July 1997

The Meaning of July 1

By Michael J. Katin, MD

For those of us in practice, July 1 had at one point in our careers loomed as the date of embarkation into the real world, when the residencies and fellowships had finally run out and there was no way to avoid the inevitable. Some stay in academia, which may make the transition less traumatic in the short term but with the risk of paying a higher price later in the event of downsizing of the department.

July 1 usually involves relocation, usually with an inappropriately short time frame, and all the usual hassles associated with moving, including changing automobile registrations, getting telephones hooked up, and setting up new bank accounts, usually all completed in about four weeks when you suddenly get the revelation of WHAT THE FREAK WAS I THINKING TAKING THIS STUPID JOB and starting to plot an exit strategy that will avoid making you look like a total jerk for signing up for this turkey. By this time you will have heard from your friends about their jobs, all of which pay at least $50,000 a year more than yours and guarantee they get home by 3 pm each day except, of course, for their research day. These jobs, of course, are now all taken. There will be absolutely certainty that they are filled by people with worse qualifications than you have.

At this point you go through a token effort of looking through the ACR listings at all the same jobs you didn't even bother to apply to last year ("undiscovered rural community" etc.). Eventually, while hoping for nuclear war to end your distess, acceptance and resignation finally arrive, with the realization that this is about as good as it gets and it's time to accept adulthood. Your friends all wind up canned two days before they become eligible for partnership, and the undiscovered rural community happens to be located in a Superfund-designated toxic waste site. Give up.

email: mkatin@radiotherapy.com