How to Avoid Getting Entangled in “Golden Handcuffs”

Daniel Paull MD writes why as a physician, avoiding the large purchases can mean keeping your autonomy.

Something that is not taught in residency, but should be: How to avoid golden handcuffs.

Residents are already super busy/tired/stressed etc, and stories tend to stick better than facts, so perhaps the best way of teaching it would be a single cautionary tale lecture repeated yearly.

No one tells residents that getting out of training and signing with the hospital system with the largest guarantee, and then then immediately upgrading cars and buying their forever home is a mistake.

Big mistake.

Compound this with outstanding school debt and you have a forged a perfect pair of golden handcuffs.

What ends up happening is that by making all of these large purchases and signing a non-compete, they have removed all leverage they have in contract negotiations.

When the contract comes up for renewal, the golden handcuffed doctor has almost no choice but to sign it, or turn tail and run somewhere else to put on a different pair of golden handcuffs.

Autonomy and leverage is traded with each large luxury purchase.


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