesn't matter where or what you do, the negative feeling will follow you. The solution is to self-reflect and resolve the internal dissatisfaction, and in my experience the most powerful way of doing this is through non-judgmental acceptance. As the saying goes "accept this moment as if you had chosen it".

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Sometimes in long running posts you need to go back to the beginning.

Quote (M Ridzon)

My main question is whether this is wise or not, considering my age, my comfy engineering position, and the severity of the pivot in my life. I'm curious if anyone else here can relate or has a story to share about a similar experience.

"Wise" is an interesting word and invites a level of judgement from others which I think you've got here.

I think from what you've said your wife though is a very wise woman and knows you more perhaps than you do yourself.

Clearly the answer "No, Are you insane? Have you been drinking??" wouldn't work with you so she's going the more analytical route.

Realistically the challenges you face are substantial being:

Age - we're just not as able to do things as we get on in life as easy as we did.
Family situation - the little buggers cost you MORE as they get older not less
Cost of the tuition
Uncertain outcome - the market may have moved on by the time you get there, you cannot gain sufficient clients, you won't get to do what you want
Desire to change - Only you know how bright this flame is, but maybe its intensity will diminish as time goes on?

Or is this just a mega mid life crisis?

I think most of us have been there on the latter one. For me it presaged moving out from my comfortable, but increasingly managerial role into a start up consultancy which failed, but then I got to do what I'm actually good at which is technical engineering on a contract / consultancy basis and not all the managerial and selling stuff which I realised I'm not actually very good at.

Perhaps take a closer look at your current role / company / career track and decide to make a change there.
Probably better than deciding to be a plastic surgeon / astronaut / deep sea diver / racing driver or whatever else your itch turns to??
[Apologies for the slight sarcasm there....]

So "Wise?" It's not for me to say, but this is a judgement call only you can end up making with those around you who will be impacted by that decision.

Its been fun on this thread for sure and I do wish you all the best. I think I'm done now.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (LittleInch)

Sometimes in long running posts you need to go back to the beginning.

"Wise" is an interesting word and invites a level of judgement from others which I think you've got here.

I think from what you've said your wife though is a very wise woman and knows you more perhaps than you do yourself.

Clearly the answer "No, Are you insane? Have you been drinking??" wouldn't work with you so she's going the more analytical route.

Realistically the challenges you face are substantial being:

Age - we're just not as able to do things as we get on in life as easy as we did.
Family situation - the little buggers cost you MORE as they get older not less
Cost of the tuition
Uncertain outcome - the market may have moved on by the time you get there, you cannot gain sufficient clients, you won't get to do what you want
Desire to change - Only you know how bright this flame is, but maybe its intensity will diminish as time goes on?

Or is this just a mega mid life crisis?

I think most of us have been there on the latter one. For me it presaged moving out from my comfortable, but increasingly managerial role into a start up consultancy which failed, but then I got to do what I'm actually good at which is technical engineering on a contract / consultancy basis and not all the managerial and selling stuff which I realised I'm not actually very good at.

Perhaps take a closer look at your current role / company / career track and decide to make a change there.
Probably better than deciding to be a plastic surgeon / astronaut / deep sea diver / racing driver or whatever else your itch turns to??
[Apologies for the slight sarcasm there....]

So "Wise?" It's not for me to say, but this is a judgement call only you can end up making with those around you who will be impacted by that decision.

Its been fun on this thread for sure and I do wish you all the best. I think I'm done now.
Thank you! This is great perspective. If nothing else, this thread gave me a chance to talk through it and glean other perspectives to ponder.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Only one other thing that cam to me:

You are now not the young, free, person you were at 18-20.

You've made some decisions which then come with responsibilities, viz:

You got married - you have a responsibility to maintain your relationship.
You've decided to have children - you have a responsibility to bring them up as best you can.
You've bought a house - you have a responsibility to maintain it for the benefit of the two lines above if nothing else.

Those responsibilities are quite considerable compared to what will be your peers and your further decisions to follow your dream will have an impact on those responsibilities. Only you can judge if you can manage all those in a way which doesn't result in failing to uphold all those responsibilities.

Good luck in your thinking.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

(OP)

Quote (LittleInch)

Only one other thing that cam to me:

You are now not the young, free, person you were at 18-20.

You've made some decisions which then come with responsibilities, viz:

You got married - you have a responsibility to maintain your relationship.
You've decided to have children - you have a responsibility to bring them up as best you can.
You've bought a house - you have a responsibility to maintain it for the benefit of the two lines above if nothing else.

Those responsibilities are quite considerable compared to what will be your peers and your further decisions to follow your dream will have an impact on those responsibilities. Only you can judge if you can manage all those in a way which doesn't result in failing to uphold all those responsibilities.

Good luck in your thinking.
Yes, thank you again. I'm fully aware of those obligations and responsibilities. My undergrad, my wife's undergrad, and my masters all had those 3 obligations and a 4th (i.e., we worked full-time jobs), in place while trudging through those rough times.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

Wow, you have my utmost respect for doing that - it can't have been easy. I can say I wouldn't have done that....

Key question is do you want to do it all again though?

But you seem to know all that so I'll leave you to do some thinking and talking.

Good luck again.

LI

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Considering Career Change to Medical Field

My Lyme doctor left a good career, in her mid-40's, to go to naturopathic school. She left her engineering career mainly due to poor retirement vehicles at the time. She is smart and did well in her medical classes but the struggles presented were hard. Money was a big problem.

There are times she has expressed regret at making the career change; however, she has really enjoyed helping people directly, which was hard for her to see in an engineering career. The regret is the debt incurred, with the career change. She's still paying off school loans almost 20 years later.

She tried starting her own practice. That was hard because she didn't understand how to market herself. She ultimately joined another practice and has done quite well there. She found her niche in Lyme disease, mold exposure, gut health, etc. She loves what she does but the financial thing has been a problem.

You'll find your way, with the help of your wife and kids.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

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