A Vocation or a Job?

Paddy Barrett, MD

Written by Paddy Barrett, MD

Q: Recently, I heard a physician speaker claim that the reason he wasn’t burned out was because he looked at being a physician as a job rather than a vocation. His comment created quite a stir among the audience. I must admit, being a physician can often feel like a Job. I try to remind myself why I got into this profession in the first place. What say you?

A: Perceptions do count - especially when they’re our own. Believing that being a physician is a job or a vocation is your call and yours alone to make. However, when we start to dislike our job, that’s not so bad. It’s just a job, right? But what happens when we start to dislike our vocation? The personal costs can often be more severe. So what is being a physician to you? A job, or a vocation? There’s not a right or wrong answer here, but each has its own potential relationship to burnout, and understanding why is key.

Let’s discuss this a bit more in the following tip: