I’d like to be clear here. My primary goal is to support residents who are considering quitting. Answering The Question (“should I quit residency?”) is a difficult and time-consuming process. But if it’s nagging you, you need to answer it. You should be confident that the next 40 years of your life will be determined by your deliberate choosing, not by passively continuing down a default path. So I built this website to help you get there. I hope to achieve my primary goal via a few sub-goals:
Sub-goal #1: Allow residents to feel comfortable even entertaining the idea of quitting
Asking “should I quit residency” IS a valid question, regardless of what your brain tells you. I personally felt like the Thought Police would come knocking at my door and call me a lazy idiot for even considering quitting. You are neither lazy nor an idiot if you made it to residency. Don’t let anyone (yourself included) convince you otherwise.
Sub-goal #2: Encourage residents to feel comfortable talking to others when they feel ready
We are doing ourselves such a disservice by keeping it to ourselves. By talking to our family, friends, and colleagues, we actually give them a chance to provide the support we need to continue. Or they help us realize we would be happier doing something else. Either way, they can help us reach an answer. This was HARD for me to do, I elaborate in the FAQ.
Sub-goal #3: Eliminate the taboo around quitting residency
I like to think this would create a positive feedback loop with sub-goals #1 and #2. The more we freely discuss quitting residency, the less taboo it will become, the easier it will be to discuss quitting residency, etc. etc. In order to jump-start this feedback loop, I’ve shared My Story.
Sub-goals #4 and #5: Provide resources that I found helpful and allow for feedback from residents to ensure this website is actually relevant and helpful
These are self-explanatory.
Clarification #1: My goal is NOT to encourage everyone to quit residency
Just because quitting was the right move for me, does NOT mean it will be the right move for everyone reading this. If anything, it’s probably only right for a tiny proportion of readers. It just pains me to think that for those people, quitting might not even register as an option when it clearly is. I just want you to know that if you are having second thoughts, it’s okay, take a step back and give yourself time to think them.
Challenge #1: Knowing my audience
There are many reasons that a resident might consider quitting. But I think you can categorize them into two groups: internal and external reasons. “Internal” would be that you are experiencing cognitive dissonance because what you want in life does not match the reality of a medical career. “External” would be that you still want to practice medicine, but there are external forces making it difficult/impossible to do so. These forces can include the general challenges of medical training or an especially toxic environment in your specific program.
My reasoning included a bit of both. Internally, I realized that I barely wanted to be a clinician (it would be “okay” at best), which made the external factors (residency just generally overworking trainees, being anxiogenic, etc.) 100% not worth it. I visualized The Scale over and over during my process.
My challenge now is that I don’t know which camp most of you are in. This site is targeted more to those who lean towards an internal reason. For those of you who are experiencing more external reasons, I would argue that the answer is to fix our system of medical training. I would love to help with that as well. Perhaps in the future.