Monday, April 26, 2010

Mama Bean really likes being a Chiropractor. Again.

I've been practicing in my little corner of the Prairie Valley for a year now. On the one hand, I can't believe how quickly it passed. On the other, it feels like a long year, because we packed so much into it, not the least being my pregnancy and the arrival of Bean!

When we arrived here, I wasn't sure I even wanted to be a Chiropractor anymore. We left Cowtown demoralized on many fronts, most of them financial. By the end of our first year of marriage, we were each working 60+ hours/week, myself as a full-time Chiropractor and part-time SBUX barista, Papa Bean as a full-time IT manager and in the tire shop at Wal-mart part-time. We had no weekends, no time off, only one or two evenings a week together, and no time for family or friends. We did this to pay The Bills, in particular the Cowtown-sized mortgage on our so-called starter home, and my considerable student debt, which I sort of jokingly (but mostly seriously) call the second mortgage. (Not meaning to sound too whiny here, we lived quite comfortably in Cowtown, and were happy and in love like proper newlyweds LOL. Just painting a picture of the circumstances...)

Moving two provinces over cut our debt load in half. Our house (and mortgage, and mortgage payments) cost $100000 less. We paid off half my student debt. I transferred with SBUX and PB found low-stress IT work with the school division, and we had evenings and weekends to, like, talk to each other. Buy groceries together. Have a weekend, and a yard. Grow a 1500 square foot vegetable garden. It's not that we wouldn't have been able to do these things in Cowtown, it just would've taken over ten years (conservatively) to get there. Who can say what that would have cost our friendships or family relationships - or our marriage? This is the foundational reason why we love living here.

There is a world of difference between associating in a practice and owning your own. When I graduated, I didn't think I could handle the weight or complexity of being Responsible For Everything - so I assumed associating was the way to go. Well, as Henry Ford said, whether you think you can, or that you can't, you are usually right. Which is to say, I probably couldn't have handled being my own boss right away, and there were a pile of lessons I needed to learn that only the experience of associating would provide, but I do wish it could have been a somewhat less painful learning process.

The responsibility of ownership is heavy, but it is not crushing. Certainly not as crushing as the weight of my Cowtown failures, which made me question my entire career. Really, ownership is freeing. Of course, I was blessed to join the most perfect clinic in the wholeworldever. The woman who founded this clinic twenty-some years ago is pretty much everything I want to be. Plus, she manages most of the nitty-gritty of keeping our doors open, for a measly little fee on my part, which appeals to my laziness and aversion to paperwork.

But here is what I really love: in my clinical decision making, I answer only to myself and my patients. So my decision is based on what I think is best for them. I know this sounds really obvious, and how every healthcare provider should make decisions - I mean, it's not rocket science. But when I was working for someone else, I felt pressured to make decisions that would benefit them as well, and benefit their practice, of which I was merely an employee. And so I compromised - not because they asked me to (in so many words) but because I felt responsible for more than just my patient's well-being, and more than just my well-being, but also for the whole clinic's (financial) well-being. And that is just no way to practice.

The Chiropractic profession is rife with practice management companies offering professional coaching. The Masters Circle bases their coaching on the mantra Be Do Have. Which means Be the person you envision you'd like to Be, Do the things that Being that person entails, and you will Have the things that vision entails. You have to start with Being first. I didn't want to Be the Chiropractor I was in Cowtown anymore. I wanted to be compassionate, and clinically honest, and have work-life balance with my husband and family. So I did what was necessary to work in a practice that allows me to Be That Way. And now I have the family, lifestyle, and career I love. One year down...many more to go!

1 comment:

  1. There's nothing better than doing what you love. Good for you!