Great thread, and thanks for the update. I am yet another physician feeling the same way as many posters here. Instead of cutting hours, I have maximized mine and cut spending to a minimum in so many ways. I haven't taken any vacation in almost 2 years and am selling my time off for cash. Making a game and a competition with myself to save, save, save has made it kind of fun and in a strange way, exhilarating. I am now working for my freedom from all the BS that is polluting medicine to its core. I am now able to shrug it off fairly effortlessly and have fun with and poke fun at the BS. I have a goal, a tool to get there, and every day, every patient encounter, is one more step up the mountain, and at this point I'm jogging, not slogging. Every extra day that I work now is one (to two depending on investments) less that I have to work later in life. I know I'm flirting with burnout but lately this plan has been so energizing that I feel less prone to burnout than ever in my career. Early on I fought the stupidity energetically - and it was beyond exhausting; I never taught the pig to sing, made a teeny bit of headway, and left my soul out to dry.
I'm not sure how this "bring-it-on" attitude came about, but having a financial plan and seeing that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train, has helped tremendously. Instead of thinking of new consults as hits, I am very grateful and gracious to the referrer, and make sure they know how I feel (even when it's a ridiculous consult), because they just got me one more step up the mountain, and hey, the more ridiculous the consult, the less the risk, less emotional burden, less thought consuming, less taxing, and I can tell those patients that they can buy green bananas and long-playing records, but they can't run up their credit cards too high because they'll live long enough to be forced to pay them off over their remaining long lifetimes.
I don't know how resilient this new mindset will be, but I'm going to make as much hay as I can while the sun's out, hit my number as soon as possible, and walk whenever I want, though at that point I may be having so much fun with such a stupid system that I stay. Either way, the choice will be mine - to be able to do good solely for the sake of doing good - not for the administrators, the ABIM, the paycheck, the benefits, blah blah blah. And if I don't feel like taking boards AGAIN, I will give the ABIM the single-finger wave and trade it all for downhill boards in the winter and surf boards in the summer. I have a long way to go to get to 25X expenses, but I'm getting there more rapidly than I ever thought possible, largely because of all the wonderful, generous, altruistic advice I have gotten on this website.
To the OP, I feel your pain, was there for too many years, looked into alternative careers, alternative settings, part time, and more, and somehow ended up here…with the wisdom of no escape: bring on the work and laissez faire acceptance/rebellion against the BS that I cannot change.
By the way, I don't recommend this for anyone but me, and only for as long as it works. My update in 2 years on this thread may be 180 degrees, but my retirement assets will be getting very close to allow me to u-turn whenever and however I want.
And the main thing for me, has been to now (finally) live WAY below my means.