locums side gig in addition to full time job- is it worth it?

Home Personal Finance and Budgeting locums side gig in addition to full time job- is it worth it?

  • Avatar Brains428 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 392
    Joined: 11/09/2017

    Thanks all for the responses. I had no intention of offending @peds or anyone who may think I’m trying to humble brag. It is one of those things I felt I needed an outside perspective on, especially from a FI community as this. I feared some would say I’m leaving something on the table by not working extra to have a more standard amount of time off in order make more money.

    @dreamgiver – the internal moonlighting varies since we only get paid for stat exams. So if the ER in my hospital and a couple small regional hospitals are busy, then it can be about $5-600/hr. If it’s not busy it can be around $1-200. The internal moonlighting is done between 10pm and 7am, and usually after I work an evening shift (although there have been a couple times I’ve gone to work at 4 am to catch some stragglers before a standard shift starts). I’ll also only stay until 4-5 am if I’m not working the next day (if I am, I stay until about 1 am). The big plus to the internal stuff is I can do as much or as little as I want.

    I may do what @orthodds stated and try out a few shifts to see if it’s even worth the extra “experience.” The IR docs in the practice said they’d be happy to let me take a couple biopsies if I want to keep up the skills, but that would also be on my own time for no financial gain.

    There have been huge pluses to this time freedom. One, it gives my head some time to clear because the only way to accrue that many RVUs in that short time is to read a lot of studies. Second, I am allowed to spend time learning new things (like finance/economics) and time outside (before the cold comes).

    Thanks again for all the input.

    #245110 Reply
    xraygoggles xraygoggles 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 93
    Joined: 10/26/2018

    I’m late to the thread, but I wanted to chime in since we have similar schedules. I work slightly more days than you, but with similar annual pay. I’ve also done locums at various imaging centers around me, but they usually do not provide an increase in pay compared to working extra shifts at my regular W2 job. Sounds like you are in the same situation.

    The only reason I even considered doing the locums job was that it allowed me to do arthrograms and additional MSK cross-sectional studies that I see less of on my regular ER shift. But in the end, the travelling along with decreased pay was too much for me, and now I only do extra shifts at my regular job if I want more income. I suppose if you really wanted to read a certain type of modality more than you normally do, it would make sense to do locums to hone that skill. Otherwise probably not in your situation.

    I agree with others that doing the locums just for 1099 income is probably not a good idea. Just put more into a taxable account if you want more retirement savings.

    “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.”

    #245139 Reply
    Liked by Brains428
    SerrateAndDominate SerrateAndDominate 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 486
    Joined: 02/01/2018

    On paper, the pay comparison is not equal to your current gig, but it does have some benefits. The pay seems to be slightly better per hour than internal moonlighting. It’s still extra cash at the end of the day. Curious how busy the moonlighting gig is. If it’s light, then that may strike a balance and allow you some time to semi-decompress.


    I think a lot depends on your schedule and current life situation. I have a good friend in ER who is single. His favorite college football team sucks so he’s rationalized that it’s better to earn a few grand than deal with perpetual disappointment from his team.

    Earn everything.

    #245143 Reply
    Liked by Brains428
    Avatar dayman 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 75
    Joined: 12/09/2017

    <Looks at my primary care salary and hours>

    <Looks at OPs salary and hours>

    <Cries internally>

    Click to expand…

    Don’t feel too bad. I’m also a radiologist, and it made me cry a bit internally too. I guess I chose the wrong job.

    #245150 Reply
    Liked by Tim
    Avatar slippingsloth 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 11
    Joined: 01/12/2016

    To echo dayman. I am a interventional radiologist working many more days with q3 call and don’t make anywhere near that either.    Guess we both chose poorly

    #245934 Reply
    Avatar antheus 
    Status: Resident, Physician
    Posts: 96
    Joined: 04/18/2017

    I think Joanna hits on it perfectly. What is your goal? You make a ton of money working < 3 days a week. You are underutilized and, because you have the capacity to work more, you are interested in doing so. However, every additional shift you work you make less per hour gross, and less per hour net (marginal tax rate). If you found genuine enjoyment in those extra shifts and weren’t doing it for the money then great. However, if doing those shifts makes it tougher to do your primary job then that’s a recipe for burnout. It’s hard to look at the locum pay, which is excellent money, and say that it’s not worth your time, but if you don’t have an actual reason for generating that extra income it eventually makes it hard to get up and go to that job every day without asking yourself why.

    All that being said, you are presumably young and no one knows what the future holds so make hay while the sun shines, but determine your why so that on those days when you don’t feel like doing those voluntary locum gigs you signed up for, you can convince yourself you’re doing the right thing.

    #245935 Reply
    Liked by Brains428
    Avatar MaxPower 
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 352
    Joined: 02/22/2016
    Earnest refinancing bonus

    If I made $700k per year working less than 200 days a year, working an extra day for $2500 wouldn’t move the needle for me.

    #245983 Reply
    Liked by Brains428

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