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to move away or not to move away


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hey everyone, it's been awhile since I posted .. I've been with the same guy I posted about almost 2 years ago and the relationship's great! the dilemma is whether I should move away this year or not for my job (I'm a surgery resident) .. I must preface that he and I do not have the tools for long distance and it would be a strain for us .. for the backstory (long), I'm going to paste an edited version of what I wrote to my gf .. thanks for your help/advice! I apologize for the length ..


"so as of July 1st i stopped working at the hospital .. it was a difficult decision, taking the yr off, but ultimately i decided to do it only because i needed time for self-care .. i had all these issues that i couldn't take care of when i was so busy in surgery - anxiety/indecisiveness/procrastination due to worsening fear/stress, back pain, etc .. i needed time to take care of myself first, then decide on my future plans (quitting surgery or not) when in a better frame of mind .. i needed to invest in taking care of myself which i felt would pay greater dividends down the line for myself and my patients ..


i started in a great lab at [big institution] with a great PI who insists that i work my ass off this year and try to get into his program's surgery spot if one opens (that's if i decide to stay in surgery)... at the end of the week i started getting emails from one of my chiefs who keeps bugging me about taking call* this year .. i emailed my own PD (who essentially pushed me out of the program for research, without my knowledge at the time, so that he could give my spot to a favored prelim resident) to confirm because he NEVER TOLD ME I HAD TO TAKE CALL, and he said yes that i do have to take call 2 wkends each month for the whole year .. i told him i wouldn't have taken the year off if i knew this, that i made this decision to take time off for my back pain.. he said we'd deal with my back issues each time i throw it out, essentially.


[*call is a 24 hour shift, for me it means seeing a constant stream of patients in the ER as well as operating on emergency cases .. wipes you out each time and takes a day or 2 to recover]


the last research resident never took call (granted he's in another state) but why are we changing the rules again? if i take call 2 wkends each month, i essentially have the same weekend call schedule as the rest of the 3rd yrs, making the whole "time off" not really time off .. i'm still working 12 hours in the lab 5 days a week, including the long commute, in order to produce good research within 1 year .. plus 2 weekends? and 3rd year calls are the worst.


so then over the weekend i had to think about what i'm going to do: 1. stay in [this city] and take call or 2. move to [home where my parents are] this week to avoid this whole call business.

i emailed [big institution in another state where parents are] and they're interested in me in their lab so i know it's a go if i chose it .. but i really wish i didn't have to move - moving is traumatic!


so i wrote down pros and cons (:

Pros of staying:

1. cuts into monotony of research (a stretch)

2. gives me more experience to help me decide if i still want to stay in surgery or leave (although 2yrs is enough experience)

3. i get to stay in a lab i already know/like

4. stay with SO (serious relationship)

5. live in [this great city]

6. brother is also here now for 8 mos and it's great to see him



1. makes me ANGRY (makes taking time off moot, delaying graduation moot, just a waste of time since i already have extensive research experience)

2. makes me STRESSED (having to anticipate call every weekend, stressful while being on call, being post call)

3. even tho PD diminishes the severity of the amt of call i have to take, it's on the WEEKEND, my schedule very well may end up like a 3rd years with the same number of hours worked per wk

4. if i don't have any free time, how will i get my research done in a year, study for [exams i need to take], go to therapy for my anxiety, all the things i planned on doing .. my most important goal for the year off is self-care, to regain my confidence that i once had which helped me achieve all that i have, to resolve the fear/anxiety i developed in med school in order to move forward with happiness/peace/stability

5. would it strain my relationship by staying begrudgingly?



Pros of [back home]:

1. no call --> no anger, no stress?, not having to see one damn face from that hospital for the whole year, having one year TRULY OFF to take care of myself, get my head on straight

2. be with family minus the brother

3. (a huge huge stretch) but distance may make the heart grow fonder for the SO? or if distance breaks the relationship, then we weren't meant to be? (don't necessarily believe that)



1. the lab could be bad? don't know what they're like

2. it could be lonely, i haven't lived [back home] for almost 8 years ..

3. lose connection with SO, lose relationship

4. [current city] >> [back home]

5. i could be really sad with the transition, having to sacrifice my relationship, etc

6. just feel bad about it, the unknown



i feel like both my options now are bad situations so that's why it's hard to choose.

what are your thoughts?"

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thanks for your response! i think it's my well-being vs the relationship rather than the job vs the relationship .. i took the year off from surgery to do research for the time off for self-care rather than the research itself (b/c i already have an extensive research background) .. having to take call throws a wrench into it because i'm essentially working as many hours as i did before, with the added stress of producing in the laboratory + patient care .. a part of me says to suck it up and stay and put in the extra work/time, but then i'd be stressed/have less time for myself to work on important issues - which is the whole reason i took the year off in the first place .. unfortunately my director failed to mention to me about the call when we discussed the year off ..

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Well, most people take time off from the job, not the relationship. But it all depends on whats most important to you and it just doesn't sound like the relationship is. I think deep inside you know what you want to do, so go with your gut. You can't have it all unfortunately so choose whats best for you. Good luck.

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