Assistant professor, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.
MEDICAL SCHOOL: Ross University School of Medicine, West Indies
RESIDENCY: Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Conn.
FELLOWSHIP: One-year fellowship in nuclear radiology after general radiology residency
IN PRACTICE SINCE: July 2004
Married with three daughters, including a set of twins. Hobbies include travel, photography, reading, being a tech junkie and studying. Sharma just finished an MBA program and plans to study finance and writing next.
What’s your advice for beginning the physician job search?
- Be as clear as possible in your expectations.
- Make a wish list of what’s important to you. i.e. location, type of work (private vs. academic), money, vacation time.
- Know what your non-negotiable variables are and what you are willing to compromise on. Makes negotiations easier.
- Grade all the places that you interview based on your search criteria.
- Keep on-going communication with each place. Don’t play games. Always send thank-you notes to those who help you along the way.
- What do you wish they had taught in med school?
- How to value your time. It directly affects what salary/benefits you will ask for.
Any other advice?
- Do your best assessment. This isn’t the end all and be all. Most physicians change jobs at least once in their lifetime.
- Unless you already own one, don’t be in a hurry to buy a house if moving to a new place. While it gives you a chance to see your new city, it also keeps your employer on their toes because you’re not “putting your roots down.”
- Enjoy the job-hunting process. It is different than residency/fellowship interviews. Both sides are now “equals.”
- Ask all the questions to the business manager of the group. If there isn’t one, then ask the top two folks directly, and discuss generalities with the most junior member of the group to see if the information is consistent.
- If you really want to negotiate a lot, consider getting a lawyer. The $1,000 to $1,200 you will spend give you a shield in terms of letting your lawyer to ask all the nitty-gritty questions. Make sure the lawyer is in the same state (city is even better) as the group you are negotiating with. The lawyer should have experience in physician contract negotiations.
- Once you land that job, pay off high-interest loans before you buy any fancy toys that you feel “entitled” to. Even physician jobs are not as secure as they used to be. Pay attention to the market.