Saturday, March 12, 2011

Kindle Lovin', Contract Hatin' kind of woman

Yes, it's yet another I-heart-technology post.  Because....

I LOVE MY KINDLE!!!!!  <3  <3  <3

It's white and pretty and super duper lightweight.  I think I need to invest in a shield or cover of some sort, because I'm really planning to use the crap out of this thing.  I've been blowing through Pride and Prejudice, which is a novel that I still have trouble reading the second time around, but have no issue listening to and laughing with in the car.  I decided to get back into my medical leisure reading, so I downloaded "Walk on Water" and I'm trying to figure out how to get "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" in an electronic version.  I also want to get some review books on there, in the vain attempt to get myself to read more on surgery when I have the spare time.

In other news, I had a relatively tiring call followed by a tortuous Friday conference, but I really woke up when we received a lecture on negotiating contracts for your first job as an attending.  I know that contract clauses is kindergarten stuff to some people, but I have to say, they do NOT teach you this stuff in med school, and they should.  It is shocking to discover that someone can tell you that you're not allowed to work within a radius of their practice if you wind up getting fired from there.  I couldn't believe that there are doctors out there who will promise you a partnership or ownership in their practice if you last a few years with them, but then will back out when you ask them to put that in writing.  Apparently, they can do things like fire you without cause, keep you from giving your phone number to patients when you're leaving, make you use vacation time for continuing medical education events + travel, not guarantee medical leave for pregnancy, force you to work all the weekends and holidays without fair distribution, make you a partner but not give equal rights and vote in business decisions, and even tell you that you'll work in one office and mandate you to go to a different office miles away.

The whole thing seemed so sketchy, and a little isolating because I realized that the only person who will look out for me in this process is me.  And maybe my lawyer, obviously.  But aren't there any decent doctors doing decent business out there?  These people were all once residents too - where's the nostalgia, the camaraderie, the sense of fair play?  Why do I feel like, just as I will have worked hard for five years to prove myself worthy, I will have to go back to playing in the dirt?  WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG???  It's a little frustrating, and disheartening, to hear that you could work so hard and still only get offered bad deals hidden by a good name.  I mean, it was great that I heard all about this from a lawyer who was also a good teacher, because now that I know this stuff, I can make proper decisions.  I can be empowered  and actually negotiate my salary and contract terms, and not become yet another woman who is smart and clever and talented and still gets paid less than men who aren't as good.  Having this information puts me in the driver's seat, and that's a positive move in the right direction.

But I feel distasteful about it.  It just means that, yet again, I can't trust people as much as I'd like to.  


  1. I hear you on the "They should teach this in medical school". They so should.

  2. If you need a good lawyer, I know a bunch. They're kinda expensive, but you'll get the royal treatment. :)