As a medical student and trainee you watch your college friends take their first jobs and progress in their careers. As the years go by they receive good salaries, bonuses, and promotions. Meanwhile, your hopes for high earnings remain years away, increasingly obscured by your mounting debts.
Against this backdrop your first job offer brings a deep sense of relief. Concerned that you may lose the coveted offer if you appear to be a “boat-rocker” you immediately accept it, without closely examining the contract.
Your anxiety is understandable, but it doesn’t justify skipping the contract review process.
You should never sign any document prior to gaining a full understanding of its contents and implications. You should also not pass up an opportunity to obtain better contract terms.
In this chapter I discuss the concept of a standard contract, compensation terms, and common clauses you can expect to find in an employment contract or offer letter. I also provide some guidance for interviewing and negotiating.
I strongly recommend consulting with a properly qualified and licensed attorney prior to signing any documents: in particular, seek an attorney with experience handling medical contracts. Your first contract sets the stage for all subsequent ones. Make it a good one!