Hitting a Nerve

How much is enough?


How much do I make compared with other doctors?

I see questions like that on surveys I get, asking me to fill something out on the Internet, then I’ll get back a list of how well other docs in my field/city/state/blood type are doing.

Nah. I’ll pass.

Dr. Allan M. Block, a neurologist is Scottsdale, Ariz.

Dr. Allan M. Block

Realistically, why? So I can feel I’m superior or inferior to others? Isn’t keeping up with the Joneses the purpose of the doctors’ parking lot at the hospital? (Actually, the number of pricey cars there has dropped off over time).

I really don’t want to know how much others make. It’s probably more than what I make, but that’s the trade-off I accepted when I went with a small solo practice instead of a large group 20 years ago.

We become so obsessed with the question of “how much money should I be making?” and comparing it with the salaries of others that we lose track of the real question: “How much money do I need?”

That should be the real number to look at. How much money do I really need to pay for a comfortable home, support my family, pay for my kids’ education, fund my retirement?

Enough should be as good as a feast.

Yet, even when content we get caught in the trap of comparing ourselves with others. This is human nature. We’re programmed to be competitive to survive. Whether that means anything when we don’t have to be hunters and gatherers is irrelevant. It is who we are.

But we’re also intelligent enough to realize that. I for one, don’t want to know, or care, how much money the neurologist down the street is earning. All that matters to me is how much I am earning, and if it supports what I need it to.

To quote Sheryl Crow, “it’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”

So I’ll skip the comparisons and focus on the only people that really matter to me.

Dr. Block has a solo neurology practice in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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