10 Things to Know Before You Start Your First Job


I was asked to speak at the monthly Texas Children’s Hospital Department of Surgery fellows’ conference this week. The surgery fellows at TCH have finished their training in Anesthesiology, Cardiac Surgery, General Surgery, Gynecology, Plastic Surgery, Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Neurosurgery or Urology, and are now doing one to two more years specializing in the care of children.  At a minimum, they are in their 5th or 6th year of postgraduate training.  Because of the length of some of the programs (and extra research experience) some of them are in their 9th or 10th year of postgraduate training.   They are an amazing group of surgeons at an exciting time in their careers.  Picking a topic wasn’t easy.

After thinking about it, I decided to put together a talk on the 10 things I wish someone had told me before I started my first job as an attending.  There are potentially more, but here is what I came up with as a place to start:

  1. Your idea of “success” will change during your career.
  2. Time management starts with knowing what’s coming
  3. Pay yourself first
  4. Learn from every patient
  5. Join and be active in professional organizations
  6. Meet regularly with (many) mentors
  7. Be positive
  8. Do what’s right for the patient.
  9. Look cool doing it.
  10. Don’t hurt anything that has a name.

As we discussed these topics, I realized that some of these ideas would also be of interest to medical students, other residents and physicians early in their practice.  So, I’ve decided to take these on as a series of posts.  More to follow!

Texas Children’s Hospital