Monday, March 03, 2008

gas work

So yes, I got a job. I am very, very excited. But let me back up a second.

You recall, surely, that as a fellow, Joe will be on call 24/7 for the duration of the two year fellowship. It is home call, meaning he does not have to be physically in the hospital if he is not needed, but he covers traumas and a bunch of different hospitals, so there is the potential to be called in at any time, and certainly there are going to be nights or weeks that are worse on that front than others. I realized early on that probably the best situation for us would therefore be for me to find a job that did not entail any significant amount of overnight work.

However, that said, not all jobs are created equal. I would say that most jobs out there are the standard, full-time jobs in busy practices, where part of the motivation in hiring someone would be for that new person to at least split the call with the existing members of the groups. Overall, from what I've seen, overnight call in some of these practices (depending on the size of their group) can range anywhere from once a week to once every three days. Then, alternatively, there are certain positions in anesthesia that mostly do "day" work--these being positions at surgicenters or endoscopy centers, but there are downsides to jobs like this, too. From what I hear, some of these types of jobs have sort of a "factory" feel, and with certain types of repetitive, low-acuity cases (endoscopy, eye surgery, etcetera), there is the worry, especially for a young anesthesiologist fresh out of residency, to lose her skills. I didn't want to be in that situation, but I figured that it would be either one situation or the other--stress at home, juggling me and Joe's call schedules, versus possibly finding a job with a more manageable schedule but overall less challenging or fulfilling.

About a week after getting back to New York, I got a call from [Big Academic Hospital] that they would like to offer me a position. Of course, I was ecstatic. They wanted to give me a job! They didn't think I was an idiot! Plus, they even wanted to pay me! In American dollars! It was intoxicating. Then, of course, there was the wording.


IN-CHARGE GUY
We would like to offer you a faculty position.

MICHELLE
Hee hee hee!

IN-CHARGE GUY
What?

MICHELLE
Um, I mean...he will be very pleased. My, uh, dad, I mean.


The academic job is a good job. It's the closest to what I'm used to, and it's obviously a great hospital with great resources. But it is a full call position, which, while I never ruled out, presented some challenges with respect to childcare. We may have had to hire a live-in nanny to be on backup every night I was on call in case Joe got called in as well, and then there's still always be the worry. Joe and I talked about it, and figured that, with some elaborate planning, we could get by, even if I did have to take call. But first, I e-mailed the other places at which I had interviewed to apprise them of the situation. There was a great rustling in the bushes.

Soon after that, I got offered a job at another hospital in the area. It is a private practice job at a very big hospital which does lots of acute care--actually, the first hospital I interviewed. It would be a good job at a very academically structured practice (though not literally academic--I would not be working with residents, for instance), and it would provide the opportunity for a lot of on-the job learning of skills that I would love to refine. The practice is very friendly and very fair, and the hospital itself is top notch and extremely busy. (Particular point of excitement--I have never worked in a hospital with a helipad. This hospital has a helipad.) Finally, and this was the key point--they seemed very responsive to my concerns about juggling my family life with my work life, and though they had not ever had a position like this in the past (so I am told--they usually hire people for the partnership track, which is full call), they offered me a job which is basically Monday through Friday, no nights, no weekends, no holidays. Which would effectively remove almost all the stress related to overnight childcare that Joe and I have been dealing with ever since Cal was born my first year of anesthesia residency.

And I do not need to explain to you that when I saw that our house and the hospital were on the same MARTA line, I could not accept this job fast enough.

So now its settled. I just called [Big Academic Hospital] today to tell them about my decision, and of course they were as nice as anything about it (being from THE SOUTH), but I felt a little guilty. I felt like I was being rude or something. Guess I should take a page out of the book of Michael Corleone. It's business, not personal.

So anyway, that's the big news. This honestly worked out even better than we thought it might--the prospect of having a job where I can do this caliber of anesthesia while actually working hours almost like a normal person was absolutely beyond what I had dared to hope. We are super psyched. And maybe now we can afford to buy some new furniture. Maybe some wicker furniture upon which I can sit, drinking my mint julep.

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