August 2021 (three months after quitting)
So where am I now? Well, my fiance and I moved back to our hometown, where she quickly got herself an awesome job. We came to an agreement that I would have some time to explore where I want my career to go. It’s a big world out there, with a million opportunities in a million different fields, especially with an MD and medical license to back me up. So I wanted to be a bit more deliberate when choosing my next career path. Am I overestimating my value to society as a non-clinical MD? After exploring all these resources, I can confidently say “no.”
I didn’t set any limits on what I could explore. I went through one YouTube rabbit hole after another. I had background in computer science and always loved math and programing, so I explored those. I found a field that combines both: Data Science. And if I didn’t want to leave medicine behind, I could use Data Science to analyze health data. That was exciting! But I wasn’t ready for a nine-to-five job quite yet. So I decided to continue exploring my passions.
In the meantime I’m working part-time as an MD consultant for a company providing COVID testing and vaccines. I needed a medical license for this, but my state only requires 1 year of residency to get licensed, so that worked out. With the blessing of my fiance, I plan to work on passion projects for a year or so to see if anything sticks. If not, I’ll start looking into more stable jobs.
To round out the mental health side of the story, I was able to discontinue all treatment a few months after quitting residency. My mental health is at a high I haven’t experienced since before medical school. I don’t know how else to describe it other than: I feel more myself. My time is now spent doing things that align with my nature. I’ve been working on projects than I enjoy and I’ve been reading tons of non-medical books. It feels amazing. My mind is expanding in ways it hasn’t in a long time. I feel connected to the rest of the world again. During medical training I was terrible at keeping up with current affairs. I wasn’t able to take a deep dive into any of the social issues that were unfolding (especially everything in 2020) and I hated that. But now I feel like a real member of society again!
As a say in My Goals, I know that quitting isn’t the answer for everyone. I’m sure there are hundreds of stories out there, each with a different ending. I hope by that sharing where mine began and how it progressed, you will be able to draw parallels to your own story and get a sense of how it can play out.
March 2022 (ten months after quitting)
Quick update: I have secured a full-time non-clinical MD job!
I tweaked my career transition plan a few months ago to start looking for that 9-5 job sooner. The COVID testing job wasn’t a super stable source of income, which was stressful. So I figured I’d get a more stable job that I don’t hate (my new standard for a career) which would minimize my money stress AND still provide time to explore my passions. It turns out when you’re used to working 60-80 hours/week in residency, a 40-hour work week gives you so much free time you don’t know what to do with yourself!