Job Security in Personal Statement Taboo?

I posted this in the Non-Trad. SDN and did not get much of reply. I hope better here.

I had some people read my personal statement and an underlying theme has emerged. That theme is why do you REALLY want to become a doctor.

I guess saying that I want to help people is too cliché and I need to get deeper. One of the main reasons (NOT the main reason), in addition to helping people is job security. I had that originally in my personal statement, and I was told to take it out.

I did take it out, and that is where my hole resides.

A little background, I have been a part-time personal fitness trainer for about 15 years. In addition, I have been a volunteer counselor in the ministry field. My fulltime job for the past 20 years has been a computer programmer.

The computer programmer job was not for me. In addition, to the isolation, I have been laid off about five times due to the outsourcing to India (Yes our computer jobs are going overseas). The ministry field and in personal fitness training are not secure jobs either. I have had plenty of friends laid off in those areas as well.

Anyway … I know I want to become a doctor, it combines both counseling and fitness trainer in a job that is SECURE.

I do not have those stories of playing doctor when I was a kid and always wanted to become a doctor, nor did my grandfather die of an incurable disease and I want to discover that cure.

So here is my question. Is there a way to add in such a worded way that one of the many reasons that I want to become a doctor is for job security.

P.S. I am not questioning if I want to become a doctor, I know that is what I want in my heart and in my head.

Thanks in advance for your replies

If you word it carefully then yes I would think you could include it. Maybe focus more on being excited to fill the need for qualified physicians and being ready to take on the responsability of a having a career that is part of meeting basic human needs and not desires. Obviously dont take your cue from my wording but do you understand what I mean? I and probably other OPMers would be happy to read your statement if you would like.

Hi there

of course you want job security. You are about to get in debt and perhaps throw away a nice cozy life. The least you could expect is a return on this investment.

However, in making such a statement, the only issue is that you do not need to be an MD if you want a secure job. So while job security is one of the many perks, I would only briefly mention this but not make it one of the strong reasons for which you pursue an MD.

Of course, I know nothing about med school and the process as I am like you… This is just an opinion (worth little).

It would be nice to be able to put what you really thought / wanted in the PS. Like the doctor that I shadowed said he opened a private practice because he did not enjoy the hospital setting. The only one he wanted to answer to was/is his patients.

He said he enjoys being a doctor and owning his practice. Less bureaucratic mess to deal with compared to a hospital type of setting. Try putting that in your PS statement!

Physician dissatisfaction is high (around 50%): Physicians believe they are overworked and underpaid. The dissatisfaction rate is worse among medical students and residents (just read our board’s posts from medical students and residents). Because of this, medical school admissions committees try to select applicants motivated beyond typical job selection criteria. Following this thinking, admissions committees believe “properly motivated” medical students and residents are more able to complete training and become practicing physicians regardless of how overwhelming training may become and regardless of how lucrative medicine may or may not be in the future whirlwind climate of health care reform.

Good Point. I can see where they are coming from. I will have to dig deeper in writing my personal statement so they can see I really do want to become a doctor.

There are things in Personal Statements that we are and aren’t supposed to talk about. I don’t think that it’s bad to want the job security of being a physician in a high-demand field, and I doubt that ADCOMs would hold that against you. I think the same goes for getting a good paycheck. But we all want get into medicine for a number of reasons- some practical, some not. In your PS, you’re going to need to pare down your motivations to the most important ones. Is job security really up that high?

I used to be a teacher, which today is tumultuous for anyone at the bottom of the totem pole (new teachers get canned first when budgets fail, as happened to me). So believe me, I’m dying for a secure career. And if I’m asked for a short biography, I don’t mind coming out that losing my job as a teacher and not finding a new one made me ask, is this what I really want to do in life? But I imagine if asked why we want to be a doctor with a limited word count, we’ll all have sufficient motivations that we don’t get as far deep in the list as job security. Bringing it up may suggest (rightly or wrongly) there aren’t too many reasons above it in the list.

In some ways, I would consider becoming a doctor effectively my “retirement plan”, in that I will likely be working till I am simply unable to. Getting started late like this, I’ll never really have the opportunity to retire in the traditional sense. I’ll probably just get my loans paid off by the time most people my age are retiring.

That said, I don’t think that I would put anything to that effect into the letter. In some schools, that letter is the only real piece of information your interviewer has about you. I don’t want the interview to turn into a discussion about that. I’d much rather discuss ethical issues, or other motivations…the things that are really emotional to me.

Thomas - it sounds like part of what you are expressing is not only that you have had job fluctuation in your other fields, but that you have not experienced lasting satisfaction in them.

So, is part of what you want to say - that you know that medicine holds a lasting interest for you, and since there will always be a need for physicians, that you can see yourself continuing to be excited practicing this profession for the rest of your life?


I have had the worst time answering the why question in my personal statement. My solution has been to force too many people to read it, and ask them to write their feedback so I don’t get defensive about My Epic Writing™.

If you’re really having a tough time with it, try starting over (I’ve done so twice!). If you drink, have a glass of wine. If not, hot chocolate. Sit in a comfy chair with a notepad and a pen, and write down all the reasons you don’t want to do other things - then compare to being a doctor, what is the positive thing medicine has that other career doesn’t? You’ll find things other than job security pretty quickly.

As long as you focus on positive statements and avoid explicitly stating “job security” you’ll be headed in the right direction.

Then make everyone read it.