The Sunday Best (12/11/2016)

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The Sunday Best is a collection of a handful of posts I share with you each week. With so many informative and inspirational writers out there, I have no trouble coming up with a number of worthwhile reads each week.

Every featured post should be of interest to any physician seeking financial independence. Some will be written by your physician colleagues; others will be written by our friends and patients who share common goals and interests.

Presenting, this week’s Sunday Best:

 

Let’s talk income and taxes. Better yet, let’s have Sam, the Financial Samurai do the talking. Income Types Not Subject To Social Security Tax: Earn More Tax Efficiently!

 

Set For LifeFrom the pages of CNBC, the alliterative Chad Chubb of Wealthkeel says It’s Time to Teach Financial Literacy to Young Doctors. I’m trying to do my part!

 

Spend Less. Numero Uno on The White Coat Investor‘s list of Six Ways to Spend Less Time on Money. Was my original impression off, or have our philosophies become more similar than they were a year ago?

 

Are you fully invested, or do you have money on the sidelines, waiting for the inevitable big drop that’s been rumored to be inevitable the last five years? Or are you all in with Stock Market FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)? Senior Resident explains.

 

In an oldie but goodie, Dr. & Mrs. PIE of Plan Invest Escape share the good, the bad, and no ugly. Ten Things they’ve done well in life, and Ten Things they haven’t. So, twenty things, actually.

 

This post has everything to do with ER patients, and nothing to do with money, but the same could be said for most money “emergencies.” EM physician Julie @ Choose Better Life reminds us — Your Emergency Didn’t Just Happen Today.

 

Flip-Flops. Not just for beaches and Lonely Island videos anymore. Ms. ONL @ Our Next Life talks about their retirement timeline in The Great Flip-Flop // How We’ve Reversed Roles on Our Retirement Timing.

 

Consider Giving. ESI Money explains how and why to give, and why paying taxes doesn’t count.

 

The Minimalist Doctor did some recent giving, donating his time and expertise in a Medical Mission to Haiti – Part I: Lone, Haiti, Nov 21-22.

 

Bah Humbug.

 

Is it the day after the day after Christmas yet? Advent can’t be over soon enough. And not just because I’m excited to see all the little Lego creations my boys pull from their Lego Advent calendars.

I genuinely would like to see the next two-plus weeks fly by.

I’m not usually such a Grinch. Normally, I would be full of Christmas cheer. I like Christmas dinners. I like Christmas parties. I like A Christmas Story. Elf, too. I like Christmas cookies, and the Christmas newsletters and family photos that plaster the refrigerator doors. I like Christmas presents — both giving and receiving. In fact, I don’t just like Christmas. I love it!

This year, I’m working on Christmas. Also the day before and the day after. The other day, I started an 18-day stretch that includes nine 24+ hour calls, a few surgery center shifts, and one all-day ACLS refresher.

I haven’t been at this all that long, but I’ve worked dozens of holiday weekends going back to my medical school days. In the type of places I’ve typically worked, there’s only one anesthesiologist on duty for the whole stretch. The term “long” doesn’t go far enough to describe the drudgery of working a long weekend that all your friends and family are enjoying.

The next couple weeks will be a busy stretch, but I shouldn’t complain, at least not any more than I already have. Rough patches like this tend to balanced by long stretches of light duty. For me, that’s the week after Christmas, which will be filled with sleep, football, homebrew, leftovers, more football, a little college basketball, family time, a rare beer share, hot tubbing, writing, relaxing, and maybe even a little outside time.

Furthermore, I can say with a high level of confidence that this will be the last time I will be stuck working on Christmas. This fact alone should be enough to put a smile on my face when I stroll in to the O.R. on Christmas morning to help fix someone’s broken hip, ankle, wrist, or all of the above. It’s a privilege I may very well never choose to have again on a Christmas day.

What are your holiday plans? Do you look forward to a day when working holidays will be a thing of the past? Or are you already there?

Have a great week!

-Physician on FIRE


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31 comments

  • Sorry to hear you have to work the holiday. Thankfully I’ve never had the type of job where I had to work a major holiday, I’ve stuck largely to jobs where my objectives are measured in months not days. Still working days like birthdays and anniversaries is fairly routine.

    • Yes, our objectives are measured in minutes and sometimes seconds.

      I was called in to place a labor epidural this morning. I don’t think Mom would have been happy if I took days or months to show up!

  • I can empathize PoF. When I was a practicing attorney my schedule was driven 100% by the deadlines set either by the court, the client, or the opposing governmental agency (in my case, the IRS). Judges and the IRS were very good at setting deadlines for large projects right after a big holiday—so they could return from vacation and begin their side of the project at just the right time. One year I had a massive brief in federal court scheduled to be due between Christmas and New Year’s (I think the judge wanted it to get warm sitting on his clerk’s desk for a few days until he returned on January 4); and this was a submission that was to be the culmination of 2+ years of work for a client. That was fun. So I’m very glad to be freed from that bondage right now. Hang in there.

    • Interesting, Joe.

      So you’re telling me that the IRS and other lawyers were acting sneaky and forcing you to work holidays? I can’t imagine such a thing.

      Enjoy your freedom, Joe Freedom!
      -PoF

      • Why PoF, are you intimating that acting sneaky might be a quality that is innate and pervasive to the lawyer community? Without commenting on that thought, I’ll say that this wasn’t that. This practice was more of an unapologetic and overt exhibition of the “it’s good to be the king” mentality.

  • VagabondMD

    I have worked nearly every Christmas for the last 20 years. As the only Jewish person in my group, the schedulers have always thought that since I am not Christian, it must follow that I do not want to be with my family when they are off.

    The fact is that the end of the year has always been quite busy in our practice, so only a few people can be off to take vacation–meaning that I would almost always be working the days before and after Xmas anyway.

    Not having the freedom to be off when I want has been an increasing source of dissatisfaction over time. Last year, when my wife took my kids away for the holidays, I vowed to myself that this would be my last year to be stuck working these last two weeks of the year. Wrong. To add insult to injury, I will miss the Steelers-Ravens game–the horror!

    There is some light at the end of the tunnel. It looks like 2017 will likely bring the half time plan that I was hoping would be implemented sooner. With that, I should finally be able to spend time with the family over the holidays. Hooray!

    Merry Christmas, POF Nation!

    • Well that’s just not fair, Vagabond.

      What about enjoying your kids’ holiday break, or just getting a break when it’s extra busy?

      I look forward to hearing how your half time schedule works out. Sounds wonderful!
      -PoF

  • Nice reading list as always, PoF… A double-shout to the PIEs.

    No work for the Libres these holidays. 🙂 But we always had lots going on over the holidays during our consulting years, with deadline setting that followed a philosophy similar to that described by Joe F, above.

    My best wishes for an easy stretch over the long weekend you’re working. Who knows? Maybe everybody’ll be so overcome with holiday cheer that they’ll forget to break arms and ankles and’ll just clog their arteries instead.

    Thanks for the fun read and happy holidays to y’all!

    • Thank you FL.! We are honored to be in this company. Hope the holiday season brings you much rest, fun family time and good cheer.

      All the best,

      The PIE’s.

    • Well, part of that holiday cheer comes from the Brandified egg nog, which, when combined with icy sidewalks, inevitably leads to broken ankles, wrists, and hips.

      It’s actually been awhile since I worked over Christmas; it’s just my turn in the rotation. It’ll be alright.

      [Holiday] Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Thanks for the share, PoF, and congratulations on the first of many lasts.
    This year it’s the last Christmas. Soon it will be the last overnight call, the last weekend, the last full-time month, the last…
    You’re so close. Best wishes to you during this tough stretch and enjoy your well-deserved R&R soon.

  • Yuck, I’m sorry to hear you have to work on Christmas. Yuck!

    We’re hosting Christmas at our new home this year! We weren’t really able to decorate much; I just used a few free decorations we were given, but it’s a little more festive than usual. 🙂 I bought a ham on sale during a Thanksgiving special and froze it, so we’ll cook that sucker up for Christmas Eve dinner!

  • Dr P

    ‘Tis the season for busy ORs as everyone wants their elective surgery before the end of the year (a smart financial move for those who have met their annual deductible). Hang in there, PoF. It sounds like you have a fun week off to look forward to, along with never having to work on Christmas again. Hard to put a value on that!

  • Great reads once again! I for one am awaiting the return of the PIEs.

    You got me with “It’s a privilege I may very well never choose to have again on a Christmas day.” LOL

    Luckily Christmas falls on a weekend this year and my program coordinator was kind enough to schedule me on research/QI for the last week of 2016 and first week of 2017. So looks like I’ll be able to dodge the reading rooms this holiday season!

    Happy holidays everyone!

  • Appreciate you including my post in this list!

  • Hey Doc,

    Thanks for calling us out in such good company. I hope you battle through the holiday season with work and get enough quality downtime. You deserve it with all the effort you have put into your blog (and of course work! )

    Wishing you and your family a joyous and peaceful holiday season.

    Best,

    The PIE’s.

    • Thanks much, PIEs!

      I’d best not battle too hard, or I’ll leave a swath of broken bones in my wake.

      And they’ll call me in to help fix them.

      Have a great holiday season, and stay safe on the slopes!
      -PoF

  • Plenty of good reads in this one PoF! Some new ones, and some I’ve seen before!

    We’re doing the typical family meetup for Christmas this year — mainly so the grandkids can see their grandparents.

    Just a 3 hour drive, so nothing too serious. The bigger question is: Can we fit everything we need to bring in the car?

  • PoF,

    Good luck with your call and celebrate that it’s likely to be your last Christmas! I’ll be joining you with a Christmas celebration in hospital this year. Luck of the draw has me on call for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and next. I’ll likely be on the next Christmas and New Years as well. I hope you get to spend at least some time with your family this Christmas.

    • Thank you, NwaV. Wow, you really got a raw deal. Are you sure that’s the “luck of the draw” or somebody just hate you?

      We’ve got a couple family gatherings lined up on my weekend off and a post-call day. Also snuck in a neighborhoor party for the same weekend, and the surgery center’s holiday party in January.

      It’s not all lumps of coal around here. I hope the same is true for you!
      -PoF

      • It actually shouldn’t be horrible. I’m just on pager call from home and usually only get called in for a couple of cases. Rare weekends I get a no hitter. It actually is luck of the draw because I cover call two weeks in a row at a time for 50% of the year, so I have a 50% chance of being on call any given weekend.

        • Gotcha. I don’t know how you spend half your life on call. Are you completely off the other half? Or working a day shift most of those weeks?

          At least call is very light duty. In nearly three years in my current job, I don’t think I’ve ever had a 24-hour call without going in for something.

          • Call for me usually means a busier week, working 7a until the work is done, usually around 7p, but on rare days I finish around 5.30 or 6p and I’m occasionally there until midnight. I’m woken up in the middle of the night for emergencies around ten to fifteen times a year on average. Weekends range from the rare no hitter to the usual couple of hours a day to the unusual 12 hour days and, very rarely, the thirty to thirty five hour weekend. When I’m not on call, I’m usually home by 6 pm and have otherwise generous vacation.

            It’s all-in-all a good job, but the stress can sure build up and my pager is not my friend. As with all physician jobs, hospital politics, PQRS and other annoyances make it less enjoyable than it would be otherwise.

  • I don’t envy the on call part of your schedule the next few weeks, but at least yuo’ve got some solid plans for after that shift.

    We’re going to the in-laws for Christmas and it’s only about a 4 hr drive. First year in many that we’re not hosting everyone, so it will be nice to have a “clean” house when we get back. I definitely look forward to times when i won’t be working during the holidays, although that typically isn’t a full-time situation, just on call if you’re drilling a well. The worst yet was drilling a well over the holidays and taling with the drillers from 3:30pm until about 12:30am New Years Eve. They were skittish about drilling ahead, and I had to talk them off the ledge from stopping driling, just about every 45 minutes. It was annoying but turned into a great well!

    Have a happy post-holiday time!

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