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Your Career Guide--for the rest (and best) of your life


Introducing a special issue for every physician--young or old, new or experienced--who wants more out of medicine.


Your Career Guide

Your Career Guide—for the rest (and best) of your life

Not so long ago, a physician's career path was linear and clearly defined. If you chose office-based care, you either built a practice of your own or entered into a partnership or larger group. You made the necessary sacrifices to build the practice into a prosperous one. You worked hard to refine your skills, keep up with medical knowledge, and develop good patient relationships. You enjoyed the prestige accorded those in your profession. For most of you, life was good—very good indeed.

Today, the career trajectory is not so clear. The past couple of decades have brought significant changes to the medical landscape, and the balance of power has shifted—away from the physician. The financial and emotional rewards seem harder to come by. For those who practiced during the "golden era," the sense of loss is palpable.

But all is not lost. Order will emerge from the chaos. It always does.

Medicine is still a noble profession, one capable of providing its practitioners with a great deal of satisfaction. But in times like these it can be trickier to navigate the path to professional fulfillment. This Career Guide, a first for Medical Economics, is designed to help you find your way along that path.

Just know at the outset that long-term career satisfaction won't be possible—no matter how much you earn, or how much prestige you attain—unless you address the larger questions: What called you to such a demanding profession in the first place? And what keeps you there now? Once you've answered those questions, and understand what values you hold highest, you need to find an environment that is consistent with those values. That's the prescription for lasting satisfaction.

Speaking of prescriptions, this issue offers a generous dose of practical advice to help you make the most of your opportunities as a physician:

Section 1, "Surveying the landscape," tells you where the jobs are, what they pay, and how to find the situation that fits you best.

Section 2, "Landing the job you want," is a step-by-step guide to job hunting, interviewing, and negotiating a contract you'll be glad you signed.

Section 3, "Solving the midcareer puzzle," tells how to find happiness where you are by making strategic changes in your practice.

Subsequent sections, to be published in our Jan. 22 and Feb. 5 issues, explain how to make a midcareer shift from full-time practice to something more satisfying, move up to the executive suite, and find fulfillment in retirement, whether complete or partial. And online at www.memag.com, beginning with this issue, we offer a comprehensive guide to career resources you can consult for more information.

Along the way, we've included the personal stories of many physicians who've figured out how to find happiness in their work. You may be surprised by the diversity and creativity of their approaches. We were.

We hope this special issue gives you the guidance, information, and inspiration you need to find that elusive place in the sun. The skies are cloudy and the times turbulent, but the discomfort you may be feeling also may be due, in part, to the birthing pains of the new order. What medicine will become is up to each and every doctor. Choose wisely.

Pitching in

The creative masterminds of this issue are Career Guide Editor Deborah Grandinetti and Art Director Bill Shannon. The large supporting cast includes gifted writers, editors, and staffers on career paths of their own: Professional Editor David Azevedo; Senior Editors Anne Finger, Mark Crane, Doreen Mangan, Berkeley Rice, Sue Preston, and Wayne Guglielmo; and Midwest Editor Bob Lowes. Also contributing were talented freelance writers, including Deborah Borfitz, Cynthia Starr, Lauren Walker, Toni Goldfarb, and Kent Bottles, MD. Special thanks to our superb copy editors—Carol Pincus, Diane Weber, and Gail Weiss, and to our fact-checking, proofreading, and production crews.


Deborah Grandinetti. Your Career Guide--for the rest (and best) of your life. Medical Economics 2001;1:8.

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