Saturday, November 23, 2013

Outsource and Make Residency Easier!

I happened to come across this article in the NYTimesthanks to one of my co-residents. The author argues (pretty convincingly) that you should outsource certain lower value services (ie cooking, cleaning, laundering), even if you can perform them these takes more efficiently. This is all based on the economic notion of comparative advantage, a principle which should be applied to individuals, not just large corporations.

 The author makes a great analogy to student loans, where you are essentially making an investment in your future. Similarly, the 1 or 2 hours you might need to clean your house might be worth paying for, if you can productively use that time to work on something that advances your career (because we all know there's no shortage of abstracts/paper writing/studying that needs to be done). Even if hiring someone buys you an hour or two of leisure time, that might translate to increased productivity when you go back to work - in essence, something worth investing in.

 Only now - three years into residency training - am I finally beginning to understand this! I wish I had understood it earlier. We've started with hiring someone to help with cleaning, but we're certainly not at the personal chef level yet (might need an attending salary for that one...).

 I have a feeling this is something that a lot of medical students, residents, and fellows struggle with. It's really hard to justify paying someone to do household chores when you feel that you either have no/not enough income, plus or minus student loans. But, check out this article - it might just change how you look a things...

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