How to survive the quarter-life crisis

Some doctors are getting restless. Whether they are part of the young and the restless, the desperados or the old and the grumpy, they are thinking about limited career half-lives or how to help patients in a way other than seeing 20 a day for forty years.

We've all heard about the mid-life crisis. It's that "is this all there is ?" moment. But, did you know that the quarter life crisis, is, according to some experts (particularly those interested in getting you use their products) an epidemic?

But, let's first define the quarter-life crisis quickly in case you're not aware of it. “Many people have heard of the quarter-life crisis, a period of insecurity and doubt surrounding careers, relationships and finances experienced by people in their mid 20s to early 30s "

For most doctors, this is the period when they are just starting their medical careers due to the 12-15 years required to complete premed, medical school and residency. Then, it takes another 5 years in clinical practice to just find the bathroom.

As if becoming secure in medical practice isn't enough, now you have to deal with questionable relationships, a mountain of debt and an iffy career pathway given all the changes in medicine and the lack of corporate loyalty and generational attitudes about job security, the gig economy and work-life balance. Add to that, you are skiing down the happiness curve.

What should you do?

  1. Start building a side gig
  2. Have a financial plan to pay off your debt, save for retirement, live within your means and protect your assets
  3. Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and develop and practice entrepreneurial habits
  4. Expand your networks, particularly with people who are not doctors. Are you Linkedout?
  5. Have a Plan B career option. You probably won't want to pay someone to help you, but find a coach if possible.
  6. Adjust your expectations
  7. Develop resilience in the face of headwinds and PISS on burnout
  8. Find a mentor, sponsor or friend who you can trust
  9. Have a sit down with your spouse or partner
  10. Take advantage of the multiple free resources available
  11. Build your social support network and engage them face to face and online
  12. Get experience doing something other than clinical medicine.

Count on it. There will be days like this.

The bottom line is prepare yourself, your relationships and your career for what lies ahead. Don't die with regrets.

Wouldn't it be great if you had the choice of practicing medicine for free, moving on to something else or being able to be on the 10/20/30 plan ?

Now that the snow is starting to fall, you might also want to buy a new pair of skis.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs