Poll…. are you happy? Why or why not?

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    To anyone who will listen…..

    I just spent the last 3 hours going through all the posts from the last year under general discussion and under the physician’s forum and I’m really astounded at the number of unhappy physicians. I think I could count on one hand how many physicians would do it all over again, and how many were happy period. Is this just human nature, to be dissatisfied or always wonder about how things could have been if we’d taken the other route? Or is it just that people tend to voice their opinions when they’re upset or unhappy? :confused: So, I figured it would be interesting to see how many people are happy period. :scratchchin:

    Me? No. I’m not happy. Why? Well, I became extremely dissatisfied and miserable with my career choice – a loan officer, decided to go back to my first love; medicine, and have been battling on whether to go the BSN route or pre-med route with seemingly no end in sight. Now it seems that the very thing that I’m struggling to get to is what everyone else is miserable in. Did I mention that I quit work, so now I’m broke too. Hmmmmm… what to do? Oh, and I have a now sexless relationship with a very affectionate and thoughtful man that I’ve lived with for over 3 years now, who recently told me “I’m not ready for marriage, and don’t know when or if I’ll ever be – but no, I don’t want you to leave because I love you so much”. :banghead: So do I jump ship or hang around like a little puppy, wondering if our relationship will ever go anywhere? Other than the marriage and sex issue – we do have a great relationship. I guess if I had to have a roommate, I would want one exactly like him. Well, I guess I’ll figure it out while I try to lose the 60lbs that I put on over the last 3 years that have really done wonders on my esteem and self image. :yikes:

    And the good news is…. I have an A average in my classes…so I won’t jump out of the window tonight 😀

    Thanks for listening, I feel better already, …. and it would be great to see what everyone’s general mind frame is. Hey, at least if everyone else is miserable too, I’ll know that it’s not just the physicians 😉 :p 😀


    No, I’m not happy either. My happiest time in my career was when I worked as a hospitalist. But I would have to move to find another hospitalist job, and I like where I live now. Medicine is not what I ever envisioned it to be. Many patients want referrals to specialists for minor things that need no care at all, and when you make a referral, they fail to keep their appointments. The kindest, most dedicated people get screwed while the ruthless physicians who churn patients make the most and end up running the company. I’m at a crossroads. I’m thinking about starting my own practice mid-career, but I’m to the point that I don’t even enjoy medicine anymore. Sigh! Thanks for listening to my rant.


    Great post, I get to complain! 😀

    Not happy at the moment. :yes: 😀

    Thanks for listening!



    Good question. I’d have to divide it into two, though — am I happy in my personal life? Am I happy in my professional (well, student) life?

    Personal life: Very, very happy. My marriage has its moments but is in general great, and my kids (who also have their moments!) are to me the two most wonderful creatures to ever grace the earth. Friendships are hard to maintain, partly because of school demands, partly because of family demands, but I do have some good friends, and my sisters and mom are very good friends to me as well.

    Professionally: Very not happy. I am wishing I never started this PhD, as I now can’t imagine ever wanting to research again. It’s turned into a pretty dreadful experience! If I am not allowed to finish my PhD in time to go back to medical school next summer, I am seriously considering going back withOUT the PhD, and this is after five years in the PhD program! My deep unhappiness in my work life is starting to spill over into my personal life, and that is not good. My program is only partially funded, so while it would be a bummer to give up the partial tuition waivers, one year earning a real income would erase the difference anyway. I don’t want to be “that MD/PhD student who gave up on the PhD after FIVE years!” but neither do I want to feel like this any longer. I’m doing a little one person experiment in the mind-body connection — I come to work, and my shoulders hunch, my throat gets tight, my eyes burn, etc.

    In sum: I’d have to say I’m still generally quite happy, in spite of the work woes. When I can separate myself enough from them, I know that one way or another this time really won’t last forever, and doing these research years has been a much more forgiving, flexible time to have young children than if I’d had them later.

    I do notice in myself a tendency, as I get older, to have more complicated happiness and more guarded optimism. It’s not that I’m not happy or optimistic, it’s just that I can think of SO many trade-offs that may have to happen or are already happening. I miss the ease of maintaining friendships I experienced before kids, but neither would I wish them away! They’re just a little intense.
    The good thing is, that my friends are starting to have kids now, too. (evil laugh)


    I’m in a philosophical mood…

    Am I happy? Yes!!! I’m in the middle of one of the most stressful points in my life, but I am busy pursuing my future and I have much to be thankful for.

    My marriage of 12 years is going through some difficulties (there is a price to pay when your husband travels every week for over a year) but I love my husband and he is my soulmate and we will get through this.

    My niece has leukemia and my brother is struggling to pay rent while they endure the chemo and all it’s side effects. But, I’m closer to my brother than I have ever been and that is a gift. (My niece will be okay, her prognosis is very good.)

    My dad is depressed, my uncle’s schizophrenia is cycling badly, my grandmother is succumbing to Alzheimer’s… All of these things are difficult and distressing, but I love all these people and they love me. I’d rather endure this than not have these people in my life.

    I have the opportunity to pursue the vocation (physician)that I have wanted for a very long time. It won’t be a cakewalk and I am well aware of the drawbacks, but it’s what I dream of doing. So I feel blessed to be doing it.

    Life is what you make of it, it’s how you see it. You can be bogged down in your difficulties or you can wake up in the morning and decide to do what you can today to make it better. Even if better just means listening to someone else tell their story or telling your story to someone who will really listen to you.

    One of my favorite quotes by Gandalf in Lord of the Rings:
    “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.” :goodvibes:

    Sometimes I think we dwell too much on what isn’t going right for us. As women, we rarely celebrate our success and seem to concentrate on what goes wrong. It’s not fair to us. WE have much to celebrate!

    Okay, I’ll step down from the soapbox. :boxedin: It’s just that I wish we could be more upbeat on this forum sometimes.


    EM momEM mom

    I get no time to myself, I haven’t read for fun in way too long, there are too many bills to pay, my husband forgot our anniversary, I will never again weigh what I did while in high school and I am in the midst of complete career chaos…despite ALL of this…I think I AM happy most of the time.

    But I finally realized that I was responsible for my own happiness, no one else was going to do it for me. Medicine sure as h#@! wasn’t going to do it! And I think that was the basis for most of my previous unhappiness (of which there was much!) All of the delay in gratification, all of the hard work and sacrifice, and the pure and simple fact that I had made it, I was now a doctor…well, it didn’t instantly make me happy, in fact it just came with a whole new world of headaches. (Not to say that I wouldn’t do it again, I would just learn to keep some perspective about the whole thing.)


    I am sure I will hear arguments about this BUT…
    if we were all truly happy would we be on this website?
    Would we have searched out this webiste?
    Probably not…this is our female MD sounding board…bc we are in general stressed out type A personalities who strive for perfection and only achieve it once in a while.
    HAPPY? No…not since…I am not sure.( OK the honeymoon was fun and time off was great)… Med school was hellacious ( socially)…I think college may have been fun…residency was OK from an educaional standpoint but psychologically bad…first job horrible…secnd job better but depressing…third job now is annoying but better hours…
    But the “important” people in this world who make a difference in other people’s lives never have it easy…so that is our consolation… :p


    Originally posted by TheresaW:
    [b]Life is what you make of it, it’s how you see it. Sometimes I think we dwell too much on what isn’t going right for us. WE have much to celebrate!

    Agreed !! I actually stayed away from the site for about 6 months because while I acknowledge that we have difficulties, the “discussions” of it became too much for me while I was dealing with my Dad’s death from cancer 🙁

    You see I have a reality check about how good life is once/week when I go to class in Baltimore. There I see what can best be described as despair. I also maintain “reality” in the cancer research I do. A few weeks ago, a 9 year old girl was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer 😮 .

    So am I happy? HELL YEAH 95% of the time I’d say. I’ve FINALLY found the career “it” I’ve been looking for, and I’m the best physical shape of my life. I extremely glad I’m NOT the weight I was in high school which was too skinny for me( I was 5’6″ and weighed 120. Now I’m a curvy 5’8′ and 138 lbs 😀 . I’m reasonably healthy (I’m an asthmatic) and my daughter is doing well emotionally, physically, mentally, and academcially. I’m in a good relationship and we’re planning on getting engaged in the near future. Yep, life is good 😎

    So, I guess you’d say after having expereinced death, divorce, a return to school where my income is one fourth my “working” income, single parenthood in a city with NO FRIENDS OR FAMILY, unemployment for 6 months with NO benefits, and a mother that’s showing early Alheizmers in the same 2 year period, that I CHOOSE to see the cup as half-full. Things could sure as heck be a LOT worse. 😉


    okay, maybe I’m being the philosopher on this topic but i believ that happiness, like all other emotions, is fleeting and that until you find true JOY with your life, you will be unhappy. You have to find out for yourself wher ethat true joy lies. there are times when i am not at all happy- but i remember where my Joy comes from.
    that said, we have gone over this disucssion many times and it seems to me that many of the women who say that they are unhappy in their careers seesm to be in primary care and the second most “unhappy” field is surgery in my observation that mgiht be a clue to those of us still chosing a specialty. also what i have observed on this site and at school is that many women/ people who have changed speiclaties have changed to pathology. i have noticed this occurence quiet a few and again, am using it as a clue to chosing a specialty.
    i do not agree that women come to this site because they are unhappy. they want to disucss with people in a similar situation whether it be unhappy, changing careers at 40 or getting through med school with children.


    Hi I’m a newbie to this site and am not sure how to use all the features (like the quoting) but I did want to agree with momsurg when she said “But I finally realized that I was responsible for my own happiness, no one else was going to do it for me.”

    I finally came to that realization a few years ago when making the decision to return to my first love, medicine. I was terribly unhappy and had been for a long time. I was stuck in a rut after some rather terrible experiences but thought I was back on the upswing and yet I was still unhappy. It took some counseling and some deep thinking to get myself off my butt and to stop wallowing in my own misery. Life is never going to be perfect and everything is not going to go my way all the time (though once in a while is kinda nice 😉 ) I am learning to make the best of what life has to offer and what I have to offer life. Not to sound like a Pollyanna or anything but life’s not all bad so we need to change our perspectives and go for the positive instead of dwelling on the negative so often.

    Ok enough of my soapbox! 😀


    I’ve added a real poll so you can vote too! Click here http://www.mommd.com/cgi-bin/ubb-cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000773



    Originally posted by bermiegal:
    a clue to those of us still chosing a specialty. also what i have observed on this site and at school is that many women/ people who have changed speiclaties have changed to pathology.

    I’m personally not suprised by this. 😉

    In the many years I was considering a career in medicine I shadowed and ER doctor, Peditrician, IM-gastroenterologist, Neonatologist, Oncologist, General Surgeon, Urologist, Family Practioner, OB/Gyn, and Pathologist. It became VERY clear to me that hands down, the pathologist had the “lifestyle” I was looking for and could easily accomadate a research career too. I’ve said it many times, as women having choices DOES NOT necessarily mean considering EVERY career possibility. I gave up my desire to become a physician/astronaut when I realized that the training would fall smack in the middle of my reproductive years. And I haven’t looked back since.

    The most important consideration to “having it all” is having a little common sense when you make career decisions.

    So, hooray to the future pathologists of the world !!!! 😀


    My two cents:
    Yes, I’m happy. (Not happy with myself at the moment for browsing on this site instead of dictating charts so I can go home and get some much needed sleep. I didn’t used to be this much of a procrastinator!) Anyway, I’m definitely happy. I have a great part-time job, wonderful colleagues who wish I would work more but at least say they understand, a wonderful husband, and 3 beautiful children. I’m a little short in the friend area, but oh well… I’m too busy, never have time for me, nobody but me ever picks up a thing in the house, and I’m tired a lot. Life is going too fast, but I’m happy. I do have to say I wasn’t very happy before I cut back to part time, though. It’s the balance that makes it all doable.

    I agree that people who are happy are much less likely to post on a site like this than people who are not. So reading these posts is not a fair gauge of the happiness of women physicians in general.

    I think if anyone is considering medicine and wants to know if she can be happy the best thing to do is find some women physicians in your community and talk to them and find out what their lives are like.

    I would be happy to talk to anyone who wants to know if they can be happy in medicine. Yes you can, if you can find the right opportunity. Now I need to get back to those charts!


    Happiness is in the eye of the beholder. I think many women everywhere, especially on this site have some pristine fairy-tale vision of what happiness should look and feel like. We are women…it’s what we do….always pursuing some unattainable ideal. I certainly know I do. And, I totally agree with the poster who said that we are a bunch of type A perfectionists who are never content with anything.

    As for my own situation? I have never been happier :tired: :guilty: as an MS-I. My life feels completely out of control because of this school thing. I cry every day because of it. I am really hoping that it will be different once we are out of the classroom. At the same time, I have enormous support from my honey and am absolutely blessed to have him and my wonderful boys.

    Am I happy? Yes, in a schizophrenic sort of way, I suppose.


    if we were all truly happy would we be on this website?

    Well, I came here looking for a website for mothers that assumed the mothers have brains and like to use ’em. There’s not very many of those.

    Happy…well, my husband’s been in a bad way lately and no, I’m not happy about that. I don’t envy him what he’s going through, and it’s sure making life rough on me with an infant. In general, though, yes. I’m right where I want to be, got good friends here & abroad, don’t want for anything materially, and this baby deal is a hell of an adventure. Very choppy seas, but not fear-for-your-life-or-sanity kind of stuff. And this kid delights me every day. Yesterday I picked up the old recording of Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, which I’d loved as a little girl — and oh, my, Annelies loved it. Just got giddy. I’m sure most of the giggles & leg-waving had to do with mommy swooping around and dancing all the instruments, but wow, that was fun. Spent part of today introducing her to early pinkohood with some Pete Seeger songs (hadn’t heard “Little Boxes” in much too long, and v. prickly too since our house is identical to all the others on the block). And my father wonders why I vote Democrat, I ask you.

    Anyway. Bills time.


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