There Are a Lot of Things They Didn’t Tell Me When I Signed On: Helping Trainees Land a First Job

  • Curt Tribble, MD Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia


During my training and my early faculty tenure, there was a picture of a dust-caked, grizzled cowboy that hung between the two primary cardiac operating rooms. Beneath the picture was written, “There are a lot of things about this job they didn’t tell me when I signed on.” When we moved into our new hospital, the picture did not resurface. However, I never forgot the lesson conveyed by that picture.
One of the most important obligations faculty members have is to help their trainees find a job. While their trainees have likely had part-time jobs and, of course, they’ve held training positions, they usually have not had a ‘real’ job before. The job that each hopes to land at this point in their lives is vastly different from any that they’ve had before, and the issues that they need to consider are numerous, substantial, and, generally, unfamiliar to them. Therefore, a brief review of some of these considerations may be useful to those giving advice about the post-residency job search. I will not cover one major issue in choosing a ‘first’ job: whether to look at academic jobs, non-academic jobs, or jobs that are hybrids of the two. As most know, in academics it’s dog eat dog, while in non-academic jobs, it’s just the opposite.