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The Financial Cost Of A Job Lifestyle

A Steady Job Has Many Hidden Costs Associated With It

What is a Job Lifestyle?… basically a lifestyle that is built around a job. Most of us spend 8 hours working, 8 hours free and 8 hours sleeping. That’s what is ‘advertised’ at least to the average person. The reality is we spend far more time and money keeping our jobs. It’s considered a luxury to have an ‘ideal’ job. An ideal job would be one that you build around your lifestyle and not vice-versa. 

Even if you are at your job from 9am-5pm you are spending far more than 8 hours dedicated to your job. I’m not talking about bringing your work home. I’m not even talking about having to spend a few extra hours at work to finish up. Think more along the lines of your living location, commuting, your vacation timeline etc.

My urgent care shift starts at 1pm and ends at 10pm. I wake up and am already planning my day for the upcoming shift. I prepare my food and try to squeeze in some sort of exercise. I get in the shower and shave etc. I head out on my bike 30-45 minutes before work starts. I arrive 30 minutes early, prep my station, lay out my shit and put my food in the nasty-ass common fridge.

Then when I’m done seeing patients, I am not one to run out the door. I change my clothes to get back on my bike. I clean my station, sometimes wash my food containers, grab scrubs for the next day and finish off any emails or labs that I needed to check off. I may catch up with a few staff or do whatever to wind down a bit.

Once I’m home I need to get out of work-mode, put my things away, shower and eventually get ready for bed. Seriously, add all this up and I’m spending 2-3 hours before and 2-3 hours after a shift to ‘wrap up’ my work-day. So, that’s 5 hours plus 8… that’s 13 hours that I’m spending on my job alone – per day.

Other financial costs to consider is the money we spend on maintaining a certain appearance in order to be presentable to our patients. We live in a specific geographic location to be somewhat close to work. We probably have a car that’s ‘reliable’ for the sake of the job. Getting your hair did and buying nice clothes are all part of this show that we put on for our jobs.

For those with families and significant others you likely arrange your travels around your time off of work so you may not be able to take advantage of cheaper travel arrangements. You will pay for child care and after school programs to keep your child preoccupied while you are at your job. You spend less time working on your house and garden because your mind is too preoccupied with work.Of course your medical license, your time spent reading medical articles, your time and money spent accumulating bullshit CME points – all costs associated with having a job. On the more morbid side you also have health costs associated with the stress of being a doctor. You will eat shitty yet convenient food, exercise less and possibly have weight issues all because your 24-hour-day has been divided into 13 hours of work, 5 hours of you-time and 6 hours of sleep.

I am a zombie after I work a busy shift. I finished a busy one yesterday, way too many patients, 1 doctor called out sick and the staff was all frazzled. I walked home mentally exhausted. I couldn’t think about anything, my body felt tired and I’m sure if I came home to a significant other they wouldn’t want to be around me. That mental toll from a job alone is too high of a price to pay… yet we are brainwashed to think that we need to work a job until age 65, or 59.5 or 55.

Even though you may not be in a position to leave your job at this time perhaps you may be thinking about having your partner start a job. If you don’t have kids then a DINK household will likely make financial sense. However, with kids in the picture the math often favors having a stay-at-home spouse. Childcare, an extra car, extra commuting expenses and extra tax payments generally eat more into the extra income than you think.

So what’s the solution? You don’t need to quit your job. But you need to be aware that your overhead is as high as it is in part due to having a job-lifestyle. That’s why you should tell the financial advisers who tell you that you need 80% of your job-income in retirement to suck it. For most of us in the urgent care setting we should be paying off debt, accumulating wealth and building passive income streams. We can walk away from a job way before we become financially independent. Working locums or per-diem gigs will be much less stressful and have far less costs associated with it – not to mention the flexibility (I really miss my per-diem days).



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