Interview with Dr. Stephanie Pearson

In today's episode, Dr. Stephanie Pearson returns to the podcast to the podcast to share her inspirational journey as an insurance broker. Her passion for safeguarding healthcare professionals' financial well-being grew out of her personal experiences following an 0n-the-job injury.

First interviewed in February 2018, she explained then why securing one's income through life and disability insurance is so important. This time, Dr. Pearson delves deeper into her career path. She shares how she grew her business. And she comments on potential careers as a medical director.

Our Sponsor

We're proud to have the University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA Program, offered by the Haslam College of Business, as the sponsor of this podcast.

The UT PEMBA is the longest-running, and most highly respected physician-only MBA in the country. It has over 700 graduates. And, the program only takes one year to complete. 

By joining the UT Physician Executive MBA, you will develop the business and management skills you need to find a career that you love. To find out more, contact Dr. Kate Atchley’s office at (865) 974-6526 or go to

PearsonRavitz's Evolution

In Episode 23, Dr. Stephanie Pearson explained the reasons behind her departure from clinical medicine, and how her company, PearsonRavitz came to be.

Since then, PearsonRavitz has undergone significant growth. As an insurance broker, Stephanie continues to educate medical students and physicians about the devastating effects that an injury can have on a young professional's life.

Her business website features educational materials addressing various disability and life insurance concerns. The platform is designed to promote informed conversations and interactions.

PearsonRavitz is licensed in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The company's mission is to provide education and support, tailoring discussions to individual needs.

Mistakes Unveiled by Physician Insurance Broker

Dr. Pearson highlighted mistakes physicians make regarding disability insurance. Becoming disabled without proper insurance coverage can lead to a financial burden on the physician's family. This could potentially result in the need to sell assets like their home or pull children out of school.

  1. Inadequate coverage for work-related Injuries: Work-related injuries may not be covered by an employer's group policy.

  2. Delaying Insurance Acquisition: Waiting too long to secure disability insurance can result in higher costs and reduced coverage. Acquiring insurance during training can often come with discounts and better terms compared to waiting until one becomes an attending physician.
  3. Self-Prescribing Medications: When physicians prescribe medications for themselves or ask physician friends to prescribe medications, it may affect claim eligibility.

  4. Unclear Policy Language: Some insurers use language that limits coverage, leading to misunderstandings during claims.

  5. Relying on Group Policies: Relying solely on employer-offered group insurance policies can be problematic. Group policies designed for a large workforce often include limitations, inferior coverage, or language that does not benefit physicians.

  6. Dropping Coverage. Physicians may believe that disability insurance is no longer needed once they move into a nonclinical role. In reality, if you and your family depend on your income, it is important to continue the insurance coverage.


Stephanie's journey demonstrates that with resilience and adaptation, we can redefine our career trajectory. Moreover, her commitment to educating and assisting fellow physicians provides a valuable service. And she finds personal satisfaction as an educator and insurance broker.

Dr. Pearson, her partner, Scott Ravitz, and members of their team are available to help with your life and disability insurance needs. Check out their resources at PearsonRavitz. And to reach one of them to personally discuss your situation, you can arrange for a 45-minute live consultation right here

NOTE: Look below for a transcript of today's episode. 

EXCLUSIVE: Get a daily dose of inspiration, information, news, training opportunities, and amusing stories by CLICKING HERE.

Links for Today's Episode:

Download This Episode:

Right Click Here and “Save As” to download this podcast episode to your computer.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, share it on Twitter and Facebook, and leave a review on iTunes.

Podcast Editing & Production Services are provided by Oscar Hamilton

Transcription PNC Podcast Episode 313

Physician Advocate and Insurance Broker Shares Her Expertise

- Interview with Dr. Stephanie Pearson

John: Today's returning guest is unique in several ways. First of all, her reason for leaving clinical medicine is not the most common. And then the career that she chose and has been doing for I think about eight years or so is also different from most. So, let's welcome Dr. Stephanie Pearson to today's show. Hi Stephanie.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Hey, Dr. John. How are you? Thank you for having me back.

John: I'm very good. I was mentioning before we started that I was looking back over old episodes and I thought there were at least a few really good guests that would make an excellent repeat guest. I thought I have to see if I can get you on and see what you've been doing. So, I'm really happy you're here with me today.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Thanks. I'm honored to be back.

John: All right. Well, let's get into what's unique about you. Start with your story of how and why you left clinical medicine.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: I will give you the super quick story. I am an OB-GYN by training. And unfortunately, during a difficult patient delivery, I sustained an injury to my shoulder. And that was kind of the beginning of the end. I had a torn labrum. It did not heal. I developed a frozen shoulder. I had surgery. They said I'd be back to work in 12 weeks. And last week was actually my 10 year anniversary away from clinical medicine, not that I'm counting. And I learned a lot the hard way about disability and life insurance. And the rest is kind of history.

John: We don't think of this when we're going into practice. And many of us, we make a lot of mistakes when it comes to covering that scenario. But I will just mention that I had two physicians that I knew of when I was in practice or a CMO at the hospital. One injured his elbow and he ended up not ever being able to do anesthesiology again. And then another really good friend surgeon who developed some visual problems. It was well into his career, I think it was in 20 years or so. And they were not correctable. And so, he became totally disabled for his job of doing surgery.

So, what did you find out after this happened? That's kind of what inspired you to move in a different direction, obviously.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Yeah. I found out that the group benefit that we had through our employer, in fine print, did not cover work-related injuries.

John: Wow.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: And I got flatly denied and they said I would've been better off had I fallen off my bike. And it was basically getting kicked in the stomach instead of kicked in the shoulder. Because had I not really allowed myself to get kicked, there'd be a problematic delivery. Maybe a baby that was not fully intact and they'd be spending millions defending me in court. And it was just a very quick "Nope, we can't do it."

And then to add insult to injury, my workman's comp claim actually got declined at first, or denied at first because they said while an injury occurred, my frozen shoulder was idiopathic or better my fault because I continued to work while I was injured, which is true. The injury happened in December of 12 and I worked until August of 13. And I figured out how to compensate. I had an orthopedist who told me I should be able to do my job. I put my head down and figured out how to use my arms in different ways and get other people to do what I needed done until it reached a pinnacle point where I felt like I was not practicing safe medicine, that it wasn't ethical anymore.

I had to sue the state. And that took 14 months, three court appearances at which one, an occupational person said that I could be a billing secretary because I had the aptitude to learn codes. I ended up settling because I was not in a very good mental space.

I also found out that the private policy that I got, that I thought I did everything right was not actually right. And it was purely a lack of education and not knowing what I didn't know. And so, I kind of threw myself at the topic because I wanted to know more. And that led to me wanting to share my story and trying to get other physicians not to make the same mistakes I made.

And then moving forward in the trajectory, at this time, I was actually trying out other things. I didn't land on this initially. I had done some medical malpractice work. I had done some medical editing, some biotech consulting. And what ended up happening was I was giving these lectures to area residents and people started asking for my help. And I was like, "Huh, maybe I have stumbled onto something." And so, I went and got myself licensed and we started an insurance company out of our house.

John: Yeah. That's not the first thing I would think in terms of "Wow, go into insurance." But it was such a natural. As I think back about this when you told me this the first time you're on the podcast, because what you told me then was also something you became very passionate about because you knew there were so many other physicians who were at risk.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Yeah.

John: Tell us a little bit more than how that business started because you had to start a business. It wasn't just becoming an insurance broker, right?

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Oh no.

John: It's a whole thing.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: I learned a lot on the go. Fortunately, my husband is my biggest cheerleader, we're partners now in business as well. But he helped with all the backend, creating the LLC, making sure that I had errors and omissions insurance. He really took care of a lot of the backend so that I could focus on what we thought I did well which was educating and meeting people and doing that piece.

At the same time, the broker who was my initial broker was not super helpful. A friend of a friend who's now my business partner, the other side of PearsonRavitz, he had reached out to me because someone had reached out to him. And we realized through a weird small world connection, our families were pretty intertwined. And I had a lot of help in the beginning from an industry standpoint.

I wasn't necessarily starting from point A. I kind of started somewhere in the middle, as far as having the right connections to the insurance companies, getting introduced to the right people. And so, we started kind of separately because he was at a life insurance company. And at a certain point when we both realized that things were taking off in a way that neither of us could have ever predicted that it was time to either, "Okay, we're really going to join forces and do this, or we need to part you do life insurance, I'll do my disability insurance and go from there."

And we decided to join forces because we both have different strengths that we could bring to the table. And ergo PearsonRavitz was created six years ago, June. So, I was doing it by myself, maybe a year, year and a half.

John: Okay. And if I remember correctly, you were doing a lot of presentations trying to educate people. A lot of it was free, right? It was med students, residents, other physicians who heard your story. Now all that demand has been met. Nobody has to listen, nobody needs that information anymore.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Everyone needs the information still. And I'll say COVID actually helped with that in that everybody realized that you don't need to be in person. And so, I love talking to people in person. You feed off their energy. It's a very different dynamic. However, traveling is expensive and giving up the time around it is expensive. And now being able to plug in a one hour lecture just as part of my day, like if I was speaking to one person, it's really expanded our reach in being able to get to people nationwide.

John: And do you do sales nationwide also so you can meet with an individual?

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Yes.

John: And walk through the process?

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Yes.

John: I remember vividly. I had a friend, he's actually deceased, but close friend who was a broker for a large insurance company. And he sold a lot of disability. And I remember him sitting me down and explaining this to me. About an hour into it I still didn't understand everything there was in there, riders on this and that. And I trusted him. I'd never had to access it, but I just felt really comfortable after getting that in place, knowing that if something happened.

Why don't you explain why this is almost when you're young more important than life insurance? That's kind of how I look at it personally. What do you think about that?

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Oh, I totally agree. If you look at national statistics, and I always say to take the national statistics with a grain of salt because they don't specifically break out physicians. But according to the Association of Americans with Disabilities, you have about a one in four chance of having a disability that takes you out of work for at least six months during your working career.

And then if you look at some of the ergonomics data that's been coming out doctors do know better than guys working on the roads.

And so, I used to think that the number was a bit skewed. Now that I'm seeing some of this other interesting data come through, maybe it's not as skewed as I thought it was. And I know that there are lots of people out there who don't know anyone who's ever gone out on disability. And I also know physicians who know upwards of dozens of docs that have gone out.

And so, I think that once somebody hears a compelling story or their partner suddenly has X, Y, Z, then it becomes a big deal. Going back to your why, aside from the increased risk of disability over death, which is also true when you're younger. When you're younger, it's less expensive. Hopefully you're healthier so you can get a more robust policy. If you do it while you're in training, there are training discounts that exist that aren't there if you wait. I got mine as an attending. I don't remember getting taught about it. If we did, I tuned it out. And so, I ended up qualifying for less. And it was more expensive.

John: There's another thing I think you may have told me last time, which is maybe morbid in a way. But if you become disabled, there's a good chance you'd become a burden on your family rather than a salary generator. And that would make me, if I had several kids and was married and all of a sudden, I don't know how we would deal with that if we didn't have disability insurance.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: We would've been in a really hard place. We would've had to sell our house. And admittedly I was underinsured. I had it. We didn't have to sell our house, but we would've if I didn't have it. We would've had to pull our kids out of private preschool. I know. #FirstWorldProblem. But these are the things that we do. And that is part of our decision in who and what profession we're going to have.

And my husband at the time was a flight nurse and was able to pick up a ton of extra shifts. While he was kind of dealing with a lot of our financial stuff, not only did I have the black cloud of "I'm not bringing in what I kind of thought said, I agreed that I'd bring into the family. Now I'm home alone with toddlers that I can't pick up." Because at this point, my left arm is not working great.

And now I felt like I'm not a physician. I'm not being a great wife, I'm not being a great mom. I'm really not a good housekeeper. And it was really dark for a little bit. And had I been properly insured, a lot of that could have been different. If he was around more, if we had that piece of stability, then we could focus on the other stuff. But that was our first issue that we really needed to deal with. I didn't want to sell our house. I didn't want to have to tell our kids that they had to leave school. And it just would've made life so much easier. I'm so passionate about this and don't want anybody else making the mistakes I made.

John: Well, I'm obviously convinced. There's just certain things that insurance is almost a no-brainer. There's some things I think that people insure that I question, but this really prevent coverage for that is one of the givens.

The one mistake that people make, whether it's physicians or anyone else, particularly highly paid and compensated people, I think have more to lose in a sense. Or if you went through eight years, or nine years, or 15 years of training and you owe a ton of money that you're thinking you're going to be paying that off in the future and you become disabled. And so, my second part of my question about mistakes is what other mistakes?

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: I truly think that the two biggest mistakes that people run into, without sounding trite, is waiting too long, is definitely number one. Number two is docs who write themselves prescriptions or have their friends write their prescriptions in thinking it's not a big deal. I can't get to my doc. We're all doctors, we can all call things in.

And unfortunately, it's really bad behavior from an insurance standpoint. They look at it as we're trying to hide something, we're not being followed appropriately. And so, that is a really big problem that we're running into, really more and more. I was hoping it would be on the decline with residents not working quite the way they did when you and I were residents. And that's no dig on residents out there. It was just a false assumption that I had.

And from a product mistake side, it's not having the right language. And unfortunately there's no standardization of language and insurance like there is in medicine. It's infuriating. We're all told you need an own occupation policy. Well, there are companies that say they are own occupation, but when you actually read the fine print, it's not. It's not the robust definition that we want. Or it may be that it's own occupation by the definition of occupation. So, you're covered for what it is you do, but then when you look at the definition of total disability, they change that.

And so, in order to be totally disabled, it'll say you can't do your job and you're not working, or not gainfully employed. Where you want the policy to say you're totally disabled if you can't do your job, regardless if you're gainfully employed. And it's literally a one word difference. And or regardless.

But how many of us read full documents, right? Group policies through your hospitals. It's one line on your open enrollment packet. You check a box. If it's employer paid, you don't have a choice anyway. And then you get these documents that are full of legalese and people don't understand it. And I get it. And so, there's so much nuance in disability insurance, and it's not a big playing field. There's only five major companies right now. One left in 2016. One left this past May.

So, we're not talking about a lot of companies, but they changed products often. Two of the companies changed products this year. Their product design. And underwriting changes and how they define things changes.

And so, another mistake that I find is people speaking with somebody who just really isn't up to date. But that's hard to know. That still goes back to so much of what happens. We just don't know what we don't know. And without of being educated appropriately, advocated for appropriately, there are little problems that can come up.

John: I have another question on that topic, but I want to mention that, and we'll give you the website, your website, because there's a lot of educational material there on the website. At least the thing you can do is go and read that. I think you've got blogs and you've got articles and things that can try to clarify that.

But it reminds me of a question. Let's say you're working for a large employer. Let's say a large hospital system or whatever, and you have this disability insurance and it doesn't really address those issues. I always had my own policy for a variety of reasons. I might have had some when I was a CMO, but I always kept my private policy. Does it make sense to just have another policy? I know it's expensive.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: It always makes. We should never speak in definitives but 99.9% of the time, yes. Group policy is by design, if you think about it. If you take a step back, they're being offered by your employer, which means they're being paid for by your employer and it can't break the bank. They don't really want to pay. It's a box that they need to check off.

And so, a lot of these group policies are inferior both in language and in what they're covering. We've seen some really creative policies, especially since COVID. I had mentioned my policy that didn't cover work-related injuries. We're seeing policies now that say they're not covering work-related injuries or illnesses, which I find to be a really slippery slope. I have no idea how we're supposed to prove where we get sick from.

It's so ridiculous. A lot of policies have two year limitations now for an entire grouping of issues. It used to be pretty common that there was a two year benefit for mental health and substance abuse. But now we're seeing, there's something that a lot of the companies are calling subjective illnesses. Think things that don't have path and monic tests. It's included, but not limited to. Pain, headaches, fatigue, ringing in the ears, repetitive motion syndromes. And in just the last 18 months, we've started to see two year limitations for musculoskeletal issues. And by the way, that's the number one reason that docs go out.

It's so important for people to have a quality policy in conjunction with whatever they get from their employer. It's the voluntary employer policies that most people probably shouldn't be purchasing.

For folks that may be hard to insure or would have a lot of things on a policy that a private carrier would exclude. Well, then that may be the best thing that they get. And there are times where I tell people, "Look, employer disability should be part of your contract negotiation." And so, it's definitely not a one size fits all. Everyone laughs at me around here because I will often say it's a one size fits one and go from there. And I realized that was pretty long-winded for a short question. But again, it just goes back to how much nuance there is with this.

John: Yeah, absolutely. It's not straightforward at all. And you can get messed up if you go down the wrong path. Okay. I'm going to ask you about other jobs in your field, but I wanted to ask you to go ahead and tell us about your website and your business and where we can find things and what kind of things are there if I am interested just in learning more.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: A lot has changed in the last five years. The website is And hopefully you'll put that in notes. A lot of people like to call us PearsonRabitz, but it's actually with "V" like Victor. And we actually went through a rebrand maybe two years ago. And there are sections where there are DI 101 articles, life insurance articles, blogs that speak to different issues that we've run into or that I've personally run into. And there are multiple ways to contact us through the website as well. I'm trying to make this as educational as possible.

John: Well, I can imagine if someone looks at some of those things and reads through them when you actually meet them, if you do meet them, whether through a lecture or one-on-one as a broker, their questions might be a little more focused and a little more intelligent than just start from ground zero.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Sometimes we know just enough not to. Listen, somebody who has some education or no education, a lot of education, I kind of start from square one and let the person I'm talking to or the group that I'm speaking with kind of lead the conversation.

John: Excellent. No, that makes sense. Before I get to this other question that I have, once they go through all this, if they want to employ your company, you personally or whatever other people on your company, then they can actually do that pretty much no matter where they live in the us. Is that right?

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Yes. We are licensed in all 50 states and Puerto Rico and we have day hours, night hours. If there's an extenuating circumstance, we'll make it work.

John: That's cool because then you know you've got someone that has that background in medicine that understands and I'm sure you probably ensure other people that aren't physicians too. But as a physician it would make me feel very comfortable. Well, that's awesome. Hopefully it's not as difficult to maintain a license for what you're doing as it would be to maintain a medical license in 50 states. That would be impossible.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: It is easier. I do have to do continuing education every year and write lots of checks.

John: Yes. Yes. Everything's going to be rolling over constantly. Okay. Well, since this is a podcast about nonclinical careers and it's been great to hear about your career. But I don't see that many other physicians heading in that direction. My question to you is, are there other things within disability and life insurance jobs for them if they're interested in the whole insurance industry? Maybe they want to become a broker I suppose and could follow your path. But even working for a disability insurance company or health or a life insurance company, what do you know about that?

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Every single company that we work with has a medical director. I'm told they all have a medical team. I'm not quite sure how many people that means. I have had the pleasure of speaking to a few within different carriers. There have been physicians employed to do claims reviews, there have been physicians employed to help with product development. There are spaces that are not necessarily physician focused medicine, if that makes sense, as opposed to utilizing the knowledge that we have to help push either underwriting or product design or decision making beyond what's a heart attack.

John: Yeah. Do most insurers that do disability also do life?

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Most of them do.

John: Of some of the bigger disability companies, because then if someone was looking on their career site, they might be able to look for medical director in either of those areas, I suppose.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: What we consider the big five in the disability space are Principal, Ameritas, MassMutual, Guardian, which used to be Berkshire Hathaway and Standard. Ohio National gave up their disability side in May of this year. They still do, they're a really big life insurance house. MetLife dropped out of the individual disability space back in 2016, but they still do a lot of life and a lot of group disability sales. The group side and the individual side usually are two distinct entities.

John: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. With the companies you mentioned, it doesn't hurt sometimes to just go on LinkedIn or go to their website, look at their careers. Put in medical director or physician or whatever and see what's out there.

I personally have talked to people that have worked in life insurance and they love their job, they never leave. Sometimes there's not that much turnover. I don't know on the disability side if it's the same thing.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: I think it is.

John: Yeah. It's a very intellectual thing. Reviewing studies and trying to pull together all this information, help the actuaries and others kind of figure out whether someone is insurable or not insurable. I think is what I've heard.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: It's pretty fascinating. I admit. I've learned way more about medicine in the last several years. I was an OB- GYN. I am an OB-GYN. My knowledge was pretty pigeonholed. And in doing this and in advocating for our clients, it's actually been super cool for me from a lifelong learner standpoint.

John: Yeah. Would seem interesting to know for each specialty, what are the key things they need to be able to do? And if they can't do that, then they need to be insured even though they may look completely healthy but something's not working and you need to be protected.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: I'd probably say at least 20 times a week that community medicine and insurance medicine are not the same. And that's really hard for physicians in particular to kind of stomach sometimes. Again, we have a certain fund of knowledge that lay people may not have. And there are plenty of times where I'll say to somebody, "Look, I get it, physician to physician, woman to woman, mom to mom, depending on what the issue is. I get it. But how you function in the world right now is not necessarily how you look on paper."

And they're looking at actuarial data. So much of their stuff is post claim data and they're making decisions today that potentially have 20, 30 even 40 year payout for them. And so, I do spend a decent amount of time explaining that difference. And on the flip side, I've been successful in a couple of areas of affecting change in underwriting because of the knowledge that we have. So, that's been exciting for me too.

John: This has been fascinating. We're going to run out of time soon. Any last things we didn't hit on today that you think just knowing my audience perhaps and what physicians in general need that you'd like to touch on before I let you go?

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: One of the things I really want to touch on, specifically with your audience, I know there is a big push for physicians to go nonclinical is you still need this coverage. I think that there is a myth out there that if I'm not using my hands, if I'm not in a hospital, I don't need this. And if you rely on your paycheck and you have a specific skillset knowledge base, we all need our brains. And it's so important that you still maintain coverage as you switch jobs.

Now you want to talk to the person who sold you your policy because at a certain point post clinician time, we may be able to change the occupational class, which may or may not save you money. And so, it's a conversation worth having.

John: No, that makes perfect sense. And in fact I came to realize recently more so than in the past is that when we think about leaving clinical and going into nonclinical, the reality is most of those jobs, one of the baseline requirements is that you're a physician, which means you have to have all that knowledge background and sometimes the experience just to get the job. Then you learn more. You're adding to your knowledge, you're not taking away. That all has to be protected because if it's gone because of an injury or head injury or whatever, you're in trouble.

All right. I really appreciate you being here today. It's been great catching up, Stephanie. I will definitely put the link to and maybe a couple links to your LinkedIn and Instagram too, things like that. Maybe we'll have you back here in five years if we're still both around.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: I hope we're both still around.

John: I do. I think I'll be maybe retired by then completely.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: I still have at least that in me. So, we'll see.

John: All right. I really appreciate it again. Thanks for joining me today and I think my listeners will love hearing what you have to say. Bye-bye.

Dr. Stephanie Pearson: Thanks again. Take care.

John: Stephanie's story continues to inspire me. While it developed out of an unfortunate situation, it seems that she has found fulfillment in the career that she has created for herself since that injury about 10 years ago.

Also, I think it's great to know that if we need help understanding disability insurance, we can speak with another physician who truly understands us as we learn about protecting our most valuable asset, which is our ability to work and generate income to support ourselves and our families. If you don't already have this coverage, you should definitely learn more about it at


Many of the links that I refer you to are affiliate links. That means that I receive a payment from the seller if you purchase the affiliate item using my link. Doing so has no effect on the price you are charged. And I only promote products and services that I believe are of high quality and will be useful to you.

The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life, or business.

The information presented on this blog and related podcast is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. I do not provide medical, legal, tax, or emotional advice. If you take action on the information provided on the blog or podcast, it is at your own risk. Always consult an attorney, accountant, career counselor, or other professional before making any major decisions about your career.