For an audio version of this post, please click on the speaker icon (top left).
For those who have been following my most recent burnout story that started at the end of 2020, I had mentioned that having financial independence actually magnified the effects of burnout on me.
It was a strange/unusual take because the majority of individuals who have reached financial independence often say the exact opposite, as they are able to tailor work to reduce the clinical aspects they do not like.
So what gives?
Well as I tried to explain, the fact that I was financially independent really made the situation more unbearable because I had to constantly deal with the thoughts in the back of my mind of why don’t I just quit and pack up shop.
In my grand scheme of things, this was not quite the road I had planned to take at this stage of life, hence the emotional struggle, which made the burnout situation all the worse.
I actually think one becomes less tolerant of minor annoyances when money is not as strong a driving force as it used to be.
As mentioned in the previous post, what was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back was that the 3rd radiologist we had anticipated adding in May 2021 (because of a 6 month notice to leave requirement) at the last minute decided not to take our offer and stay at his current location.
Seeing that glimmer of hope vanish, as well as the current radiologist covering our day off each week announcing his full retirement at the end of April, made the future look very bleak indeed.
After my sit down with the board president expressing my frustrations and the possibility that I would not be able to work here much longer at this pace, a chain of events was set in motion that truly was quite remarkable.
Within a week of the meeting, the president-elect of the board came to my office and said this was a priority at the board level to help alleviate the situation for me.
I mentioned to him that I was quite crestfallen that the potential 3rd radiologist ended up staying at his current place of employment.
Both my partner and I had worked with him years before when he rotated through to help provide coverage for days off (prior to the current situation) and knew he would be a good fit.
And this is where some outside of the box thinking occurred.
The president elect said “What if we make him an offer he can not refuse?” which immediately conjured up images of the Godfather for me.
My curiosity piqued, I asked him to elaborate.
He asked what if we offer him a guaranteed salary substantially more than what he originally asked for in the first negotiations.
This proposition came with a string attached.
In order for my group to feel comfortable with raising the salary offer ante, the board wanted to ensure that the imaging volume we were expecting could actually support it.
They asked if I was willing to actually reduce my clinical days from 4 days a week to 3 days a week.
It was pretty much exactly what I wanted to do at this stage of my career: reduce my clinical hours and sort of start on a glide path to full retirement.
Trying to contain my excitement, I gave the board the green light.
I am quite fortunate that the financial impact of going from working 4 days a week to 3 days a week will be minimal to my overall household finances.
I already experienced a 60% reduction in my salary from the board mandate during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown when study volumes decreased so dramatically that my partner and I ended up placing ourselves on self-furloughs.
I do not anticipate losing income from this extra day off to approach this previous reduction in cashflow, which provides me with a certain comfort level.
With my blessing the board therefore sent out an unsolicited contract offer with higher guaranteed salary to our desired radiologist partner.
And drum roll….
We received the signed contract back and he informed his current position that he is requesting leave.
It actually came as quite a shock because the reasons why he originally chose to stay put remained (hassle of moving, needing to sell his house, schooling for kids, etc).
But the increased salary offer really was too good an offer to pass up and I guess it more than compensated for the factors that were making him stay there.
Of course because of his stipulated 6 month notice to end work there, the earliest he can start working in my group will be the first week of August.
This of course means that there will be several months (May-July) that my partner and I will have to work without any coverage relief.
But I still am elated because there is relief in sight
Although there can be some unexpected negative shade thrown your way by “colleagues” if you began to reveal the fact that you are burning out at work, I think it is still vital to let people know rather than bottle it up.
In this case, it was indeed heartwarming to see how my situation became a high board priority and just how quickly the board sprung into action to help correct the situation as fast as possible.
The passive income streams that took several years to create, and a lot of sacrifice, have now repaid that effort in spades by picking up the slack created with my reduced clinical time.
I know a few examples of colleagues going down to a 3 day work week that have stated it was the best thing they have ever done for their mental/emotional health and that their careers were prolonged because of it.
I hope I can add my name to the fold.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
NOTE: The website XRAYVSN contains affiliate links and thus receives compensation whenever a purchase through these links is made (at no further cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Although these proceeds help keep this site going they do not have any bearing on the reviews of any products I endorse which are from my own honest experiences. Thank you- XRAYVSN