Friday, 21 December 2012

Should You Quit?

Okay, let's get straight to the point, since I'm not good with lengthy opening statements. Plus, no one ever reads them anyway.

Here's the deal. Since I started writing this depressing blog, I received quite a lot of e-mails, comments, messages, and phone calls from fellow housemans, all asking me this question: Should I quit?

Come on guys, I'm a nobody. You shouldn't quit just because some random guy on the internet told you to.
What're you gonna tell your parents?
"Mom, there's this one guy on the internet with a picture of a unicorn as his profile, and he said that I should quit my housemanship."

Listen, I didn't write this blog because I want to encourage HOs to quit. That was never my intention.

I wrote this blog so that I could share with HOs who want to quit and will quit anyway regardless the existence of this blog, that quitting is not the end of the world, and that there are alternatives.

If your heart really wants you to quit, but you're afraid to do so out of fear of job insecurity, parents' objection, financial issues, etc, then this is where I hope my blog would serve its purpose as a platform to share our experiences, our decisions, and our dreams.

But if you wanted to do medicine yet you feel like quitting just because you can't stand the long working hours, the tough job, the scoldings, then no, you shouldn't quit just because of that. Other jobs are tough too. Just because housemanship is shitty, doesn't mean other jobs out there are like a bed of roses. Being an underwriter might not be as shitty as being a HO, but it's still shitty nevertheless.

Final word is, the decision to quit or not to quit, that's all up to you. Ask yourself, why do you want to quit.

Don't quit because you feel that you are not worth it, or you feel you won't be able to make it through, because I have tons of friends who don't know shit during medical school, who can't do anything right, whose voice tremble everytime they try to answer a question, yet they are still doing their housemanship and they're doing great, because they want to become doctors. It is their passion. So if you have the passion for it, go for it.

If you already decided that you want to quit, but you don't know how, and what can you do after you quit, then this is where I hope I can help you guys with whatever bits of experience I have.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Underwriter Q&A

Hi guys,

This post would hopefully address some of the common questions that I get from housemans (in plural form, is it housemans? or housemen?) in regards to what being an underwriter is all about.

Please take note that I'm just entering my second week of training as an underwriter, so I might not be giving you the most accurate description regarding the job as an underwriter. Nevertheless, I'll see what I can do. Here goes.

Question 1: What is an underwriter? Is it like an undertaker? (common lame jokes that I often get, hardy har har)

Answer: No, an underwriter is not an undertaker. There are a few types of underwriting, which includes medical underwriting, financial underwriting, etc. But the one you should be concerned about is medical underwriting since you have a medical education background. Do note that the underwriting categories usually overlaps, so even a medical underwriting case would have some financial aspects that need to be taken care of, although you don't have to worry too much about this.
Underwriting is basically going through a client's personal and medical details, so that you can decide whether you should approve his insurance application, decline it, or perhaps approve it but at a higher premium.

Encik Ali would like to apply for an insurance plan. He filled up a few forms containing his personal info and his health background. He submitted these forms to his agent, and subsequently the case will be passed to you for you to decide whether to approve or decline his application.
So your job is to go through the relevant documents, which includes details of the insurance plan that he is planning to purchase, his health background, his personal details, and so on. A few scenarios are possible:

Scenario A) If his forms are correctly filled, and he has no major medical problems, perhaps just a simple appendicectomy 10 years ago and now he's fully recovered, then you can just approve the application.

Scenario B) Let's say he declares that he has hypertension, then you might want to impose a higher premium for him, since he is at more risk to develop hypertensive complications in the future. It's only fair. You might also want to request for a medical checkup at one of the panel clinics, to see if he already has any complications from hypertension, and how is his current blood pressure control. If a medical checkup seems insufficient, then you can request for a medical report from the doctor who's been attending to him.

Scenario C) Perhaps he might declare that he already has hypertension for 20 years, and that his kidneys are failing, and he is also under cardiology folllow-up for a heart problem. Then in this case, you might want to decline his application altogether since it is very likely that he will make a claim in the near future.

Although it might seem cruel to reject Encik Ali's application, it's what you have to do to keep the company running. If you're going to approve everyone's application and then everyone starts making claims, then who's gonna pay them once the company runs out of money? This is an insurance company mind you, not Bank Negara. Sorry Encik Ali.

Question 2: How much salary should I expect?

Answer: Somewhere between RM2300-3000, depending on the company, and your degree and experience. Experienced underwriters might get around RM3500. This will further increase once you have gained more experience and you gain the authority to handle more complex cases.

Question 3: What's the job like?

Answer: Come to work at 8.30am, switch on your computer, and start doing the cases until you finish at 5.30pm. Expect some back pain at the end of the day. On average you would be handling 20-35 cases per day. At the end of the month, there will be tons of cases, and you might need to stay back until 9 or 10pm. You might need to work on Saturdays as well.  But you can claim your overtime.

My job is a bit different though, since I'm just a part-time underwriter. They hired me because they wanted someone with a medical background to train new underwriters on the medical aspect of underwriting, as well as someone to liaise (that's hard to spell) with the panel clinics. So I'm not doing full-time underwriting.

In terms of working environment, it's awfully silent here. Just the sound of keyboards going 'clack, clack, clack'. It's like being in a library... with keyboards. No one seems to be chatting casually, even during lunch time. But perhaps other companies are different.

Question 4: How do I apply?

Answer: Browse through insurance companies websites, and look under the "Careers" or "Join Us" tab. Sometimes they have an online job application form, but sometimes you have to e-mail them. If you have to e-mail them, provide a nice cover letter.
Other sites: JobStreet, JobsDB, JobsCentral, etc. Just type "underwriter" or "underwriting" in the search box.

Question 5: Wow, thanks for all the info man! Can I treat you to a nice dinner tonight?

Answer: Yes. Yes you can. I'm a bit short on cash. Naah, just kidding. I'll survive.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Looking for a job?

I took up the offer with the insurance company, and I've just handed in my 1-month resignation notice last week. I've asked my current boss, and he said that since I'm leaving, they'll need to recruit someone else to replace me. So to my fellow ex-housemans out there, here's your chance.

If you:
-are still struggling to find a job after quitting housemanship
-love doing sales (most important)
-love to meet new people (doctors, specialists, and clinic managers)
-love challenges
-are greedy
-are able to work as a team, as well as independently
-have a car and are willing to travel
-have the confidence to promote your product and convince doctors to buy them
-are good at doing demos and presentation
-have persuasive powers
-have experience working with a clinical software to manage patients in your hospital
-are good with basic computer skills (Word, Excel and PowerPoint at the very least)
-having a laptop would be an advantage

Then you might be the right person to replace me.
A few things though,
-your salary is lower than a houseman's salary (not including commissions).
-this product is hard to sell. Your competitors are like Toyota; cheap and easy to sell. You are like BMW; premium but expensive, and hard to sell.
-you're expected to go to 30 clinics per week, and close 6-8 deals per month.
-what you're selling is basically a software to manage GPs and Medical Centres, and the software covers both patient management, as well as the administrative tasks such as billing, invoicing, appointments, etc.

If you think you're up for the job, then bookmark this page first.
Don't start e-mailing me yet though. I'll need to confirm with my new sales director if it's okay for me to give you guys his e-mail so that you can send in your resumes to him.
If he gives the green light, then I'll update this post sometime next week.

**Update: The sales director has given me the permission to give you guys his e-mail so that you can send in your resumes to him. Those interested, kindly e-mail me at, and I will pass his e-mail to you. If any of you have gotten the job, then please update me through e-mail or through the comments form below. Good luck guys!

***I heard they already hired a new product specialist to replace me. So I guess the position is closed.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Recently, I've gotten quite a number of phone calls, SMS, and replies in this blog (chewah, dah macam artis popular la pulak..) asking me questions such as "How to quit?", "What if I'm bonded by JPA?", "To whom should I send my resignation letter?", and other similar questions.

I've actually written a blog post on how to quit here: How to Quit?
And questions regarding the JPA bond have already been answered by some of the kind visitors of this blog (many thanks to those who contributed).

But since people keep asking, I'll write a short FAQ here to answer some of the common questions from my dear fellow housemans. I don't know much to be honest, but I'll try to share as much as I can. Please take my words with a pinch of salt, as some of the things I mentioned are just what I heard from my colleagues.

Question 1: How do I quit?

I'll just take a few extracts from my previous blog post. Here are some of the ways that you can use to quit your job:

  1. Submit a 24-hour resignation notice (Notis peletakan jawatan) - the most bad-ass way to quit your job. But then you'll have to pay them one month's worth of your salary, which is around RM4000. And if you do quit, the next time you want to apply to become a houseman again for whatever reason I simply cannot imagine, they will hire you based on a contract basis. Meaning they can send you to wherever they want you to go (anywhere within Malaysia that is, duh), and they can terminate you any time if they're not satisfied with your performance. Don't ask me where to get the resignation form. If your hospital is using a computerized system, then the form might be somewhere in the shared network folders. If not, try asking the admin person who is in charge of the housemans. The form needs to be counter-signed by the Pengarah or Timbalan Pengarah. All you have to do is fill up the form and submit it to the admin. Don't worry about KKM, because the admin will handle that.
  2. Submit a 1-month resignation notice - with this option, you don't have to pay them a month's worth of salary, but then you have to work with them for another 1 month. If you can bear the daily scoldings and humiliations for another month, then this is the suitable choice. The contract basis applies just like option No.1 as well.
  3. Missing in action (Tidak hadir bertugas) - this is my current plan. According to the admin people of my hospital, if you don't show up for work, then they're just gonna stop paying you your salary. When you feel like working again, you can just show up for work, and then they'll start paying you again. You don't have to be rehired on a contract basis. But of course it won't look nice on your work record. And if you do show up for work again, they will have to take some "disciplinary actions" a.k.a tindakan tatatertib. I'm not sure what they exactly meant by "disciplinary actions", but unless your hospital has a medieval-style torture chamber in the basement, it's unlikely to be anything that you should be worried about.
Question 2: What if I'm bonded by JPA?

Okay, first things first, I am not bonded by JPA because I took PTPTN loan. In case of PTPTN, it's really easy, because you're not bonded or tied to any contract. All you have to do is make sure that you pay the monthly installments. And they're not that strict anyway, I've missed a few payments and no one sent me a letter or anything.
But what about JPA? Well, if you took up the JPA scholarship, then it's going to be one of the major factor that's stopping you from quitting your housemanship. Why? Because you're bonded to the government for 10 years if you're a JPA holder. I couldn't be bothered to call up JPA since I never took their scholarship, so I'll just share with you guys some of the things I've heard from colleagues/bloggers/forummers/rumors about the JPA bond:

  1. The fine that you have to pay is not RM250,000 like you might have heard a few years ago. One of my friend quit her housemanship and the fine is only RM160,000. Still a large sum, but much less than RM250,000. A Toyota Camry rather than a BMW 3-Series. But my friend studied locally, so I'm not sure if those who studied abroad have to pay the same amount, since the cost of our local degree is much cheaper than the ones from UK, etc.
  2. I've heard stories that you can pay in installments. I don't think it's true, because so far no one can confirm this, not even my friend who quit her housemanship.
  3. A blogger recently told me in her comment that the 10 year bond doesn't mean that you have to become a doctor for 10 years. It just means that you have to work with the government for 10 years, regardless of your profession. Good news if you don't mind the low salary. Try looking up the SPA website and see what sort of jobs are available for degree holders.
Question 3: What kind of jobs are there for people who quit housemanship like me?

Refer to this blogpost:

There. I've answered some of the common questions to the best of my knowledge. If there is anything that I didn't mention in the post above, then it means that I don't know the answer. As much as I'd like to help my fellow HOs, sometimes I'm just as clueless as you are on certain matters.

Friday, 13 July 2012

New Dilemma

Recently, I got an e-mail from an insurance company, wanting to arrange an interview for the position of a medical underwriter. In the e-mail, they mentioned that the salary would be lower than a houseman's salary, so I think it should be around RM2500-3000. They still haven't called me for the interview, but in the e-mail, it sounds like they're very much interested to hire me. Haha, I'm not boasting or being overconfident here, but that's just what I honestly felt.

Anyway, assuming they are going to call me for the interview, and assuming I'm gonna get the job, I will be faced with two choices. Option A - Stay with my current company. Option B - Take up the new job offer and leave my current company.

As much as I'd like to do an administrative job, the insurance company is offering me a lower salary than my current salary. With my current company, I'm getting RM3500 per month, and that's not including the commissions. But with the insurance company, I'm probably gonna get something between RM2500-3000, and there are no commissions.

And I would feel kinda guilty to leave my current company, after they have trained me and started paying my salary even though I haven't even started selling anything yet. My colleagues are awesome, and my boss is just really really nice. Came in an hour late without any valid reason? He doesn't mind. Want to go back early? He'd say "Yeah, sure. No problem." without even asking why. Went for lunch at 12 noon and came back to office at 2.30pm? No one bothers. Colleague asks you whether picture A or picture B looks nicer for the brochure, pick any without even explaining why, and they'll say "Cool! Thanks for the help bro!"

Either everyone in this company is being ridiculously nice, or perhaps I'm just not used to not being scold every single day since I quit my housemanship.

But honestly, if the insurance company calls me up for an interview, and if I get the job, I'm gonna go with Option B.

**Update: The insurance company just called me up for an interview next week. Woohoo!!

***Another update: Insurance company is offering me RM2700 for the underwriting job. Hmm.. Do you guys think I should take up the offer?

Some info on underwriting:

Friday, 29 June 2012

New daily routine.

So now that I've gotten a new job, I'll give you guys a rough description of my daily routine:

7.30am: Wake up, get ready for work. Things to bring: pendrive, iPad, a pen, and some blank papers.

8.15am: Get into the car, drive to work. Journey takes roughly 45mins, not due to the distance, but mainly because of the morning traffic.

9.00am: Reach office complex, look for parking space.

9.15am: I'm the first person to arrive at the office despite being 15mins late. Okay, I'm actually the second person to arrive. The first is the cleaner lady. She makes good Caffe Latte by the way.

9.15-10am: Boss still not around, check out facebook and surf the net on my iPad.

10am-12pm: Playing around with the medical software, since I'm still in my induction/training period.

12pm-1pm: Lunch hour. But you can go back to the office at 1.30pm and no one's going to mind.

1pm-6pm: Continue playing around with the medical software. Do a bit of preparation for product presentation next week. Occasionally surf the net on iPad. Regular visit to the loo out of boredom. Keep a serious face and pretend to be busy at my desk.

6pm: Time to go back.

6.30-8pm: Take girlfriend out for dinner.

8-12pm: Watch movies on computer, surf net, play video games, continue being unproductive.

12pm-7.30am:  Sleep like a baby.

Basically that's pretty much what I do everyday, since I haven't started selling anything yet. It's not fun, but it's not as busy as my previous routine as a houseman. Oh, and I don't work on weekends.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

New job.

Today is my 3rd day of working with the new company.
The job's not really stressful so far. Mainly because the person in-charge of coordinating new staffs is on leave. He'll be here tomorrow though, so things will get up to speed soon.
During these 3 days I did nothing much. Just looking at brochures of the company, familiarize myself with the software, browsing through the company profile, helping out with presentations and stuff.
It's a 9 to 6 job, with 5 working days per week. So working hours is considerably less compared to that of a houseman.
Everyone in the company is very supportive, they appreciate your ideas and inputs.
And the coffee's good too!
The thing is, I don't know if I have what it takes to do the sales. Partly because I have no experience, and partly because I was never interested in sales anyway. I just needed a job so that I can have the money to survive. Seems like my act during the interview was pretty convincing that they actually decided to hire me. Either that, or they're really short on staffs.
Anyway, I've applied to a few more insurance companies for the position of Medical Underwriter as well as Claims Investigator. A few companies have replied saying that they have received my application, but none has called me up for an interview so far.
Feeling kinda guilty to leave the current company if I got another job offer though. Hopefully they would understand.
I'll keep you guys updated on my progress. Till then!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Good Day for the Blues

Good morning guys! Just a few updates on my progress so far.
So it's already been 16 days since I quit my housemanship.
Only got one confirmed job so far, as a product specialist (which is a nicer name for a salesman) and I need to start working on the 18th of June.
No replies yet from any pharmaceutical companies, despite having sent my applications to every pharmaceutical group I cant think of (Merck, Roche, Novartis, GSK, Pfizer, etc).
But I wasn't really hoping to a land a job as a drug rep anyway.
What would be nice is to get a job as a medical underwriter or claims assessor/investigator with a health/life insurance company, as suggested by cardiprin. I've applied to ING, AXA, Prudential, MISC Zurich, Etiqa, and a few more.
Oh, and my Flexi claim allowance has finally been credited to my bank account. That should help me to survive for a while.
I've got a nice song for the kind of situation I'm in right now. You guys listen to blues?

Ruth Brown - Good Day for the Blues

I got up early this morning
so I can walk the floor
I've got to hit the streets
cause there's a wolf outside my door
the bill collector's calling
and my kids need better shoes
gonna go to church on Sunday
cause I got nothing left to lose
and it's a good day
it's a real good day for the blues

It's raining cats and dogs outside
and I'm looking for a job
the man I worked for laid me off
Lord did I work for him real hard
but I won't let my kids go hungry
no matter what I have to do
and it's a good day
it's a real good day for the blues

Things are getting better
the check is in the mail
I just threw my last dime
in the wishing well
and it's a good day
a real good day for the blues

I got up early this morning
so I can walk the floor
I've got to hit the streets
cause there's a wolf outside my door
gonna go to church on Sunday
Lord I got nothing to lose
and it's a good day
it's a real good day for the blues

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Day 14

Day 14 of quitting. Went to Klinik Kesihatan Bangi for a dental check-up, since I finally have the time to do so. Anyway, things are looking up a bit. Got a call from the company this morning, informing me that I've managed to secure the job. They will e-mail me the letter of employment later. Not a dream job, but not as stressful as doing housemanship. The pay's not bad as well, RM3000 basic + RM500 allowances, and 5% commission from sales (roughly RM500 commission for every successful sale). Sounds pretty good doesn't it?
But I'm waiting for other job offers as well, preferably ones not involving sales. I've applied to a few insurance companies last night, stating my interest to become a medical underwriter or claims investigators. Hoping to hear some good news before I start working with the company on the 18th of June. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Day 8

Day 8 of not working. 8.51 in the morning. On the way to Damansara to send my car for service. Need to fix the brake judder as well. Still don't have a job. Went for an interview last week, but haven't heard anything from the company since. My SHO course is next month. Things are not going so well. Feeling anxious, worried, lonely and sad. But regret? Nope. Not at all. I don't have to wake up feeling depressed every morning anymore. I don't have to worry about the rounds anymore. I don't have to drag my feet to work anymore. I'm free. Fuck yeah!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Just a quick update

Alright, just a quick update in case you guys are wondering what I'm up to.

So, the thing is, I'm still slaving my ass off in the hospital. Why? Because the course that I am applying for is full for the month of April until June. So I can only attend the course in July. What course you're wondering?

Well, it's a Safety and Health Officer (SHO) course, which will qualify me to become a uhh... Safety and Health Officer. Despite having the word 'health' in the title, it actually focuses more on safety. So if I told a worker to stop smoking at the work place, it's not because I'm worried that he will get lung cancer, but it's mainly because I don't want him to burn the whole place down. That sort of thing. Maybe it's not the most exciting job in the world, but it sure is better than being yelled at for no apparent reason every single morning. The pay's not as good as my current pay of course, but it will be enough for me to survive in the city.

Anyway, there are 2 types of SHO courses. Full-time, and part-time. The full-time course is a continuous 22-day course, while the part-time course will be held on weekends, so it will take longer to finish the course, approximately 3-4 months. I'm taking the latter, 'cos I'm planning to work on weekdays, and get a little income. I've applied for various healthcare related jobs through jobstreet, and so far I've managed to get shortlisted as a product specialist for a health informatics company. Product specialist basically means I'm gonna be a salesman. And health informatics is basically the IT system for healthcare centres. The pay's not bad, almost as much as I'm making right now, and might be higher if I'm good at it.

So wish me luck guys! Pray that I get the job!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Daily routine of a houseman

To those who aren't housemans, have you ever wondered what's the daily routine of a houseman like? Well, let me give you an insight into a typical day of a houseman. Medical students pay attention! Cos this will be the shit that you're going to have to put up through every single day for 2 friggin' years once you graduate.

5.30am: Wake up, get ready for work. If you wanna have breakfast, wake up earlier.

6.15am: Leave the house. Reach hospital usually in 15-20mins.

6.30am: Find a parking space, punch in around 6.45am, then go to your respective ward.

6.50am: Check the whiteboard to see the list patients you have been assigned to. Pray hard that you dont get a complicated case.

7.00am: On average, there are about 5 HO and 5 nurses in a ward, but there are only 5 computers. If you're lucky, you can straight away use the computer to see what's the history of the patient. If not, wait for your turn. Print out the history, jot down the trend of the vital signs, laboratory investigations, imaging results, current medications, patient's progress overnight, and latest plan of management. Find patient's medication chart to confirm the list of drugs and current doses, and if there are any procedures planned, make sure the consent form is filled up and signed by the patient. Go to the bedside to check up on your patients, get relevant information and history as required, and do a quick clincical examination. Bear in mind that you don't always get co-operative patients.

7.30am: MO will start their rounds around this time. If you havent finished reviewing your patients by this time, then be prepared for some scolding. Even if you finished reviewing your patients, you're gonna get scolded one way or another, either because you missed some minor details, or forgot to carry out some orders. etc. If the current plan of management is wrong, despite the plan being ordered by another MO, and clearly it's not your fault, you're gonna get scolded anyway.

8.00am: Carry out orders after the MO rounds. Blood taking, insert branula, update patient's bedside folder, order medications, request for imaging procedures, refer cases to other department, etc.

8.45am: Specialist rounds. Present the history, findings on admission, current findings, current issues, latest medication and investigation, vital signs and their trend, and latest plan of management. Get scolded again, and this time by both the specialist and MO.

11.00am: Finished specialist rounds. Carry out new orders. If there are new cases, you need to clerk them.

12.00pm: Finished carrying out the orders. Enter the notes for the morning rounds. Wait for your turn to use the computer again.

12.45pm: Done entering notes. Grab something from cafeteria and have a quick lunch. Sometimes you might finish carrying out the orders and entering notes as late as 2.00pm. By 'sometimes', I mean about 3 to 4 days per week. If you finish lste, then you wont have the time for lunch.

1.45pm: Review patients again and prepare for the afternoon rounds with MO.

2.30pm: Afternoon rounds with MO.

3.30pm: Carry out orders for afternoon rounds. Enter notes for afternoon rounds.

4.00pm: Occasionally specialist will do afternoon rounds as well, usually around this time.

4.30pm: Carry out orders. Enter notes.

5.00pm: Clerk new cases, help others take blood, do procedures, whatever. You can't be seen sitting around doing nothing. If you're a junior, simple procedures might take up to 1 hour. If you're a senior, please guide your juniors.

6.00pm: Pass over case to the evening shift HOs. I usually finish around 6.30pm.

6.30pm: Punch out. Drive back home.

7.00pm onwards: Do whatever you want. Sometimes you need to prepare for seminars and other presentations, sometimes you need to study for your assessment. Some department are using the BD shift system, which means some of you can't go back and have to stay at the hospital until 12 midnight, or come back to work at 11pm and work until 2pm the next day.

So there you go, a brief outline of a houseman's daily routine. There are days you need to work evening or night shifts, so the routine is a bit different. And the shift system will mess up your body's circadian rhythm, so you hardly get any sleep prior to your night shifts.

Common responses you get when you say "I wanna quit!"

Just wanna share some of the common responses that I usually get when I tell people that I wanna quit my housemanship.

"Kau serius ke bro? Jangan la macam ni.. Rilek la dulu. Kalau ade ape-ape hal kita boleh bincang.."

"OMG! Are you serious? You're such a good houseman Danny. I'm sure you can make it through."

"Kau serius ke beb? Kau ok la beb, aku tengok kau buat kerja elok je. Pikir la masak-masak dulu.."

"Setahun je lagi.. Tahan je la.. Rugi you penat-penat belajar 5 tahun.."

"Ok. So what's your plan after this?"

"Kalau quit sekarang nak buat kerja apa? Boleh ka cari kerja lain dengan sijil tu?"

"Aku pun rasa nak quit ar bro. Ape plan kau lepas ni? Kalau ade plan best, bagitau la aku sekali. Boleh aku join."

"Sabar la banyak-banyak.. Tahan je la setahun lagi.. Bukan you sorang je stress.. Semua orang pun stress.. Kerja lain pun stress.."

"So you have finally decided? No matter what you do, we will support you. We wish you all the best."

"You're quitting? Why? Oh, okay.. Just make sure you have a proper plan after you quit. Wish you all the best."

"Sayang la penat-penat you belajar.. Sia-sia je you spent 5 tahun kat medical school.."

"Itu la.. I pun rasa macam nak quit. Tak best la kerja ni.. Tapi kalau I quit I nak buat ape? You nak buat ape?"

"Orang lain semua boleh buat.. You pun mesti boleh buat."

"I suggest you habiskan housemanship you dulu. Lepas tu you nak quit, quit la."

"Aku takde comment. Aku taknak menyokong atau membangkang keputusan kau. Just confirm what you really want, and do it. If you really want to quit and follow your dreams, then so be it. Just make sure you have a proper plan."

I'll add more if I remember any more.

Friday, 23 March 2012

What should I do after I quit?

There are tons of things you can do after you quit. You can do another job, you can take another degree, or you can do both. Just follow your dreams! Be an artist, or a musician, or a racing driver, or Batman, I don't care! Just do what you really want. Cos I believe that if you have the passion for something, then you will definitely succeed in whatever it is that you 're doing. Skills can be acquired through experience. Passion is something that you either have or don't have.

The most common question that pops out whenever someone wants to quit is "What can you do with your MBBS degree if you don't complete your housemanship?"

Can I be a lecturer? - No, most institute require that you have a relevant degree in whatever it is you're teaching. And if you wanna teach in medical school, then most institute require that you have at least 1 year experience of working after getting your permanent license to practice. Which means that you have to finish your housemanship, and be an MO for at least 1 year.

Can I start a business? - Sure you can! You don't need a degree in business or finance just to start a business. If you have enough money to start a business, and you have the passion, then just do it!

Can I be an artist/dancer/policeman/Batman/etc - these sort of jobs doesn't require a degree. It requires passion. You think Picasso have a degree in arts? You think Batman have a degree in crime-fighting? You think Hitler have a degree in world-domination? No they don't. But they like what they're doing, that's why they are able to succeed.

What I'm trying to say is, don't get put off by those who question you on what can you do. Show them what you can do instead. Show them that you're brave enough to follow your dreams and succeed, while they're still stuck with the job they hate every single day.

So what am I going to do? Ideally, I would like to follow my dreams and become an engineer. But I have a girlfriend, and she's already 24 this year, and we've been a couple for more than 4 years. So I can't just take another degree and remain jobless for the next 4 years. I want to marry this girl.

So I'm planning to take a short 1-month course at NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) and become a SHO (Safety and Health Officer). The pay isn't much, but it should be enough. They say starting pay is around RM2-3K for beginners (RM3-5K if you work offshore), not including overtime. And once you've worked for 3 years, you're gonna get a 'green book', which is to certify that you're a competent SHO. Once you get the green book, your salary will increase to RM5-7K (RM12-20K if you're working offshore with an oil & gas company). That's not too bad isn't it? It's not my passion, but at least it's not the job that I hate.

Once I have enough money, I'm gonna start a business. Perhaps a restaurant by the beach. Something like Chili's, but a bit smaller, and it's gonna be al fresco. Man, that'd be nice.

What about you guys? What's your plan?

How to quit?

Now that I have decided to quit, how should I do it? Should I slam the resignation form in front of the Pengarah like a boss and shout "I fucking quit! Fuck yeah!", or should I go through the troublesome process of submitting the 1 month resignation form and then suffer for another 1 month?

Well, I've been asking around, and it seems that there are a few options available for me:

1) Continue my housemanship - as advised by pretty much everyone. Which part of "I want to quit!" do they not understand?

2) Submit a 24-hour resignation notice (Notis peletakan jawatan) - the most bad-ass way to quit your job. But I have to pay them my one month salary, which is around RM3600. And if you do quit, the next time you want to apply to become a houseman again, they will hire you based on a contract basis. Meaning they can send you to wherever they want you to go (anywhere within Malaysia that is, duh), and they can terminate you at any time if they're not satisfied with you.

3) Submit a 1-month resignation notice - you don't have to pay them a month's worth of salary, but then you have to work with them for another 1 month. I can't even bear to see the hospital for just another day, so this option's not for me. The contract basis applies just like option No.2 as well.

4) Unpaid leave (Cuti tanpa gaji) - this was my initial plan, to take a 6 months leave and use that time to get another job. Not that I plan to return to work as a houseman after 6 month, but this option seems to get the least objection from my girlfriend and my parents. Oh yes, I do have a girlfriend, hence the mess I am in now. If I don't have a girlfriend, I would've just quit and take a Degree in Automotive Engineering. Which means another 4 years of studying and not getting paid. I'm planning to marry her in a year or two, so I can't afford to continue studying. I need a job. And I need to pay for my car as well. That's RM800 per month. So I cant afford to be jobless for the next 4 years. Anyway, I was not entitled to get the unpaid leave. I have to work with them for at least a year, and even if I do that, they can only give me a maximum of 30 days of unpaid leave. That sucks.

5) Missing in action (Tidak hadir bertugas) - this is my current plan. According to the admin people, if I don't show up for work, then they're just gonna stop paying me my salary. When I feel like working again, I can just show up for work, and then they'll start paying me again. I don't have to be rehired on a contract basis. But of course it won't look nice on my work record. If I show up for work again (which I will never do), they will take disciplinary actions (most probably just an extension for that current posting, which I'm pretty sure I'm going to get anyways). **Update: Do not choose method 5 if you want to seriously quit for good. They'll send you letters, call you, and stuff.

So there you go, some of the options available if you're planning to quit your housemanship like I do. Feel free to add more info if you have any.

Why quit?

Why quit? It's a noble job. You can now put the title 'Dr.' in front of your name. The pay is good. The job's secure. There are no risks. Everyone respects you.

Well, you see, I never had the intention to become a doctor in the first place. I got 8A1s in my SPM. You know what are the subjects that I didn't get an A1? Bahasa Melayu, Pendidikan Islam, and Biology. Now wasn't that quite obvious that anything related to living things and the human body is not of my interest? I got a freaking A1 for Sejarah, the most boring subject known to mankind (at least to me), but I didn't manage to score in Biology. Now doesn't that show just how much I hate Biology? My real passion is cars, and I wanna do something that's related to the automotive industry (not a car salesman though). So why did I become a HO in the first place?

Well, I got good results in my high school exam, and also in my matriculation college, and I was young and unsure of what to do, and my parents were pushing me to do medicine. And it's not just my parents, everyone else practically had the same thought. They all had the impression that if you have good grades, then you must become a doctor. Other jobs are rubbish. Other jobs will get you nowhere. Other jobs wont make you rich. Other jobs are full of corrupt people. Other jobs you will be treated like shit. Only doctors can get a decent salary. Only doctors have the most noble job in the world. Only doctors are respected.
Those whose parents or siblings are doctors, they will say "Your mom and I are doctors, even your brother is a doctor, therefore you must become a doctor too!"
And those whose family member aren't doctors, they will say "We never had a doctor in our family. Therefore you must become one and make our family proud!".

If you don't take up medicine, then you will be shunned by your family. Your parents, your grandma, your neighbors, your aunt who never gave a shit about you, your cousin who never spoke a word to you, all of them will say "He got such good grades, why didn't he take up medicine? It's such a waste. He's a shame to his family. He's making a mistake. He's gonna regret it. What was he thinking?"

You see what's wrong with people nowadays?

I know it's a bit too late for me, since I already finished medical school, and I've worked as a houseman for 7 months. But it's better late than never. I definitely do not want to spend the rest of my life doing something that I absolutely loathe every single day.

Anyway, you guys might be thinking, why didn't I quit when I was in medical school?
Let me explain. You see, medical school is like a quicksand. From a distance, it looks safe. It looks harmless. You thought "I definitely could make it through even though I'm not really interested to cross that sandy area. What's the worst that could happen? Might as well give it a try."
So you step into the quicksand, and you slowly started sinking. By this time, your thoughts would be something like "Oh dear, this sand is a bit too soft. It's quite difficult to walk in this sand. But I think I can manage."
So you keep on going until the sand is up to your waist, and you're halfway across the quicksand. And now you're thinking "Shit, I'm in deep trouble now. But I've already made it halfway through. No point turning back now. I must go on."
And eventually the sand is up to your neck, by which time you're thinking "Fuck, I'm gonna die. I never should have stepped into the quicksand in the first place. But there's nothing I can do now."
So by the time you realize that you've made the biggest mistake of your life, you're already engulfed by the quicksand.

And it's the same story with everyone around you. Whenever you want to quit, they'll say "Come on, you've just started your first year! You should at least give it a try! You might like it after you get used to it!"
And then "You're already in your second year! Next year will be the clinical years! You cant give up now! Maybe theory isn't your thing, but you might like the clinical years!"
And then "You're halfway through! You can't give up now! You already spent 3 years here. All of those years will be a waste if you quit!"
And then "It's already the final year! You can't quit now! At least finish your exam and get your degree first! You've come this far, you must go on!"
And then "You already got your degree. At least give housemanship a try. Don't just give up. You should at least try first!"
And then "You can't quit your housemanship! At least finish these 2 years and get your full license to practice!"
And then what? "You can't quit now! You've come this far! All of your efforts will go to waste! You already got your full license to practice, so now you must get a Masters degree and specialize in something!"
It's a never ending process. No one will support you when you want to quit. No time seems to be the right time for you to quit. Everyone would just tell you to keep holding on. If I really wanna hear those words, I would've just played Avril Lavigne's "Keep Holding On" repeatedly on my mp3. At least she sounds like an angel.

And here's my favourite part (by 'favourite', I mean the one I hate the most):
"Everyone else can do it, so can you!"
So what? If everyone is a rapist, so I should become one too? Not that I mind, but you get what I mean.

Anyway, I hope that explains why I wanna quit my job now. It might seem too late, it might seem like waste, but it's definitely what I want to do.
I'm not gonna tell you guys the stresses of being a HO that made me wanna quit, cos I'm pretty sure you guys have experienced it yourself. For the HOs at least. And other houseman blogs out there have already elaborated the stresses of being a HO in detail, so look 'em up.

An introduction

Okay, hi. Let me start by introducing myself.

I'm Danny, 24 years old, and I'm currently working as a houseman / house officer (HO) / junior doctor / Pegawai Perubatan Siswazah UD41 (my official job title) in one of the government hospitals in the state of Selangor. Despite the various job titles, they are all just fancy names for a government slave.
7 months into the job, and currently in the Surgical posting, which is my second posting. I was previously in Paediatrics.

So, from the title of the blog itself, you should be able to guess what are my current intentions. Yes, that's right, I wanna quit my housemanship. Why? How? My future plans? I'll explain all of those in other posts later.
Right now, I just wanna tell you guys the reason for me creating this blog. When I decided that I wanna quit my housemanship, I've been searching around the net looking for other career prospects, and what can I do with my MBBS degree. I noticed that there isn't much info as to what I can actually do with my degree without completing my housemanship. There are tons of blogs written by housemans out there, full of rants, but none of them have plans of quitting. And even if they say they wanna quit, they never actually did it. So here I am, filling the need for a houseman blogger who will actually quit his job, and update you guys on whatever happens next. So HOs out there who have plans of quitting, bookmark this page and follow my updates! Not that I'm encouraging you guys to quit, but I'm merely trying to show you guys that quitting housemanship is not the end of everything. It's just the beginning. Whether it's the beginning of your success or your downfall, depends on what you do after you quit. Let's hope my case is the former.

Anyway, as of today, I have officially been missing from work for the past 10 days. Of course I've informed my colleagues and the HO leader so that they could find someone to replace me. They were kind enough to remove my name from the daily roster so that the medical officers (MO) and specialists will not question my whereabouts. I still haven't officially quit my job yet though. There are a few options for me other than submitting a resignation letter, one of which includes being missing in action (MIA) from work. I'll explain all of these later as well.

So stay tuned my fellow HOs!

**To those of you who are not from this country, housemanship is the same as doing your residency. It's a compulsory 2 year service whereby you have to undergo 6 postings which are: Paediatrics, Medical, Surgical, Orthopaedics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Emergency (in some hospitals, the Emergency posting might be replaced with Anaesthesiology).