The Old Man

Greetings one and all:

Now that I think about it, my profile should be “TheOldMan”.

I will be 45 this year. My background is IT - I am fluent in so many computer languages that it has altered my brain chemistry.

I have made good money in IT. I have a full time job and a few reliable clients on the side. Last year in a crummy economy I cleared a 150 grand.

I have been going through these boom and bust cycles for years now, and I have changed companies 5 times in the last 6 years.

I am facing certain job loss again, primarily because our company is posting a 9.2 billion dollar loss and secondary because I told my boss that his intellect rivals that of a farm animal.

What gets me more than anything is the way we are treating one another these days, and no where is it more acute than Corporate America.

Last year, I teamed up with a doctor, who happans to be a dear friend of mine, to write a mobile application. I took the clinical aspect like a fish. At one point he commented to me “you would make an excellent physician”

Health, fitness and nutrition are real passion of mine - I have a knack for it, and I understand human anatomy, and I understand the impact of chemistry on the human body. Neurotransmitters are also a big interest of mine.

So…I was watching Frontline a while back. The story was on the aging of America. There was a scene…and old gentleman was losing control of his ability to urinate. The revalation to his doctor was so heartfelt, God…I felt I was eavesdropping…but I was also deeply moved. I cared for my grandfather, seeing him through his final days in 2000, he was bound and determined to see the change over…he was a great guy and man do I miss him. Caring for him seemed natural.

I am now seriously considering a move into geriatric medicine.

I will have to take some serious hits financially, including divesting myself of my two homes, and one of them I will take a pretty big loss on, about 150 grand, but I can cover the loss with what I have in the bank, what’s left in my joke of a 401k and some land I have paid off, courtesy of my grandfather.

This is a major surgery here, a major rebuilding of my skillsets and a radical change of my life’s direction…medicine is not the promised land, but it seems brighter than my future in corporate.

I was always a good student, did very well in math and sciences, heck I was comp sci. Learning how to build software was a real challange and I think it can only benefit me, but the biz ain’t what it used to be.

How crazy am I - bring it on!

You have done well for yourself thus far. However, the sacrifice that you would be making to get into medical school should not be taken lightly. It sounds as though you are very self-motivated and an achiever.

I don’t think anything that people want to accomplish should be deamed as “crazy” there will be many sacrifices both financially and personably that you must be willing to make, it sounds in your original post that you are worried about the future earnings you may or may not make in your current field.

I will assume you have figured out your financial situation for making this journey, and if your able to still maintain your 1 home and provide the means that you will need as your completing your goal of becoming a doctor, I say GO FOR IT!

But ultimately all the advice in the world will still only be that, advice. You must decide if your willing to sacrifice to make it. Other than that…More power to you! But again, it comes down to you. You certainly sound as though you have the caring and compassion, the world can always use more of that.

Well Maddux, I am deeply concerned not only for the erosion of stablity in my field, but the stability of the country now. If you don’t have a niche business or professional skill, you are in trouble.

The pace and direction of what I am up against is eating my capital. This has been happening in my field for years, and it isn’t going to change.

I have read just about everything on this site (and what a great site) and there are very bright people here - it is going to be tough to compete at 40. Yes, I agree it is not a decision to made lightly, but I see people losing so much, and now it is happening to me…I’m over 40…I’m too expensive and I am being cut. I am weary of using my intellect to help these billion dollar companies make more money. I am making a move while I still have some leverage. I have a hundred grand in the bank returning 3% at the moment…that’s 250/month gross annual return, (and I get taxed on that)…good lord what am I going to do with 250/month? Pay my cell phone bill…it’s ridiculous. Let me tell you, the cap rates on large blocks of capital won’t be changing anytime soon, if anything, the returns will be worse come the end of the year. These are the types of circumstances that will hammer retired folks, inflation will ravage their investments.

Frankly, making any decision scares the hell of of me, but if I stand still, I’m cooked for sure.

Hi there! Nice to meet you but we already have OldManDave hehe. You may have to fight him for the title.

I wanted to give you a welcome though. There’s been people in their 40’s manage this trek.

I say if it’s what you really want, then go for it.

Welcome! I want to say congratulations to you for thinking about a new career path. While not in IT, I do work in engineering, and I know many of the technical path guys in their 40s and 50s are just waiting to retire. It’s frustrating to hear people gripe day after day, like that job is their only option in life. I know, we all have bills, etc., but you can make excuses or you can make changes.

Also, I am interested in geriatrics and neuro, too. If I had to say what I was going to “be” today, I’d say a neurologist. My interest in medicine started when taking classes from a prof whose research was on stroke patients. I also like working wih older people. I think they’re great. Kids drive me crazy. Who knows - lots can change between now and then (I’m post-bacc), but I just wanted to mention it since I don’t find too many people with those particular shared interests.


Hey, Fluffy,

I began premed in 2004 with a similar age and background to yours. You can do it if you set your mind to it. You may find it quite rewarding and refreshing to get out of the cubicle and stretch your mind with a little physics and organic chemistry.

However I would suggest you make sure you have very clear goals. Medicine is a HUGE project that will suck up all of your time, money, and energy for the next 10 years. You didn’t mention whether you have a family, but they’re a very large factor in this kind of lifestyle change.

I can’t stress it enough, to you and to all others thinking of getting into this field, whether age 25 or 45 or 65: it’s rewarding and exciting and all consuming and you need to be really sure it’s the thing you want to do. Saying you’re sick of corporate America is a good first step, but keep in mind that you don’t get away from politics in medicine; you still have to deal with insurance companies, lawyers, hospital administrators, and above all, patients.

I suggest you do what I did and go volunteer once a week or so at your local hospital, preferably dealing in some capacity with the patients. You may love it, or you may find it tedious, or you may have great days and terrible days. But better to find out now than after you have sunk $200K and several years of your life into it.

Best of luck,

Welcome to the site. I can completely agree with you about being turned off by corporate America. My original path was pre-med to doctor, then things got turned around and I ended up on the paralegal track of an associates degree which was supposed to help me work while I finished my UG then on to law school because I wanted to be a corporate attorney of some type.

I now work for a firm whose work is mostly corporate with the exception of 1 attorney who does wills, estates & trusts if you have more than $3-4 million in assets. I work for 2 attorneys, a corporate bankruptcy & litigation attorney; and the junior partner that I also assist does corporate litigation, employment law & bankruptcy. Day in and out I watch them defend companies that really should just pay the people who are suing them, or they help companies dodge contracts. Honestly sometimes it makes me sick, but this is a means to an end. It pays well and I can work my schedule around school somewhat.

Anyway, welcome to the site and I hope you enjoy the journey!


This is the type of pragmatic advice I want to receive. I think the volunteer work is an excellent suggestion. I am going to start there and a requisite summer course.

Right now the real challenge will be changing my lifestyle. Moving the real estate is easier said than done in this economy, and I am taking a huge loss here and will have to make up the differences to pay off the loss, and that means I have to borrow yet again for school, but I carried large debt before, I can deal with that.

A good friend of mine who is a doctor has pointed out the insurance companies and lawyers add layers of complexity he underestimated…and that does concern me, you hit the nail on the head there. That fear of mistake puts stress on him, he feels it and I see it. He said the patients can be difficult from time to time, but they are his source of satisfaction.

Terry, with your technical background, did you consider radiology?

Interesting question. An engineer friend, when I told him I wanted to go into clinical work, thought I should go into HIS and MUMPS, which is his idea of blending software with medicine. But I didn’t go back to school with the idea of a gentle transition. I wanted a paradigm shift. I want a specialty (probably family practice) which gives me maximum face time with my patients. I’ve had enough of staring at screens!


Radiology has so many systems that are driven by software interfaces - my close physician friend felt my software background could help.

You’re paradigm shift statement is very powerful, and I understand why you made it, because I feel the same way. It is fundamental, I have outgrown it.

Look, for all of you who are reading this who are developers, I am not bashing the profession, and it’s about high time that it be recognized as such. I think people should be licensed to do it. Heck, you need a license to work on cars or run plumbing lines, but the software that runs MRI’s (indeed the hospitals that we all hope to work in one day) can be built by anyone, and corporate America sees it as commodity, something that can be done by the lowest bidder - bad idea. One day, someone will die because of bad software, if it hasn’t happened allready, and there will be a lawsuit and someone like Microsoft/SAP will go down - attorney’s pay attention here, software liability is a growing field. Again, I’m not bashing here, the skill has made me a better thinker, a better student, and a better person. I am blessed that I have the ability to do it, it will only help me as I make this next move in my life.

Your advice regarding the commitment is well heeded. But remaining with software another 10 years will be just about as stressful and the paradigm shift to medicine, and far less rewarding.

I have already got a meeting set up with SLU Med to hammer out the prereqs. Initially, I have the ok to start out with life sciences refresher courses at my local community college, and that starts May 1st. SLU will accept those courses, but NOT advanced life sciences.

Because I have been out 15 years now, my GPA has been marginalized. I have maintained strong relationships with deans & profs all this time, their endorsements will be critical, then the MCAT and then the interview. I will post more as I move through this process, e.g start a my story, something like that. They told me they want to see academic performance once again, so I must carry at least two life science courses per semester and high academic performance is critical.

Terry, you are right, there can be no distractions and this must be taken very seriously once I return to the University level.

I am in similar situation w/ family and same age. I am an engineer with decent salary (Thank GOD still employed). I have taken Physics and Chemistry in post bacc program w/ excellent GPA. I am gripped with the thought of age factor and its impact on adcom. I think people in our age group can be very competitive, however, need to know realistic picture … stats and all. Stay in touch.

Welcome The Old Man…

Today, I had lunch with a recent med school graduate and she was so encouraging. She was a nontraditional student (she’s in her early 30’s). However, she noticed several people in her graduating class that were in their 40’s and one even about 50 or so.

Do not let age stop you. Build your story. Your experience could out shine most and what you are bringing to the class is maturity and stability. You are an asset.

As you build your story through volunteering, networking and excelling in your coursework, your story would unfold and the person you are will out shine your age. That is what I believe.