life Work

Call Wrap-Up, and a Fantasy Day

February 11, 2020

Call is over! I am very excited. AND, I will present the final tallies:

The Hobonichi: Useful for EVERYTHING

There you go! 55 hours worked, 16 after-hours calls, 1 overnight call on 5 of the 7 nights. I feel like at least some fatigue is warranted.

Sadly, though I’d love to take a celebratory day off, I have a long/busy day today. BUT at least I am very likely to sleep through the night tonight! That makes me happy.

I would give myself a B+ this call week. I was reasonably calm even with a lot going on during some days. I usually started each day with a decent attitude. Notably, I did some thinking about how many years I am willing to take overnight call! My ultimate goal is to be only doing what I WANT to do, with respect to work, by 2040. And Josh too! IE: I want us to be entirely “FI” by that time, and I do have a tentative numerical goal in mind, $$$-wise. I will be 59 and he will be 65 by that point, so this isn’t exactly “FIRE”. And I don’t necessarily plan on “retirement” either — but I do not want to be taking call.

(Yes I know — that is definitely a long way off and SO many things could happen between now and then! Also, I’m not exactly suffering now. From 2020-2040 I will settle for doing what I WANT to do about 80% of the time. That’s probably pretty good for a job that is well-compensated and secure.)

((I do wonder about how much it would cost to “buy out” my call; ie pay someone else to take it. I know there are people who care less about interrupted sleep than I do and maybe some day I could arrange some sort of trade . . . ))

IF I magically had today off, this is what I would do with it:

  • Take kids to school
  • Get a mani/pedi (NOTE: I have not bitten my nails since the start of 2020! I am going to get my February m/p scheduled stat)
  • Do a workout in a studio (maybe I would knock “Try Orange Theory” off my list!)
  • Come home and have a leisurely lunch
  • Read in bed and then fall asleep
  • Get up and work on some fun stuff (blog/pod related)
  • Come join kids and Josh for dinner (on this dream day, he got home at 5:30!)
  • Go to sleep at 8:30

Well, that was a fun fantasy! Next time. Although I DO have a tentative “personal retreat” day scheduled, which is one fo my “20 for 2020” goals! It’s less than a month away and I am already excited!


  • Reply Sarah Sbarra February 11, 2020 at 7:04 am

    I’m a NP in an IM office. I take my call plus the call for one of our physicians ( who is 73 and says I’m done w call after all these years!). I am in 6 person group so on call 1/3 of the days. I’ve been doing the double call for five years. I work 80% but get a little extra for the extra call. That allows me to have a day off during the week with my kids (school age) and due to school schedules it is a mix of time for myself and days off with them on breaks and summer. So this is my long winded way of suggesting maybe your office could work out something non traditional on call!

  • Reply Rachel February 11, 2020 at 8:46 am

    What’s on the agenda for your personal retreat day? Sounds like something I need to do as well!

  • Reply Lisa February 11, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    I loved this series! I’m also a peds endo, working not quite full time (0.8 FTE), with a GME role (fellowship director) and currently on call. So fun to see what your experience looked like for a week! And your fantasy day sounds fabulous. We finish call weeks on Friday at 5 pm so at least I don’t have a full work day the next day! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns February 11, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Call is such a fascinating topic for me because I do not work in the medical industry! I think you handled it really well. Being on call for a week sounds like so much time! I am glad it wasn’t too terrible and you weren’t woken up too many times!

    My husband and I both work for asset management companies so we have had conversations lately about needing to be FI by 2030 when we are both close to 50! My boss’s boss/the person who hired me at my company just got cut a few weeks ago so that prompted a discuss about us getting our affairs in order so that we are very secure and can lose our jobs and be ok taking a big pay cut/being unemployed for awhile. I don’t think either of us wants to RE, plus we need good health insurance since I have RA and my bi-weekly injections are incredibly expensive – like thousands of dollars/injection! We’ll pay off our mortgage this year so that’s a big step towards FI – now we need to start to invest more so we have cash flow from investment income down the road… I think it’s better to set these lofty goals about 2030 or 2040 and figure out how to make them work in the next 10-20 years.

  • Reply Lana February 11, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    I decided to take this Friday off to prepare for a three-day weekend of childcare and home improvement. Thankfully I’m able to do so with relatively short notice (not in medicine, so lots more flexibility). I am going to implement your “Fantasy Day”, probably substituting Orange Theory with a walk/jog plus a yoga class because I’m 21 weeks pregnant.

  • Reply Elisabeth February 11, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Yay! You’re done.

    I think having that long-term goal is so helpful. If I recall correctly, Laura wrote about this concept in Off the Clock? The lawyer (maybe?) who wasn’t thrilled with her position but had a very specific number of days in mind that remained before she could move on from that career trajectory.

    My husband and I talk about this frequently. His job is incredibly demanding and has him doing international travel a lot of the time (40-50%) + long, long work-weeks when home; there are days where I’m so ready to throw in the towel, but we both know this job is 3-5 more years tops because of the nature of the work/next steps. It has a lot of perks, and putting it in perspective of the fact that this won’t last forever, is very, very helpful for me.

  • Reply K February 13, 2020 at 9:27 am

    First time commenter! I have been listening to BOBW and following your blog about a year and love both and I liked this glimpse into call week. I too am an upholder and into planning (not quite your level though!). I’m guessing your dislike of call is the unpredictability of it, given your planner nature? To me it also goes hand in hand with parenting struggles and the unpredictability of children – particularly babies. I read something about how in motherhood we have to be “constantly interruptible” which obviously is in opposition to our tendency to plan out a day and stick to it. I’m a lot better now about being flexible with two young kids but it is still a struggle, esp in the newborn days. Anyway, it made me think about how hard call must be when you also have to be “constantly interruptible”.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 13, 2020 at 11:45 am

      I am SURE that is part of it! It’s hard to time block & plan when you are at the whim of nature (or the pager 🙂 )
      And I am also thankful to be past the newborn phase for that reason – you’re right, there are definitely similarities!

  • Reply Tyra February 14, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    I’ve been really interested in FI recently, but my husband keeps reminding me that most physicians don’t retire early and he has zero plans to do so himself. I would like us to be in a position where he COULD leave work if he wanted (or needed) to, and living well within our means seems worthwhile anyway. He does call 1 out of 4 weeks currently, and I don’t see him giving that up any time soon either…

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 14, 2020 at 6:36 pm

      There’s a huge physician FIRE community online – maybe he’d get inspired 🙂

  • Reply katie February 18, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    I’d love to hear more about what resources you’ve used / read / etc. to help in planning for “FI.” there is also a 6 year age gap between my husband & i, and i certainly don’t want to have to work that whole time after he retires!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 19, 2020 at 4:59 am

      lots of blogs & podcasts – marriage kids & money, Choose FI blog, Physician on FIRE blog, Physician Philosopher (book), lots of playing with calculators. I’m still a total novice and learning more. And I am also definitely not an extreme FIRE type – just hoping for FI by 60 or so, and not necessarily “FIRE”!!

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