Sunday, November 18, 2007
Why Most People Are Not Heart Surgeons
While Oprah gave away some of her favorite things at the Macon City Auditorium on Saturday, we had dinner on Saturday night with some of our favorite people.
Meet the talented, disciplined and patient Brad and Tessa Hobbs (sitting in front of their fireplace with my wife). As part of our church home group for several years, the Hobbs’ became like family to us. As part of our family, we just have a blast when we hang out with them. And we are honored that a young couple like this would want to hang out with old folks like us.
Tess is a kindergarten teacher in the Houston County School system. Brad is a 3rd year medical student at Mercer University School of Medicine. I think you can sense the talent.
They are living mainly on Tess’ income these days because it would be rather difficult for a full-time medical student to hold down a paying job. So they have to count their pennies and live within a very strict budget and hold off on having babies while many of their friends have much more disposable income and have little ones in the oven or in the world. Thus the discipline.
Brad is leaning toward being a cardiothoracic surgeon, which is in simpler terms – a heart surgeon. That means after finishing medical school in 1 ½ years, he will have to complete a general surgery residency that will last at least 5 years and then a cardiothoracic fellowship that will last another 2 to 3 years, according to how many chests he cracks during that fellowship. You can do the math but it will take at least 8 ½ years before Brad reaches his goal. And he really won’t get paid very much in the meantime. I think you are getting a picture of their patience.
Yep as usual there is a lesson here for the rest of us somewhat talented, undisciplined and impatient folks. If you really want to get somewhere in life, you have to be willing to pay the price. And in paying the price it takes a little talent, a lot of discipline and large dose of patience.
Brad’s biggest concern is being able to pay off the debt he is incurring for the expense of medical school. I looked up this morning what the average heart surgeon makes. My mathematical conclusion is that Brad can relax. He will be able to pay off the debt in rather short order.
And whatever they eventually earn, he and Tess will deserve it. They are both sacrificing now. The rewards will come later. This very talented couple understands that really well. But in the microwave mentality ("I want it now") world we live in, most people don’t get that.
I suppose that is why most people are not heart surgeons.