Are You a Short Order Cook?

When I worked in a restaurant, the cooks were the stars. The managers respected them, the waitresses wanted them and they called the shots.

I quickly came to discover, however, that the fame came with a cost. They were always the last ones out. Their day didn’t end until their jobs were complete.

Me? When my shift was done, I was gone. End of story.

Then I became a doctor. And I realized what being a cook was all about.

When you step through the door of your office, are you suddenly going warp speed?

Is your day spend putting out fires and trying to “get ahead,” but never quite seeming to do so?

Then you are a short order cook.

You’re being reactive, not proactive.

The problem? You weren’t selected by your medical school to be reactive. You’re not suited to it by temperament. Or training.

You are on the island of misfit toys—and that’s why you’re not fulfilled.

No change will occur, however, unless you do it.

And that will never happen if you spend your life filling orders or recovering from doing so.

Start by saying no to your employer. Put limits on the number of patients you’re going to see. How much data you’re gong to enter. And on how many meetings you’re going to attend.

Then use the time you free up to live your life. Or to improve your talent stack so you can work in a better job.

Do something. Start somewhere. Start some sort of forward momentum.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

And short-order cooks rarely make real change in those they serve.