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Doctors Are “Sponges?”

I am a doctor. Go ahead, call me what you may. Group me into a neatly, prejudged category: “All you doctors.” Just don’t label me a sponge.

That’s right. Recently in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Andy Kessler, famous author and former hedge fund manager smart enough to turn $100 million into $1 billion, grouped doctors into a sub-category of the service economy which he labeled as “sponges.” We could have done worse: His other categories included “sloppers” (DMV workers), “slimers” (financial planners), and “thieves” (cable companies).

It seems that doctors — along with cosmetologists, lawyers, and real estate brokers — offend him because of the tests and licenses that we deem necessary:

Sponges are those who earned their jobs by passing a test meant to limit supply. According to this newspaper, 23% of U.S. workers now need a state license. The Series 7 exam is required for stock brokers. Cosmetologists, real estate brokers, doctors and lawyers all need government certification. All this does is legally bar others from doing the same job, so existing workers can charge more and sponge off the rest of us.

His essay goes on to argue the tired notion that technology endangers jobs in the service sector — the toll booth operator argument, again. He likes the creators of stuff: Apple and Google. (Duh.) But in my mind, doctoring is about creating something: We create better and longer lives for our patients. Ask the patient cured of cancer how happy they are that some doctor created his or her treatment plan. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

Practicing Medicine: It Pays Well, But How Meaningful Is It?

Doctors are the top six best-paid careers (based on median and top pay), with anesthesiologists being the best-paid, primary care being the sixth-best and nurse anesthetists the seventh best-paid, according to a survey by CNN/Money magazine and But not one of the physician careers landed on the top lists for job growth or quality of life. The title of best job went to software architect and the second-best job went to physician assistant.

Take heart, though. When asked about having the most meaningful work (based on the percentage who think their job makes the world a better place), the top spot went again to anesthesiologists, and second through ninth went to some kind of medical provider or healthcare administrator. Social workers rounded out the tenth spot. (CNN/Money)

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

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