Job A Versus Job B. A Tale of Two Jobs

Let’s compare two very different jobs. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call one Job A and the other Job B.

As you will see, these jobs have little in common with one another, but there is a tie that binds them.

Would you rather have Job A? Or Job B? Could you have the best of both worlds with a little from column A and a little from column B?

Let’s start comparing and contrasting, shall we?

 

Job A Versus Job B. A Tale of Two Jobs

 

Job A Versus Job B: Pay

 

Job A pays well. Americans working Job A earn a six-figure salary, even when working part-time.

Depending on the location and the details, Job A could pay as much as half-a-million dollars a year. Although you’ll pay plenty of taxes with an income like that, you’ll be able to save a lot, too, and financial independence can be reached in short order.

Job B doesn’t typically pay nearly as well. Most people with Job B do it as a hobby or a side hustle.

The pay for Job B might be zero or close to it. Some people earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars with Job B and it’s not unheard of to reach six-figures. A select few have been known to earn more than a million dollars a year, but that income level is reserved for a fraction of a percent of those with Job B.

 

 

job I: i am ironman

Job A Versus Job B: Benefits

 

lucidityWith Job A, you’ll likely be employed or part of a group or partnership. It’s common to be offered a benefits package, which may include subsidized or provided health insurance, a 401(k) or similar retirement plan with employer match, profit sharing contributions, and more.

With Job B, you’re on your own. Job B is typically a one-man or a one-woman show. If it grows to something more, you’ll be the boss, so you’re still on the hook for your own benefits package unless you have a more traditional job (Job C?) that provides them.

That means purchasing health care coverage, setting up your own retirement plan, and having no one to send your receipts to for reimbursement.

One bonus of Job B is that if you are making money at it, you can deduct some of those receipts as business expenses, a feature that you won’t have if employed with Job A.

 

Job A Versus Job B: Hours

 

Job A, while highly paid, is a demanding job. You can expect to start early, around 0600, and you may not get home until your family has gone to bed.

With Job A, you can expect to work holidays and weekends on a fairly regular basis. You’ll have more vacation time with Job A than with many other jobs, but you’ll earn them by working 24-hour shifts on a regular basis. For every week off, you might work two 72-hour weekends.

Job B’s hours, like the pay, can be highly variable. Some people spend a few hours a week doing it; others will spend a few hours a day. Some have made Job B their primary source of income, and they treat it more like a traditional 9-to-5 job.

Working Job B, you are your own boss, so no one tells you where to be, when, or for how long. Unlike Job A, there will be no work emergencies in the middle of the night. There is no defined vacation time, but you can take as much time off as you want.

 

Job A Versus Job B: Prestige

 

People you know will be well aware of your Job A, and you can expect to receive some level of respect and admiration from friends and family. They know that Job A is not something you just stumble into, and that you serve in a vital role.

Job B is a little different. People you know in real life might not realize you have Job B, and if they are aware of it, they probably won’t think much of it.

Strangely, though, if you do Job B well for a while, you’ll start to earn the respect and admiration of complete strangers. Whereas you’ll only be helping one or a few people at a time in Job A, with Job B you can help thousands of people at once. While it may not seem prestigious, Job B has the potential to have you be seen with tremendous esteem.

 

Job A Versus Job B: Location

 

Job A must be done in credentialed facilities with high-tech, expensive equipment. You will be a team member and will be at the beck and call of those who require your services.

This means living close to one of these facilities, commuting to it often, and being available to the facility on a moment’s notice at all hours of the day and night.

Job B can be done anywhere in the world. It helps to have a computer and an internet connection, at least intermittently, but one can take Job B on the road.

You could perform Job B from each of the seven continents without any particular credentials. Job A, on the other hand, requires expensive and time-consuming licensing and other credentials for each state in which you wish to work. Want to take the job overseas? It can get complicated quickly with Job A.

 

Job A Versus Job B: The Demands

 

People burn out from Job A fairly regularly. A mistake at work can have devastating consequences. Lives are on the line, and while you are part of a team, you may be the only one with a certain set of skills, and those skills will be called upon in emergency situations.

Time pressures are a routine part of the workday in Job A, as you are sometimes expected by two or three different people to be in two or three different places at once. While Job A can be rewarding, it can be quite stressful.

Job B is only as demanding as you want it to be. You may very well have the ability to change people’s lives, but no one is counting on you to save theirs.

The only deadlines and time crunches are self-imposed in Job B. Like Job A, time management skills can be vitally important if you want to have time for everything else in your life, but with Job B, you are in control of how much time you spend on various aspects of the job.

Compared to Job A, Job B is a walk in the park on a sunny, 70-degree day.

 

My Two Jobs

 

As you have likely guessed, I am intimately familiar with these two jobs, and the labels A and B are anything but arbitrary.

 

A is for Anesthesiologist.
B is for Blogger.

 

I’m in my thirteenth year working Job A. Counting residency and medical school, which were more difficult and much less lucrative, I’ve been immersed in medicine for over twenty years.

Job B is more new to me. This is my third year as a blogger.

While it has been difficult at times, I am proud of the work I’ve done as an anesthesiologist, and it has been a great career to have.

Now I find myself in an interesting place. Having saved and invested a substantial amount of that physician income, the income has become optional.

Furthermore, I now have this Job B, and the blogging job is much more family friendly. It’s also more fun, less stressful, and it gives me the opportunity to use the creative part of my brain that doesn’t come into play too much in Job A.

I am grateful to have had this Job A and will continue to have two jobs for the better part of another year, but I’m excited to transition to Job B in 2019, when I’ll be retired not retired.

 


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24 comments

  • I guess mine would be job R (definitely not as catchy) vs job B.

    It was immediately obvious what the two jobs were when reading the post and as I read it job B sounded more appealing with every sentence (this of course being at the stage where job A/R has already provided sufficient capital that I was am far less dependent on its income than when first starting out (at that stage job B would have far less appeal and far more stressful if I had to rely on it as a sole source of income).

    Another point would be job A requires you to most likely go into large amount of debt and a delayed start vs job B which can be started on a shoestring budget.

    Your job B in particular is the best of both worlds with an income approaching that of job A (and Jim Dahle actually has reached a level where income is several multiples of job A). That would be like having your cake and eating it too. Very rare but still a possibility for some

    • You are definitely right that Job A (and Job R) have incredibly high up-front costs in terms of time, sacrifice, and money. I wonder how successful I would be at Job B without Job A, though.

      More on that later in the comments.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

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  • I worked Job A my whole career and am now transitioning into Job B, more or less. Job A got me to FI, so now I can try Job B without fearing failure. Might as well see what life is like on the other side.

  • Obviously, our two jobs are the same 🙂

    I could relate to the entire post for the same reason.

    I love my work in anesthesiology, but when my wife went back full time I started burning out at work as my priorities changed. Blogging has been part of what breaks me away from that and allows me to vent and heal. It has made some money, though not much, and yet I love spending time at this kind of work.

    Someday, I’ll go part time or pare down to the parts of my job I love. The gap in time created by this move will be filled with blogging when the family isn’t around and family timr when they are.

    I’m putting the work in now to make that happen as quickly as possible (being able to prioritize family time).

    TPP

    • I see you’re talking about part-time on your own site today. I’ll be following to see how that turns out.

      Good to have a Plan B…. or a Job B to help you feel fulfilled when Job A isn’t working out the way you had hoped.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Great thoughts. I like the way you framed this.

    One thought: I think the challenge for most folks is not *deciding* between the two types of jobs. The challenge is whether Job B (blogging) can produce reliable income. It’s a top-heavy industry with modal income of $0 (most people earn nothing). So it’s hard, in other words. I’m guessing many (most?) folks would choose Job B if it were viable for them. Although, thinking out loud, freelancing (work for hire online) is a good Job B for many people with the same characteristics that you’ve described.

    Love your stuff — keep up the great work in Job B!! 🙂

    • Great thoughts. I’ll be chatting with some friends for a podcast tomorrow on whether or not college is worth it.

      There are lots of examples of people without college degrees who became wildly successful (Gates, Zuckerberg), but for every success story, there are millions of blue collar wager earners. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But your comment ties in to that. It’s not tough to start a blog, but the planets have to align for a blog’s income to replace your day job’s.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • I am curious to know if Job B could have ever come to fruition if not for Job A?

    I’m in camp Job A, only that my position is working in the Finance function of a company. Everything you said about Job A, both pros and cons, are spot on. Without a doubt, my experience from Job A has led to better insight and experience should a Job B-type opportunity present itself.

    Are you much better prepared for Job B because of Job A?

    • Completely agree. Job A is what paved the road, the experience, and the wealth to allow for Job B. Hooray for job A!

    • Absolutely. I could have said more about the prerequisites for Job A versus Job B, but in some ways, the prereqs for Job B were all of the Job A prereqs plus Job A itself.

      A great question, even if was meant to be rhetorical.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • I have the same job A.

    And one might say that I have the same job B.

    The beauty of reading your blog and others in the financial independence space is that I have set myself up financially so that I won’t necessarily need to rely on my job as an anesthesiologist. Keeping lifestyle costs low and not needing a high anesthesia salary relieve a lot of the burden and stress of actually working as an anesthesiologist. It gives me the ability to give away shifts to make it to family events. And luckily I’m in a group set up where I can control the number of hours I work, my hours are flexible, and I have a decent amount of vacation time and paid time off. No 24-hour shifts or 72-hour on call shifts either. Stress is manageable.

    For now, I think I have created and set up my job A to be a sustainable (and enjoyable) career. But who knows, maybe 10 years from now I’ll feel different. And at that point, maybe job B (or job C, like consulting and coaching) becomes more fulfilling and financially lucrative. We shall see 🙂

  • POF living the FI dream. Work hard, do good with medicine and build that nest egg.

    Then transition to an alternative career when the time is right without fear of financial failure.

    And make that alternative career something that is FI friendly with as much or little tike/life energy investment as you want at any given time in your life.

    Good moves.

    Hopefully we can continue on this FI path and have a similar trajectory!

  • Great post, and congrats on having financial freedom! I can say that your Job B is definitely valuable for people like me.

    Idealistically, I’m hoping my scenario looks like Job A vs. Job B –> Job (A+B) where (A+B)= working in whatever setting i want (global surgery) and sharing the experiences.

    I think I love my field enough to keep that scenario alive, but I’m still in this deliciously naive phase of life just before entering the real workforce, so we shall see.

    • I hope that happens for you too, Joy. We need more great doctors to go out into the world to care for the underserved. Stay tuned for a post on our first surgical mission trip in the coming weeks.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • My family and I have greatly benefited from your Job B, and indirectly benefited from your Job A – meaning the practice of anesthesiology in general rather than you personally anesthetizing us – that would be awkward at this point 😉

    So we sincerely thank you for being great at both of your jobs!!

  • Great Post Sir.
    I have Job A (I am an architect, I work for a large practice that designs hospitals and Labs) (interesting fact – the annual cost of running a hospital is as much as 1/3 of building one)

    I also have Job B.
    Haven’t earnt a thing as yet (2 months I’m in nov 23)
    Job B fires up my energy so I can do Job A

    Job B gives me not only creative outlet (odd coming from an architect I know) but support and gratitude that is un matched in Job A.

    I spent 6 months preparing for Job B and both the preparation and execution saved me from quitting Job A – in short I couldn’t wirknJob A without Job B.

    Thanks again for What you do on both your jobs but in particular what you do here

    S

    • There is some real synergy between them, despite the vast differences.

      Interesting factoid about the cost of running a hospital — makes sense, but it really puts the cost of a new hospital building in perspective.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Gasem

    Jobses??? We don need no stinkin Jobses! We created wealth till “they” stuck a fork in us and we were done.

    This is another alternative.

  • Boy those jobs sure sound familiar!

    I disagree about the stress level though. I find it far less stressful to go to the ED and treat multiply ill patients at once than try to keep fights between docs and CRNAs from erupting and rapidly escaping from a Facebook Group to where they start doing real economic damage to peoples’ livelihoods.

    Meeting deadlines, covering payroll, preparing ridiculously complex tax returns, keeping dozens of advertisers happy, making sure you’re not taken advantage of in partnerships, all while trying to help others across a dozen different mediums is far more stress inducing in my view than seeing a few patients. The work never sleeps, it stacks up when you go on vacation, and since it is location independent, you can never really get away from it unless you are out of cell phone coverage. I’ve never really experienced physician burnout, but blogger burnout represents a clear and present danger at all times! It is much harder to set boundaries. And once you start employing others, burnout doesn’t just affect you and your family, it can affect dozens of people.

    That said, I think you’re really on to something when you look at the synergy between the two jobs. When you get sick of one, you go to the other. When you get sick of that, you go back to the first. Each makes you better at the other and both are more fun since either one could be considered optional at any given time.

  • When I see doctors who are overworked I wonder how many of us do it ourselves by choice. I was just talking one of our general pediatricians who works in his dad’s practice. His dad is pushing 70 and still works. Clearly doesn’t need to work but loves the work. Many of us are compulsive and driven by nature.

    I feel for the folks who can’t make a living by blogging what about just adapting your job to a better lifestyle. One of our peds anesthesia guys left our hospital (much to my chagrin!) to work at an outpt same day surgery place. No call, no emergencies 9-5.

    Congrats on the blogging success!

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