You Are What You Decide

How to make better decisions.

Balancing Love and Career

A happiness lesson from one of the legends.


All your life you have been a brilliant student, and at the age of 25, you have acquired what every parent wants for their son: a medical degree. You have spent over a year doing research, and have just published a paper which establishes your reputation as a researcher. Your scientific future looks bright. Unfortunately, your financial future looks a little shaky, because even though your research is fascinating, it doesn't pay so well. On your own, you might well consider toughing it out, but you are hoping not to be on your own for too much longer, because you have just fallen in love, and want to get married and raise a family. Your thesis adviser thinks you should consider a career as a practicing physician, as the outlook for doing research is, at least from a financial standpoint, not especially good. Should you

A - Take his advice and become a practicing physician so that you can marry and raise a family?

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OR

B - Hang on to your research position on the chance that things may get better?

OR

C - Try to find a part-time job as well, so that you can supplement your income from your research position?


Make your decision, then scroll down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A - Take his advice and become a practicing physician so that you can marry and raise a family?

5 points - Your payoffs are computed from two differing areas, financial reward and job satisfaction. This option might enable you to have your cake and eat it, too. If you decide to become a practicing physician, you may find that your patients' problems lead you to an interesting area of research, and this would satisfy both your financial and intellectual needs.

B - Hang on to your research position on the chance that things may get better?

-1 point - Your adviser knows the job market. If he says things look poor financially, he is telling it like it is. If you adopt this action, you may find that your inability to support a family will cause the girl you love to look elsewhere.

C - Try to find a part-time job as well, so that you can supplement your income from your research position?

1 point - This is attempting to increase your financial payoffs, which is certainly a good move. However, there is a distinct possibility that the extra time you spend trying to increase your financial payoffs may reduce your romantic and family payoffs in the process. Time is similar to money - if there are no obvious defects that you simply must repair, you want to invest it to maximize your overall payoffs.

Maybe you've heard of this guy. Sigmund Freud realized that becoming a practicing physician might satisfy both financial and intellectual demands, so he hung out his shingle as a specialist in nervous diseases. His marriage to Martha Bernays was long and happy, and his experiences with his patients led him to develop the theory of psychoanalysis.

 

James Stein, Ph.D. is an author, but hanging on to the day job (math professor) in a trying economy.

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