CareerCast.com has come out with a list of the most overrated jobs in America. While a corporate executive was ranked as the most overrated job, surgeons came it at number two. And physicians in general were ranked number three. The company produced this list based on compensation levels, hiring outlook, work environment, stress, and physical demands.
Sure surgeons make the highest salary in this unflattering list but they probably have the highest level of stress and physical and mental demands too. Nothing like a ruptured AAA at 2:00 AM to keep you on your toes and cause your cortisone levels to skyrocket.
We anesthesiologists of course knew that when we decided to go into our field. We saw how the surgeons all looked frazzled and discontented. Any honest surgery attending will tell his medical students and residents about the high levels of stress, lack of sleep, exorbitant medical malpractice insurance premiums, and little to no family life. While the public may be enamored of selfless, heroic surgeons based on Hollywood depictions like Hawkeye Pierce in M.A.S.H. and Richard Kimble in The Fugitive, these are fictional portrayals. The reality is much grimmer for surgeons. Yeah, I loved surgery too as a medical student and resident. I even tried it for a few years. But ultimately, once the haze of chronic exhaustion finally started to dissipate, I saw the light and went into the best field in medicine, Anesthesiology.