I Can’t Do It Anymore: 3 Reasons Doctors Hate Their Job

I Can’t Do It Anymore: 3 Reasons Doctors Hate Their Job

For the non-medical professional, hearing a doctor say, “I hate being a doctor” on a daily basis would be like Michael Jordan back in the day saying, “I hate being an NBA player.”

It doesn’t make sense, right?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes until we walk in them, too.

I searched the web to find out what other doctors thought about their career path choices.

Here’s what one doctor had to say on Sermo, the online community of more than 270,000 physicians:

I wouldn’t do clinical medicine again, and it has nothing to do with the money. I get too little respect from patients, physician colleagues, and administrators, despite good clinical judgment, hard work, and compassion for my patients. Working up patients in the ER these days involves shotgunning multiple unnecessary tests (everybody gets a CT!) despite the fact that we know they don’t need them, and being aware of the wastefulness of it all really sucks the love out of what you do. I feel like a pawn in a money-making game for hospital administrators. There are so many other ways I could have made my living and been more fulfilled. The sad part is we chose the medical profession because we thought it was worthwhile and noble, but from what I have seen in my short career, it is a charade.”


Here’s another from Reddit:

I have been practicing actively for 10 years. I hate this job and the whole medical field. I never felt as though I belonged. Most of the “successful” doctors in the community are arrogant BS artists who viciously attack other doctors to make themselves look better to administrators.

To be considered good at your job in the healthcare world, you have to work 80 hours a week, take care of inpatients, outpatients, be on call, put up with phone calls and visits to your home. I am done. I have had it up to here, and I am done.

  • I don’t have any clue what to do after this.
  • I have no training for anything else.
  • I’m not qualified to be anything else.

I have been criticized (unfairly) so heavily by other doctors in the community that I know I mentally and physically cannot do this job. I am good at certain aspects of my job, and I enjoy procedures (working with my hands, minor office surgery, etc). I hate people. They all LOVE me because I can listen (basically I have nothing to say to them, and have very little skill at manipulating a social interaction – which is required in my profession).

I am expected to spend the time listening, then relive it all when documenting the visit. My documentation takes twice as long as anyone else. I have anxiety about documenting every detail to prove that what I have done is appropriate.

I dread telling anyone, especially my fiancé and my family. They are constantly saying how they are proud of me for my accomplishments (for what that’s worth), and I dread losing value in their eyes. I have approached the subject of changing professions with friends and family, and I get encouragement (“you are just having a bad day”) and disappointed looks and statements. They say, “We will love you no matter what you do, but you should be strong and keep on trying.”

I have no pride in myself other than their acceptance and pride in my career. If they knew the things I was thinking about doing, they would be shocked, disappointed, and disgusted.

I am clueless and stuck.


I hope and pray that someone, no matter their profession, seek help immediately if they’re having thoughts like this. There’s always a better place in life that you can go that’s a good fit, but you have to find the people who can help get you there. 

Now there were several posts that disliked being a doctor but others that loved it. With any job or career choice, there’s going to be the good and the bad.

That’s life.

As a periodontist, I went through four years of undergrad, four years of dental school, one year of hospital training at the Biloxi, MS VA Hospital and 3 years of a surgical residency at LSU. Geaux Tigers!

I acquired close to $300K in student loans during the process. The problem we ran into was my job offer fell through only two weeks before I completed training and I had no clue how to start a practice (they forget to teach us that even though it’s the MOST important).

For me personally, there was no way I could even consider giving up my career due to the MONEY owed.

I too was stuck….

Doctor Burnout Is On The Rise

Unfortunately, too many doctors are burning out early in their careers.

In a survey of 12,000 physicians, only 6% described their morale as positive.

A 2022 Physician Burnout and Depression Medscape Survey showed that 47% of physicians are burned out.

The following are the top three burnout rates in specialties:

  • emergency medicine (60%)
  • critical care (56%)
  • Ob/Gyn (53%)

Their top 3 reasons were:

  1. Too many “bureaucratic tasks” (records, charting, paperwork, etc.)
  2. Lack of respect from administrators/employers, colleagues, or staff
  3. Too many hours at work

Many are citing that despite the thousands of work hours spent training, it’s the lack of autonomy that’s causing this undue stress.

Doctor Suicide Rate

What’s even worse is the increase in the amount of doctors taking their lives each year.

In the United States, it’s estimated that 300- 400 doctors commit suicide each year (I personally know two).

Those figures equate to a doctor per day – the highest suicide rate of any profession.

Newer research shows that the number of doctor suicides is 28 to 40 per 100,000, which is more than twice the number of the general population (12.3 per 100,000).

Many attribute this to their “greater knowledge of and easier access to lethal means”.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the 24–34 age range (accidents are the first).

In a 2017 study published in Academic Medicine, suicide was the leading cause of death among male resident physicians and the second leading cause of death among all residents.

Look, I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I simply want to point out that:

  • burnout is a REAL issue
  • there are several reasons older and new doctors hate their careers
  • you don’t have to continue saying “I hate being a doctor” to yourself (It’s a BIG world out there!)

Let’s get into the top reasons doctors wish they’d not gotten into medicine/dentistry.

Top 3 Reasons Doctors Hate Their Job

The top 3 reasons why doctors think, “I hate being a doctor” are:

#1. Debt

I completed training two months before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans (where we were living) in 2005. As previously stated, I had close to $300K in student loan debt. We also purchased a home (interest-only because we were broke), and then I lost my job offer. Not fun.

I realize that med school tuition has been climbing each year with no end in sight.

It’s not uncommon to pay between $50,000 to $100,000+ a year.

If medical students decide during their third year they hate it, they’d already be more than $100,000 to $200,000+ in debt not even factoring in living costs and undergraduate student loan debt.

Now I understand that if this person completes training, then typically they can deal with their debt.

But the question remains: Who can leave medicine/dentistry?

Few of us are raised with a silver spoon in our mouths and our parents aren’t in the position to help us dig out of the debt hole.

If we decide to quit during our medical training and go into a different field, as a failed medical/dental student, we’d have a hard time making enough money to pay off the debt already acquired, right?

Leaving school early is a recipe for lifelong financial insecurity.

#2. Income

Unfortunately, doctor’s salaries haven’t kept pace with their expectations.

A family physician back in 1970 was making $185,000 a year (average inflation adjusted) vs making only $161,000 a year in 2015.

Don’t forget that a family doctor now has to see double the number of patients vs the 70’s.

We’re now starting to see an increase in the number of private practice docs moving to a “Concierge” model as most patients are paying more for their care but less of that money is going to the providers.

How about this:

According to a 2002 article in the journal Academic Medicine, the return on educational investment for primary care physicians, adjusted for differences in number of hours worked, is just under $6 per hour, as compared with $11 for lawyers.

#3. Rise of Bureaucracy

I specifically remember my time spent as a VA hospital resident when changes were made to go from paper to electronic records.

For a semi-literate computer person, it didn’t affect me as much as it did those older docs that had been writing notes in charts for years.

This small change began the BIG wave of a lot of people calling it quits, not wanting to continue spending long hours of clinic time documenting care rather than providing patient care.

To them, it wasn’t worth it. Could you blame them?

Studies estimate that doctors spend an hour on average each day and $83,000 a year dealing with the paperwork for insurance companies.

Their office staff spends more than seven hours a day.

Is there any reason why so many physicians view themselves as pawns in a battle between insurers and the government?

The problem is the patients are the ones suffering as it’s the government or private insurance bureaucrats treating them without a medical license.
Instead of the doctor expressing their patient’s diagnosis with words such as heart failure or asthma, they must use a letter-number diagnosis found in the International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) code book if they want to get paid.
This book turns over 1,400 ailments into more than 68,000 codes. Reminds me a bit of our tax code!
My favorite is the code Z63.1 (problem with the in-laws)!
So, instead of a patient expecting their doctor to recommend the correct treatment, in reality, they’ll receive the recommendation that their insurance carrier allows.
It’s no wonder that job satisfaction in the healthcare system is declining!
There are multiple other reasons why doctors sometimes think, “I hate being a doctor.”
But enough with the negativity. Let’s get into what we can do if we’ve ever had thoughts about disliking our career.

Financial Freedom for Doctors

When someone dislikes their career choice but feels stuck, then it’s a recipe for disaster.

If I can show only one doctor thinking, “I hate being a doctor,” that there are options, then I’d find success in helping just that one person.

One such option is financial independence.

If you’re interested in learning more about financial independence and what true wealth-building can do for you, watch this video:

Financial independence (FI) provides freedom for doctors, which is one of the best ways they can prevent burnout syndrome.


Because if it gets to the point where you can’t take it anymore, then you can simply walk away. (I wish I could have had this conversation with my childhood physician friend who took his life five years ago.)

The good thing is a financially free doctor has a choice. 

They can:

  • continue working full-time
  • cut back to part-time work
  • change careers
  • fully retire

To me, that’s true autonomy.

Bottom Line

In life, we can find success if we learn where to find it.

If you’ve ever thought, “I hate being a doctor,” then the time to start is NOW.

Your best course of action is towards financial independence, which just might save you.

Even though you may lack autonomy at work, it doesn’t mean you can’t find it with your personal finances.

Control what’s in your control.

Passive Investors Circle

It’s for this reason that I started the Passive Investors Circle.

This is where you have personal access to what I’m investing in to provide FI for our family.

You’ll also be able to connect directly with me should you have any questions about how we’re investing for our future.

Join the Passive Investors Circle


Why do doctors feel negative about their profession, especially in clinical practice?

Many doctors, especially those in primary care or trauma surgery, express negative feelings towards their profession due to various factors. These include not having enough time to spend with each patient due to a high volume of cases, leading to less time for personal life and increased stress. The administrative burden of tasks like prior authorizations can also detract from the quality of clinical practice. Additionally, dealing with severely sick people, delivering bad news, and the emotional toll of medical problems can lead to burnout. These feelings might be exacerbated by the pressure to maintain high patient satisfaction scores, despite the challenges faced in everyday practice.

How can a primary care physician manage feelings of dissatisfaction or burnout in their medical career?

The first step for a primary care physician experiencing dissatisfaction or burnout is to acknowledge these feelings and understand that they are common among medical professionals. Seeking mental health support, such as through a depression survey or therapy, can be vital. Reevaluating and potentially reducing the number of patients seen each day to ensure enough time for each can improve job satisfaction and patient care quality. Discussing these issues with a trusted family member or colleague can also provide support and perspective. It’s important to balance clinical work with free time to recover from the high demands of the job.

Why do younger doctors often feel disillusioned with the medical field, and what can be done about it?

Younger doctors, fresh from years of medical school, may feel disillusioned for several reasons, including the realization that their day-to-day work involves more bureaucracy and less patient interaction than expected. This disillusionment can be compounded by the realization that insurance company policies and lack of free time often hinder their efforts to do the right thing. To combat these feelings, younger doctors should seek mentorship from more experienced colleagues, focus on the reasons they chose to become a doctor in the first place, and strive for a work-life balance that allows for personal development and enjoyment outside of work. Engaging in continuous education and finding areas within medicine that they are passionate about can also renew their sense of purpose.

What should be considered before deciding to leave medicine due to dissatisfaction?

Before leaving medicine, doctors feeling dissatisfied should consider the root causes of their unhappiness. Is it the pressure from clinical practice, the emotional weight of dealing with sick people, or the frustration with administrative tasks like prior authorizations? Reflecting on whether these issues are temporary or can be addressed through changes in the work environment is crucial. It’s also important to think about the investment made in medical school and training, and whether there are aspects of the job, such as patient interactions or the intellectual challenge, that are still fulfilling. Consulting with a mentor, exploring alternative medical careers, or even taking a sabbatical could provide clarity and a new perspective.

How can primary care doctors improve their work-life balance and overall satisfaction in their profession?

Primary care doctors can improve their work-life balance by setting realistic boundaries between work and personal time, ensuring they have enough time for rest and activities they enjoy. Effective time management and delegation of administrative tasks, when possible, can also help free up time and reduce stress. Additionally, doctors should prioritize their mental and physical health by seeking support when needed and engaging in regular exercise or hobbies. Networking with peers and sharing experiences can provide emotional support and practical advice on handling the pressures of the job. Lastly, continuous learning and professional development can reignite the passion for medicine and provide a sense of accomplishment and growth.