Next year will be a landmark year for America. Since our Great Recession and its far-reaching effects on the economy, housing markets, jobs, relationships, personal savings, spreading wealth, increasing poverty, divided politics and collapsing health care system, America seems to be purging a lot of karma.
Doctors play a huge role, allowing themselves to become puppets pulled by the purse strings of politicians, conglomerates and a divided country gone wild.
As we spin into the New Year, the question on many doctor’s mind is this: “What am I going to do next year?
If anything, this devastating sweep into every aspect of healthcare has finally brought a key issue out into the open. Doctors may at this point be questioning why they went into medical practice in the first place. Sure, we all said during our admissions interview that we wanted to help people. But let’s get real. We wanted the money. We wanted the prestige. We wanted to do what our parents wanted us to do. And so we followed, not really understanding what it was we wanted in the first place.
Recently, I’ve met a lot of women who are twenty to twenty-five years post-corporate career. They’ve decided to go into business for themselves. They’re desperately trying to align with their passions, and if they don’t know what that is, they’re desperately searching. They’re sick of the way things are. They want change. They want to be part of change. Better yet, they’re willing to give up a mad pursuit of what they thought was happiness, but really was emptiness.
For doctors, it seems to be a lot harder. There’s more money at stake. There’s ego and power and a false belief that we have to be there to save the world, or no one will do it. There’s a belief that we have to accept everything our healthcare system demands us to accept, to the point of our own disempowerment and degradation.
Perhaps we believe it’s selfish to consider ourselves and our wants first, to the compromise of our own health and lives. Perhaps it’s the false belief that we’ve invested so much into our careers that we’re too old to change now, and so we just put up with it until the end.
For doctors, it’s the hardest thing in the world to admit that we are indeed human. And second, it’s the hardest thing for us to change.
The first step to change, however, will be to become aware. Part of becoming human again, is to become conscious. And organically, the following questions then emerge.
Who are we? What do we want? What are our real motivations for continuing to work inside corporations or companies who control our lives, and our skills?
We each know the truth. Even if we loathe admitting it, working with companies built upon facades, decrying “We are part of the solution. We are not the problem.” But nevertheless, it’s these same companies which have built up monstrous fortunes upon the degradation of others, contributing to America’s massive wealth gap.
But during these times, we’ve also been paralyzed by our own fears, preferring instead to lie to ourselves that we’re doing just fine. The money is more important right now. We can’t change and make ourselves happy. Our social status and egos must be satiated. When will we be willing to admit the truth to ourselves, as our world implodes?
For 2014, as a fresh new start, I offer these as questions to be asked by each and every practicing physician in America.