So far 2008 has been a professional roller-coaster for me. I gave up primary care at my FQHC late in 2007, thinking I'd be helping to lead our grassroots hospitalist program. The program folded, but I'm going to be continuing as a staff physician for the agency who is taking over hospitalist services at our hospital.
The summary of events fails to capture the disappointment, the uncertainty and terror of choosing the wrong job. It's been exhausting and I'm glad its over.
The big change has opened up an opportunity for me to take a Mini-Retirement. I learned this term from Tim Ferriss's book, The 4-Hour Work Week. Usually I don't go in for change-your-life-NOW! books, but since I've had the Amazon Kindle I've been able to read more titles in popular business and what might be called Career 2.0. Most of these books are fairly awful but I'm a big believer in finding wisdom in unexpected places, which is why I was quite delighted to connect with Ferriss's idea of mini-retirements.
The idea here is not to postpone time off until you're fully out of work, but to take longer blocks of time than you usually do for vacation. Work and save until you have some money to live off of, then take off. Ferriss likes to travel during his blocks, and he posts updates on his Twitter feed.
So the Big News: I'm taking a 6-week mini-retirement beginning in October. The change in hospitalist leadership creates a natural break point, and I'm going to take advantage of it. A few hurdles I have to clear first:
- Colleagues asking me to work "just a few days" during the time off.
- Making sure I keep enough money in the bank to ensure cash flow when paychecks won't be rolling in.
- Reassuring everyone I'm not leaving for good.
- Developing a strategy to give the impression I'm out of town, when in fact I'm going to spend most of the time off at home. Otherwise I might give in to the requests in #1.
- Managing my family's expectations. Once you announce you're taking time off, everyone immediately assumes you can come and visit.
I'm really glad I have this opportunity. It would not have been as easy to take such a long block of time off if I were still in primary care, where the model of continuity goes against the idea of a long, restful break. This is a pity because I know a lot of doctors who could use more than a maximum two-week vacation.
What will I be doing during my time off? Stay tuned....