Advice Appreciated : Quarter Life Crisis

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by bainesajay, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. bainesajay macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2003
    Hi All,

    I thought I would try and see to get other advice (especially the one's with more experience) on some issues in my life.

    Background: I am someone who is currently very happily married and living a great life working as a clinical pharmacist (a pharmacist that works on a medical team (doctors,RNs) and improves patient outcomes by optimizing drug therapy). I really like/love my job, I am well respected and many specialists and RNs come to me for help and the patients are the best part. I did an extra year of training to land this job (otherwise I woudl be working in a retail chain or dispensing in some hospital basement). Anyways, this pays well for average standards, but does not really pay what it deserves, as I know much more and do more than your typical pharmacist but get paid the same.

    Situation: I know I will want more in a few years (more than this current job even) as I have come to realise that my potential is a lot greater than what I once thought it was. I was lazy in school and did pharmacy because it was short, a sure bet, but then ended up liking/loving it. I ended realising that if i put a little effort in things, i coudl really be helpful to people.

    Yesterday: I got an e-mail from a friend who said he respected me for my integrity and skill. He offered me a job as a retail pharmacist owner. This would pay about 3x (yes 3 x what i get paid now) but i would have to be an owner/business man and dedicate my career to this for the next 5 years at least. Although this is finacially lucrative to me, it defintely is not as challenging as this job. Moreover you really do not impact patients as much. You are handing out medication and giving general advice. Making sure no one gets hurt. Thats imporatant, but what i do here is way more vital...

    I always secretly wanted to make the shunt and become an internist. This physician who specialises in internal medicine (the department I currently work in as a clinical pharmacist). This would take at leat 8 years @ $25,000 per year minimum. The chances I would even get into the medicine program is slim (as I was lazy in school and lazy in life, this also I think is my strength over typical people in this field - I tend to think solutions and ideas that they could not).

    So this is my problem? Should I take the job because 10 years from now a job is just a job and money is important (kids, houses ect ect) or do I try for something I really really want to do at this older stage in life (I am 26 now)?

    My Values: I know money is important, but it has never dazzled me like it has to others. I prefer to live frugally (never owned a MacBookPro) and with in my means. However, I do realise I will eventually want a house to own and security for my future kids.

    Any advice would be helpful, sorry for the long story, but I felt the info necessary.
  2. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    As someone in mid-life, I have some advice: you are young enough to do what you WANT to do. The recent economic crisis has resulted in the layoff of many people, who, upon reflecting, have gone back to train in something they always wanted to do...and they are cash poorer, but happier.

    26 is not older - you are just now maturing into adulthood cognitively. It is far easier to listen to that inner voice now and make the sacrifices to attain a goal.

    Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life.
  3. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    You don't sound that lazy to me.

    I don't know much about pharmacy, but speaking as someone who has been dispensed medication by a pharacist many times I consider that occupation to be quite important and valued -- at least by myself.

    However, it depends on the person though, I've seen pharmacists who avoid contact with customers who want advice--I don't have much respect for those types.

    Since we are talking about a "Quarter Life Crisis" I'm assuming you're around 25 or so? You still have time to become an internist if you want--which is what it sounds like to me. Don't take the retail job if you don't think you'll be happy. Once you have the kids, money will be more important than it is now and that will affect your decision making.
  4. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    Actually, being able to be happy and spend TIME with them will be more important.
  5. bainesajay thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2003
    Thanks for all the replies. I am 26 years old and if I was to go ahead and be an internsist it be against the following odds/sacrifices

    A) a lesser than average chance of getting in
    B) Graduating and making a income compared to mine at age 34!!!!!

    Maybe I am being ungrateful and not counting my blessings, but I wish I had worked harder in school and applied myself. That way the door to my dream job would not be closed.

    On the flip side, I consulted some collegues of mine and they think I would be crazy not accept partnership into this business. They said work now, retire early, and will not have to worry about "loving your job". Seems sort of callus, but do they have a point?
  6. colinmack macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2006
    The best advice is always to work out what you love doing, and then if you're lucky figure out how to make money doing it. Spending your life happy and passionate about what you do is *way, way, way* more important than money.

    Being unhappy, stressed and rich is a whole lot worse in the long run - sure families and kids cost money, but that should never be the primary driver. People who go that route end up as miserable unhappy a**holes.

    Trust me - find something you love, and if you work hard enough you can probably make just as much money (even it takes a bit longer)...much better off in the long run.
  7. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    As an internist:
    1) We have a national shortage of good primary care internists
    2) Study, take the MCAT, and apply to med school. You will never know until you try. Life experience counts for something these days.
    3) Community retail pharmacists currently are an overworked, unhappy lot who do more clerical chores and rarely have time to interact with patients. The extent of patient education is handing them a preprinted form that summarizes the PDR. You want to hand out medicine, go with the retail pharmacy job. You want to practice medicine and really make a difference, shoot for the stars.
  8. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Exactly- OP, you do not have a crisis here, you have a gift. I suggest you take it and use it.
  9. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    I agree--go to Med School now or you will always regret not going no matter how much money you make being a Pharmacist. The one thing on your side is that you are still young, but wait any longer and Med School will not even be an option.

    Good luck my friend!
  10. bainesajay thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2003
    Wow! Thanks for the words of encouragement. I work with people like you daily (currently as a clinical pharmacist), and they do say similar things. Its that I do not think any school will take in my real life experience and the fact I am really willing to throw away an oppurtunity to make more money if I knew I could get get in! I wish I had done better in school and not slacked off once I got into pharm school....
  11. Leareth macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2004
    Why would you have trouble getting in ?

    Here med schools PREFER older (27+) candidates who have actual life experience not the usual high school > college/university Bachelors > med school with no real life job in between.

    And you be amazed how many med school courses can be challenged and cut down med school time.
  12. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    Take the job for 3x pay, save the extra money and don't splurge, in 5 years do whatever the **** you want. Also what age is a quarter life crisis?
  13. Disc Golfer macrumors 6502a

    Dec 17, 2009
    The age which is a quarter of the age at which a person will die.
  14. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    To the OP, the answer will come as a result of self examination, weighing the pros and cons, along with your responsibilities, against your dreams. I could never give the answer and be confident it would be the right one for you.
  15. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    Sounds like you underestimate what would be involved in setting up as a retail pharmacist owner. Might want to do some work shadowing to see what it involves. Only takes a day of your time - could do on a weekend.

    Maybe you could see it as a route to get you the money needed for becoming an internist? SOunds like that's your passion and desire. Mayber there are other ways to get the position? Doing 5 years to get the money would sure show non-laziness, and drive, and maybe even increase chances of getting a spot.
  16. bainesajay thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2003
    Thanks for the response. To clarify, I have worked here and there in retail, the person offering me the parterneship has witnessed first hand. In my three years as a pharmacist (mainly in internal medicine and some retail), I know the ropes pretty well. I do not mean to knock the work retail pharmacist do; however I can say that when they really do make a difference, they must go above and beyond in there job. No corporation will ever support that (unless it saves money).

    For me personally, I think you guys have helped. You can see it in between the lines. I do really want to be a internist. I know my clinical pharmacy background would be huge. But I do not really think I have a chance in Canada...
  17. bainesajay thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2003
    Which school in particular? This would be great. I really have done some preliminary research and most of these kind of schools are in the Caribbean. I know the man makes the job, but I have friends who have gone to these Caribbean medical schools - they are essentially cash cows (50-75,000 CDN / year) for rich kids who could not make the grade.

    I have been working since I was 15 years old in jobs starting from a stock boy to what I am doing today. I know the value of money, it would really difficult for me to hand it over to these kind of schools.
  18. Iscariot macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2007
    I did the opposite. I had a lucrative career with a four year degree and I changed fields entirely, in favour of a job with worse hours, lower pay, and less security. While it's true that the earning potential for what I'm doing now is there, and I can move towards a comfortable low six-figure income, I'm currently living a lot like a student and the next couple of years are going to be a little bit of a financial squeeze. I do miss things like being able to travel around the continent — I'd like to be able to spend more time with Leekohler and my other friends abroad — and the financial freedom to spend more on toys and entertainment. Although I probably miss my luxurious long hair the most :p

    But I wake up every day and go to a job that I love, a job that's intellectually stimulating, that surrounds me with like-minded individuals and most importantly, I get to help people improve their lives. It's rewarding, immensely satisfying, and not a day goes by that I don't reflect on how much happier I am. As cliché as it sounds, doing what you love is way more important than money.
  19. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Consider an Osteopathic medical school. Most will cost less than the Caribbean option. Moreover, if you want to be an internist, there are so many excellent programs connected to DO feeder schools that you will have no trouble whatsoever.

    I had the same kind of crisis three years ago; I got repeatedly rejected from my dream MD school. It completely destroyed my sense of self worth, for awhile. Everything in my life was hell bent on getting into that school, and I had to eventually realize that no matter what I did, it wasn't going to happen. Ever. Period. Had to move on.

    I did my Masters, did some reading, and decided to try a DO (osteopathic) medical school. I've found my colleagues to be excellent people, I'm having as good a time as I can in medical school, and I am going to have access to excellent training programs, plus I can apply to any MD residency I want to.

    Like you, more than anything I would prefer to be an internist, and work in a smaller town or city and get to make a tangible impact.

    The choice is yours. Money will not, will not, will NOT make you happy...unless the only thing that makes you happy is money. I am up to my eyeballs in debt right now, but I don't really care. The job I will do for the rest of my working life is worth the tradeoff.

    Medical school is no joke, though. Life experience is good, and it really does help, but I don't care how smart you are the process is grueling. I've not met a single doctor who says they would ever do it over again, not for anything. Just something to think about. Anyone can do it, but you have to be damn committed.

    I wish you the best. We need hard working, motivated people to fill the gaps in internal medicine that no one wants to fill.
  20. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Well I would first look at your grades. When you say you didn't do well, what is your science and non-science GPA? Also how long have you been out of school? Some medical schools have a time frame on when core courses should have been completed.

    Just something to look into, as you may have to retake some classes. Could be a good thing to get your GPA up or a bad thing as it would take longer to get into school.

    Thats a tough decision. If you think you will regret not doing it or at least trying, I say go for it. However owning your own business and getting 3x your current pay is nothing to feel bad about either.
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Do you realise that no matter which path you choose, you'll have financial security?

    The only difference will be how much crap you can buy, how large your house is, etc. "Financial security" doesn't necessitate having a truck-load of money, a big house, and a fancy car. It means you don't need to worry.

    Don't worry, you'll probably never have to worry about money, as long as you don't do anything stupid with it. ;)
  22. iOrlando macrumors 68000

    Jul 20, 2008
    i wouldnt go down the route of that $25,000/year for 8 years for some type of schooling.

    you are talented now and go from there. Dont waste 8 more years. Have fun in your 20s and dont wait until your 50s to have fun.

    thats one bad thing about live in squander until you are like 40-45 and then you just blow all your money on useless toys in your 50s.

    I am talking about doctors/doctors like operating doctors in the surgery room, not the revolving ER doctors that are in their late 20s.
  23. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    Wow, tough spot bainesajay. I always try to give advice from the perspective of what I think I would do if I were in your shoes as opposed to just assuming I know what is best for you.

    I once heard it said that "money doesn't buy happiness, but it sure does help". I think that for most people this is true from a security perspective. It's a blessing not to have to worry about how the bills are going to be paid. It's an even greater blessing to have options open to you that you wouldn't have if you were just able to pay the bills alone.

    That being said I think the first question you have to ask yourself is do you want to have a family? The priorities one has as a single twenty something in our society are self centered and usually career focused. I don't mean self centered in a derogatory sense, but simply that when you are on your own than you are all you have to worry about and you are the only decision maker with a limited range factors.

    Being in my early to mid 30's, having been married for almost ten years now, and being the father to two children, I can honestly say I am quite a changed person from who I was in my single days. My priorities are different and I'm not just making decisions for me.

    I'm a professional therapist and like you my passion is helping people. Almost two years ago I got a call out of the blue like you did from a job recruiter with a job offer for a new program in my state. The job would take me away from direct clinical practice, but was a significant raise. I'd still be in mental/behavioral health and have an impact on people's lives, but it would be limited in the direct client contact. I decided to take the offer because it provided better hours for me to spend time with my family and offered greater financial security. Almost a year ago my wife lost her job and she is now a stay at home mom and loving it. Being with our children is what she's always really wanted to do. If I had not taken this job than there is no way we would have been able to make things work on one income.

    Now, of course, in my situation I already had a family and thus those factors were a big part of the decision. But, if I was in your shoes and wanted to have a family in the future, than putting myself in a financial position of security and peace would be very difficult to pass up considering the pros and cons you have laid out in the thread thus far.

    All of that being said, if you don't want to have a family and feel that your mission in life is to serve others in the medical field than by all means go for it. However, knowing the value of a dollar like you do it might be possible to do both. Take the new job for a couple of years to build up a savings that will pay for your medical program. While building up the money take some classes on the side to improve GPA and better prepare you for the challenge of getting into a quality school.

    I have some friends that are pharmacist (in the states) and they make anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 a year. I believe Canadian salaries are similar. Like Abstract pointed out above regardless of the choice you make you have the opportunity for lifetime financial stability. However, I must admit the prospect of making $225,000 to $300,000 a year at age 26 would be very hard for me to pass up, especially if you are going to be your own boss and have the freedom to shape the business according to your own goals.

    Just my disposable thoughts. Best of wishes and keep us informed as to how it goes. :)
  24. ethical macrumors 68000

    Dec 22, 2007
    I've just started med school in the UK and compared to some of the other people in my year you're definitely not too old. I came straight from school so I'm only 18, but a large proportion of people here studied degrees first, or took multiple gap years, so a lot of my friends are 20-22 years old. I think the oldest person on our course is a 32 year old woman with a family.

    Also, life-experience is very valuable. The concepts in medicine aren't difficult to understand, there is just a stupid amount of information you need to remember and be able to pull to the front of your brain when needed, so for that reason med schools (at least in the the UK) look a lot more at the person rather than their exam results.

    As mentioned, whichever route you take you will end up with financial security. If you take the 3x salary you'll get that financial security straight away, but if you take the med school route you'll get that financial security in about 10 or so years. You said your not obsessed with having lots of money, and your passion is to work with and help people.

    If you don't manage to get in then you still have your current qualifications to fall back on. But you may regret it if you don't even try.
  25. MarkCollette macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    Making more money means you personally acquire the capability to help people, without hoping that that desire coincides with your current employer.

Share This Page