When did you tell you boss...

you wanted to go to med school? I haven’t said anything to my boss, yet. I’m waiting to see if I do well on the MCAT, then at least I know I have a chance of getting in. Did any of you worry about how your boss would view you, in case you didn’t get into med school?

When in the process did you guys tell your boss?

I told him when I gave my notice… Steve was uncharacteristically delighted…

I quit or gave notice two weeks before I started to KU Lawrence for a new undergraduate degree.

It has been a steady full time push for the last SEVEN years… I have been able to drive a semi-truck over some summer and Christmas breaks… but by and large a full time LONG march to get here…


I had to do it pretty early, because I needed a flexible schedule to take classes. She took it fine. She had once considered med school herself, and her sister is a doc.

I was lucky. I worked in a research lab and the doctors knew from the beginning that I was completing my undergrad on a premed track. All 3 of the docs were great. . . . and gave me wonderful letters of recommendation!

I guess what we all are saying is it all depends upon your boss. When you are absolutely sure of your decision, use the knowledge you have of your boss to decide how and when to tell him.

I took the sound advice of several people… my wife being the most important… since Kathy was “on board” from the get go (I follow my own “rules” to a tee), she thought it best if I did NOT even try to work while I was in school.

I was lucky to have a “class A” CDL and a GREAT relationship to my old trucking company so I could drive on summer breaks or over Christmas (with very short notice). Kathy assured me we could retrench financially and get by on a LOT LESS…

Her rationale was simple… and irrefutable: if I did not succeed in the classroom then none of the sacrifices would pay off… and the gamble we were all taking would come to nil! In other words, if I was to do this, she insisted I should do it ALL the way (or not at all)

Lucky me… her intuition all those years ago was “spot-on”

After I had consulted with a physician I know (who’s part of the med school upper echelon), had the heart-to-heart with my family and friends, I had the talk with the boss.

Now, I work in the educational arena so we are “supposed” to be very friendly toward employees who are bettering themselves through higher ed. My boss is very supportive of this concept in general. The exception being when he needs you and you’re not available…on the drop of a hat. Have that happen more than a couple of times and it’s time to find another job.

Needless to say, I was a bit hesitant to make my announcement to him. However, I knew that that the class schedule and my work schedule would not always be compatible so I needed to see what my options were with him.

I was relieved to hear that he was very supportive and encouraging…even though the subject of what field I was studying never came up. He cut me off and went on to the next subject.

That was fine with me because I’ve been around long enough to know that once people hear that you’re not planning on going further up the career ladder in your current occupation, they:

  1. Think you hate your current profession and sooner or later, will find yourself on the outs and more likely, out of a job.

  2. Think the reason why you’re behind on a project is because you’re studying and/or your heart’s not in it (see #1).

    Neither is the case with me, but we all know that perception can be reality in the minds of those that employ you.

    Like was mentioned earlier, I did not want to advertise my new career direction until I had at least a year under my belt with a solid GPA.

    Well…seeing me drag around books and not being available for certain evening functions…the cat is mostly out of the bag now.

    I tried to dance around the issue and respond, “Oh, I just have to take some science courses.”


    “Just for some post-bacc work that I didn’t complete the first time around.”

    That bought mew a few months.

    My boss, however, was an attorney and is great at interrogating people.

    Last month, on the way back from a business trip, he asked me the uncharacteristic question of what I was doing for the weekend. Studying?

    “Yes,” I said, hoping to drop the subject.


    Squirming now. “Mostly math and some science.”

    “What kind of science?”


    “What do you need chemistry for?”

    Seeing that I was boxed in, I finally told him I was prepping to go to medical school.

    He was surprised and said “Good for you. That’s great.”

    Now…knowing this man like I do, his statement could be taken at surface value. Or, it could mean that he could cogitate on that info over the weekend, like he does, and come in on Monday and tell me it’s time to find another job. If my heart wasn’t in my current role, then it would be better for both of us if I moved on.

    Fortunately, when I’ve tried to keep up my dance around this topic at various meetings or functions, he’ll interrupt me and very proudly (at least that what I think) tell people that I’m going to medical school.

    Moral of the story? You never know how someone will react when they first hear the news; or that knowledge will ferment over time and impact your employment. Just play it by ear. Play it cautiously. And never lie.

  • Quote:
That was fine with me because I've been around long enough to know that once people hear that you're not planning on going further up the career ladder in your current occupation, they:

1) Think you hate your current profession and sooner or later, will find yourself on the outs and more likely, out of a job.

2) Think the reason why you're behind on a project is because you're studying and/or your heart's not in it (see #1).

That's exactly what I worry about! Even though I want med school it won't keep me from working hard at my job until I go.

I was quite fortunate to have been a resp therapist, which provided me with superb flexibility to work around my Ugrad schedule. Plus, several of the docs I worked with served, to varying degrees, as a mentor. So, there were no issues nor flack over aspiring to become a physician…although a few of them inquired about my sanity about doing this as I knew what be a doc was all about.