Interview with Dr. Chelsea Turgeon

In today's podcast, Dr. Chelsea Turgeon explains how to face burnout head-on and create a life after medicine.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon completed her medical education at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. During year two of her OB/GYN residency, she realized clinical medicine was not a sustainable career choice.

She has built a successful online coaching business helping healthcare professionals recover from burnout and forge their own path to career fulfillment. And in 2021, she published her book, Residency Drop Out: How I Quit My Medical Career to Travel the World and Work Remotely.

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

Residency Drop Out

Dr. Turgeon wrote the book when she started working with healthcare professionals. She noticed that when she talked to others about her decision to leave clinical medicine they often asked the same questions:

  • What are you doing about your loans?
  • Didn't that seem like such a waste?
  • How did you decide how to use skills outside of medicine?

The first part of the book talks about her journey. The second part addresses all of those common questions and concerns. It also addresses her perspective and how to think about them differently.

Life After Medicine

Chelsea discovered that her burnout resulted from the misalignment of her career and her true self. Unable to use her zone of genius and natural gifts caused her to take drastic action. She combined travel with earning a living and making a positive difference by moving to South Korea to teach English as a second language.

That provided the time and income to pursue coaching training and certification. And she created a remote online business that she loves and allows her to travel while working. 

She does all of her marketing through social media. And she produces her own podcast, Life After Medicine. Those are things she can do online. She has created a thriving coaching practice, meeting clients on Zoom and WhatsApp.

Dr. Turgeon's Advice

Honor your discontent because it matters. If you're not happy… if you are feeling burnt out and unfulfilled… more often than not, that matters… If you don't know where to start, start with what you want. – Dr. Chelsea Turgeon


Besides being an enthusiastic coach, Dr. Chelsea Turgeon is courageous to follow her instincts to work and travel the way she does. There is much to learn from her approach to life after medicine.

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 246

How You Can Forge a Wonderful Life After Medicine

John: To me, there's nothing better than talking to someone who is a role model for career transition. Someone who is leveraging her healthcare training and experience in new ways. That's the ideal guest for this podcast in my mind. It's just like today's guest. Hello, Dr. Chelsea Turgeon.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Hey, thanks so much for having me.

John: I became aware of you, I don't know, it's been maybe a year or so longer. I'm not sure when. You're going to tell us about your story. But then I just started seeing you on Facebook and then I saw you were doing coaching and I didn't really know about your book until maybe... Well, I guess it was funny because when we got ready for this podcast interview, I thought I was going to go and download the book. And when I did, I found out I already had it. That was like, "Oh, I've downloaded. I just never read it." I had to take a quick peek through the book and that was very interesting. I'm talking too much. I'm just so glad to have you here today.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah. I'm so excited to be here.

John: Okay. We're going to start like we often do and just ask you to give us a little bit about your background and education, and then this whole transition that you went through. I think it'd be very interesting to hear your story.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah, absolutely. I'll just start out by saying that I went into medicine for all the wrong reasons, but that is me looking at hindsight. When I was going through it at the time, I didn't really have that awareness and I didn't have that sense of realization that it was the wrong career path for me. And it wasn't wrong so much as they were more superficial reasons. And I think that's one of the problems that happens with choosing our career path when we're 17, 18 years old, and we're picking our college majors because we're so young and we don't know that much about ourselves at that time.

And so, I always loved psychology. I thought I was going to do something with psychology, whether that was to go into psychiatry and practice medicine in that way, or get my PhD in psychology. So that was always the initial plan. I realized that when I told people that those were my two ideas, whenever people heard the medicine path and being a doctor, I got so much validation. I got so many of those "Wow, you must be so smart. Ooh. Being a doctor." And I actually had a lot of friends whose parents were doctors, and I just started to associate that with kind of like the highest level of status that you could achieve in society. And so, kind of unknowingly to me, that was one of my main drivers that was putting me through all the pre-med courses and making me want to go to medicine. It was all of that external validation I would get when I talked about that as a career path.

But what I ignored was the fact that I didn't like shadowing at all. I didn't like being in the hospital. I didn't like my hard science classes. I really loved my psychology classes obviously, but organic chemistry, biology, I really wasn't interested in that subject. But it didn't really matter to me at the time. What mattered more, what was driving me was kind of this drive for achievement, this drive for external validation. And so, that drove me all the way through medical school. And then I got to that place where I matched in residency. And I matched in my top choice residency, I got AOA in medical school. And so, I did so well. I achieved everything that I thought I ever wanted. And it felt so empty. I remember on match day I was thrilled for about 30 minutes and then I came down and I was like, "Is this it? Is this what I've been going after this whole time?"

And I made it into residency, but it wasn't long before I really started to realize this is not the right path for me. And I made it to about my second year when I hit this really big burnout. And I ended up taking a five week leave of absence from residency and from the hospital. And during that time, I realized it was more than just burnout. It wasn't just that I was exhausted from working 80 hours a week and doing 24-hour shifts. It was more than that. It was really the career, there was like a values misalignment and it was a gifts misalignment. Like I wasn't really using my zone of genius and being in my gifts.

And so, I realized it was just the wrong career entirely for me. And on top of that, I had this pull to go do something else. I had this pull to travel. I had this pull to write. I had this pull to help people in a different way, with deeper one-on-one connections. And so, I made the decision to leave residency and I didn't have a huge plan as to what that would look like. I bought a one-way ticket to South Korea. I got a job there, teaching English in a school. Literally I went from being a doctor one week to the next week I was in South Korea teaching English to third graders. And then through that year, working in South Korea, I spent time doing a lot of soul searching, learning a lot about myself and also learning a lot about building an online business. And so now for the past two years, I have been running my own online business, traveling the world and working remotely.

John: All right. That was a very good summary of what's been going on for these past few years. I have to comment. I would've thought that things have changed, but I'm like a couple decades ahead of you in terms of when I went to med school and all that kind of thing. But it was the same thing. Like how could we be so stupid?

But the thing is, it's true. When we decided to go into medicine, many of us were basically children. Yeah. We're making a decision like you said based on someone's advice, the fact, "Oh, that sounds really nice." And everybody likes thinking about going into medicine and being a doctor. So, it seems like things don't really change. It's interesting, the thing about Korea. That was going to be my first follow up question because it was like, "Okay, wait, she just decided to leave the country and go to Korea." Now, as you mentioned that though, I remember that I have my wife's niece. She and her husband went to Korea to teach English. Is there something that attracts people to Korea or do you know someone in Korea? Why the heck did you choose Korea?

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah. Yeah. Essentially the rationale for all of this was when I was leaving residency the big driver for that was, I want to travel. And it's strange because I wasn't someone who'd done a lot of travel before that. I traveled for the interview trail and I went to Germany one time when I was 16. But other than that, I really didn't have a lot of travel experience, but it was just on my heart. On all of the weekends, I was off in residency, I was watching every single travel documentary on Netflix and I just felt this to do it.

But at the same time, I was like, I also need an income. I need a way to make money because I didn't have a huge, substantial amount of savings to fund my travels. I didn't know how to leverage my skills to make money online and even doing so, it is a process to learn how to make a substantial income online.

And so, one thing I just came upon is that there's a way to teach English, all over the world, but especially in Asian countries. They're always looking for native English speakers to come and teach English, which is such a privilege that we get to be paid for something that I just grew up speaking this language. And so, I did an online certification to be certified to teach English and I just got the job teaching English in South Korea. So, it fit both of those needs of having an income and then also being abroad and being able to travel on my weekends.

John: Very nice. It makes sense. And I think similar things were leading my wife's niece and husband to do the same thing. Like, okay, here's something people need help with and we can get in. We do a little bit of training, and boom, we're doing something and we're traveling. So, how come you didn't choose some other activity beyond that? What got you into coaching and all that kind of thing?

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah. Initially when I was making my decision to leave residency, my thought was I want to be a travel blogger and I would tell people this as a joke. Even before I made my decision to leave, people would ask like, "Oh, what are you doing after residency?" Meaning, are you going to be a generalist? Are you going to go and do a fellowship? And I would just say, I'm going to be a travel blogger. And that was always a joke, but there's a little truth behind every "just kidding." And so, I thought that's what I wanted to do. I signed up for a travel blogging course. I started my blog, the

John: Wow.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah, that exists. That's a thing. And then I realized I love writing and I love travel, but I don't love writing about travel.

John: Okay.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: I'm not detail oriented so I don't like talking about "turn on this street to get to this place." That's not interesting to me. And what I started to realize is I loved writing about personal growth and the things I was learning and the journey that I was going on to figure out my values and to understand my zone of genius. And I loved writing about that stuff. And then I just started finding out about coaching as well. And that just seemed to go together because I always had such an interest in personal growth and I realized I can basically just help people through their personal growth journey as a coach. And so, then I signed up for a yearlong coach certification program and I did that throughout the year that I was in South Korea.

John: Okay, cool. So, you were teaching English and by definition traveling, you were in a different place, I'm sure you checked it out while you were there quite a bit, and learning something new at the same time.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah.

John: There's really something about coaching. To me, it has all the positives of being a physician with pretty much none of the negatives.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: I agree.

John: I'm not surprised at all that a lot of physicians find other ways to help people and coaching is a big one. Now you're not in Korea today. I don't think so.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: I'm not, no. After Korea, that was always going to be a temporary situation. So that's something I call a bridge job and that's something I help my clients do as well. Although usually their bridge jobs do not involve teaching English in Asia. But it was essentially a way to pay my bills, to interact with people, to feel like I'm giving back to the community in some way. But then also give me plenty of space and time to figure out my next steps. And so that was always the plan for it to be temporary.

February of 2020, that's when my year long contract ended and that's when I decided I'm going to be a digital nomad, meaning I'm going to work remotely. I'm taking my online business full time. I'm going to work remotely and have that location independence and travel around and be in different countries every month and be able to sustain myself through my online business.

John: It reminds me of the first time I read "The 4-Hour Workweek." I don't know if you know Tim Ferriss?

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yes.

John: I'm actually spousing something that he created. Although I think he's had guests on his podcast to do a lot more of the digital nomad thing than he actually did. So, I have a question. Again, I don't want to get nosy, but what did your family think of this?

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: No, not nosy at all. That's such a common question. Initially they were pretty shocked and I think a big reason for that was because I didn't open up to them or share how unhappy I was. I felt like I had to present this really positive image of "I'm living my best life. I'm a doctor, I'm achieving my dreams and doing everything I thought I wanted." I didn't ever really open up and tell them what was on with me internally. I just started kind of gradually distancing myself from them. And so, we used to talk for maybe like an hour every week in med school. And then in residency it started just whittling down to where it was like five minutes every other week, because I was just so unhappy and I didn't really want them to know.

But then when I finally told them I'm taking a five-week leap of absence, these are all the reasons why. And I told them how long it had been going on for. They definitely started to realize that this didn't seem like the right career path for me. And no one in my family is a doctor. And so, they really just wanted me to be happy and they didn't realize I was so unhappy. They came around to me leaving medicine. But then also the me traveling thing, that was a whole another situation. They were like, "Why can't you leave medicine, but still stay in the US? Why do you have to leave?" But I'll tell you now, they're like the most supportive people in the whole world. My mom listens to my podcast episodes literally every week the moment they're released and sends me a text message about them. They came to actually visit me in Mexico for my birthday. So yeah, they've definitely become very supportive.

John: One of the things, and it's instructive because this is human nature, I guess. But one of the things I find a lot in the people I've talked to that have changed is that they don't want to tell their families they're ashamed. They feel guilty. And in some cultures, being a professional is unreal. There's so much pressure. I understand why some people actually get so depressed. But the thing that I tell people is I think 99.9% of the time your family wants you to be happy. They don't want you to be miserable. They don't want you to work 80 hours and get burnt out or hate your job just for appearances. Again, you kind of demonstrated that very thing yourself.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah, it's so true. And I would also say your parents usually also want you to be safe. Usually, it's safe somewhere first and then it's happiness. But they think that the way that allows you to be happy is to have a really successful job, to have a high income. But when they start to realize that's not the case, usually your family comes around. I'm very fortunate that mine did, and I think that's been the case for a lot of people I've worked with as well.

John: It's cultural too in the history of what they have gone through. Well, happiness comes from having a job and having some money.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah.

John: Then later it's like, well, not really not. We're in an abundant country. Maybe it's more about being fulfilled. Maybe it's more about following what you're good at. People listening, listeners, don't put this off. Learn from Chelsea and what she's done. Okay. Well, go ahead and tell us a little bit more about once you had the coaching experience and training. Then you decided basically to start your own thing. Tell us more about that and maybe just tell us what you're doing so we can find it and look at it.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah, absolutely. Initially I started just kind of generally life coaching and I started helping others. Just like really anyone who was having a hard time in their life and wanted something more for their life. And so, I just started working with people. When I was in South Korea, I made the goal to just do a hundred hours of coaching just to start really getting good at it. And I would literally coach every single other English teacher on the island after school. We'd go to cafes and I would just practice my coaching skills. And I started to realize I love this. But then what people started to really come to me for was career stuff. They're like, "Well, how did you do that? How did you leave your career? It was such a prestigious career path. How did you just walk away? How did you know what to do next?"

And so, that's a good part of a good business rule is to start paying attention to what questions are people coming to you with, what are people asking you about? So, I started paying attention to that and I started realizing career and purpose and fulfillment. Those were big things that I was very interested in, but then also people really wanted to know from me. And so, I transitioned into more career coaching specifically.

And then about December of 2020, I decided to make the transition even further into healthcare professionals specifically. I think I did need some space from that right after leaving the hospital. But around that time, I started to feel that pull to come back to that world and help people in the healthcare realm, find their own way to career fulfillment. And so, that's what I do now.

John: I didn't warn you I was going to ask about this, but let me ask you this. Because there are some physicians who have a very negative view of coaching. "Well, yeah, anybody can sit down and talk to someone else." Tell me a little bit about your experience in terms of before you went through the training and then after the training and then actually intentionally interacting for those hundred hours or whatever, where you're applying those. What is the difference in terms of the true classical kind of coaching as opposed to just listening to someone's complaints?

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And I'll say it makes sense that people have such varied experiences with coaching because for the most part in the US, it's a completely unregulated industry. Anyone can say that they're a coach, anyone can charge any amount of money for it. So, there is no regulation.

It really is based on the integrity of the person offering the services. And there's no guarantee of results. And so, there's no standardization. It makes sense that you could have had a really bad experience with a coach or another thing that might be coming from the fact that it's unregulated, the fact that it doesn't require training. But however, being a physician requires all of this training, it requires so much work and effort and certifications and board licensing and all those different things. And so, if you see people with no training or whatever, just starting to practice and make money and have all this freedom and lifestyle, I can see how you would look at that and have skepticism and a little bit of cringe and all of that. That totally makes sense.

I do think it is really important for each consumer before working with a coach to have... I guess you just have to really trust yourself, trust the reviews. I think referrals are really helpful. And so, it is hard because it's such an unregulated industry. I'll just say all of that. But for me, in my experience, I didn't know much about coaching before I just started to become one. And then I realized as I was going through my training process, I would have people kind of come up to me and scoff and be like, "Oh, you're a coach." And I would have that a lot, but I just loved it so much and I believed in it so much because I've just always loved psychology and personal growth. And what drives human behavior and motivation. And those have always been huge areas of fascination to me, but I maybe just came into it with this innocence and this naiveness of "This is just amazing. I can just make money doing this" and my heart was always deeply in it.

I think when you have a coach who is truly committed to being a coach and has done all the work themselves and has really trained to understand human psychology, you can have profound transformations with a coach like that. Whereas if you have a coach who just kind of went through the motions and is doing it to try to make money quickly, which it's not a good rich quick scheme, you can just have very different experiences. But for me, I'm very committed to my clients and it's something I deeply feel I'm called to do.

John: Yeah. I think there's a method to true coaching, the classic coaching that they usually teach in professional organizations that are certified and so forth. That's why some of us like myself, I will say that I'll mentor, I'll actually be more of a consultant because I can tell you what I did. Some people might call that coaching. That's not really coaching in my mind. It's where you get into how to bring someone along, how to have the proper way of interacting with a person that has insights and then helps them realize. A lot of it has to do more with mindset and how you think as opposed to "I'm going to show you how to get a job teaching English." Well, okay. That's just kind of a mentorship type thing.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah, yeah, totally. The difference between coaching and consulting, mentorship, that sort of stuff. Coaching, this is how I think of it. Coaching is more like I'm guiding you to find the answers within yourself. I'm guiding, I'm reflecting back to you some of the patterns that you're demonstrating. If you're saying one thing, it's really important to me to find fulfillment, but I refuse to leave this job that's making me unfulfilled. I'll just kind of reflect back on things that don't make sense, that aren't adding up. And I'll hold you accountable, hold you to your higher self. Whereas consulting, like you said, is more of "I'm an expert in this area because I've personally gone through this and I have these connections, I know the method to do this thing and I can help you go through these exact steps." Whereas I do some of those things but my true joy, my true love is really coaching.

John: Yeah. If you look at most successful businesses, large businesses, like all the senior leadership get coaching, business coaching, leadership coaching, things like that. It's not about telling them what to do. It's trying to learn those new skills and have those insights. Well, if we want to learn more about you and all what happened to you, of course, there's one easy way to do it and that's to get your book. So why don't you tell us about the book? "Residency Drop Out", that doesn't sound like a real positive. It catches your attention. So, tell us about how you wrote the book, why you wrote the book.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah, yeah. I decided to own it. And one big reason for that is because I have noticed there's a lot of shame around things like leaving a residency, leaving med school. I even remember when I was in med school and I knew of people who had left, it was very shameful. It was like, "Oh, this person left" and we were whispering and no one wanted to talk about it.

I wanted to start to release some of that stigma. And honestly, since I've put my own self out there as a residency dropout, I've had so many people come to me. It's almost like people are coming out of the closet as people who've left during other parts of their training. And so, the reason I started writing the book was when I decided to start working with healthcare professionals, I did tons of market research interviews. I talked with physicians, pharmacists, all across the board for healthcare professionals. And they all asked me about the same 5 to 10 questions of, "What are you doing about your loans? Didn't that seem like such a waste? How did you decide how to use skills elsewhere outside of medicine?"

I just started to take note of all the same questions that were asked of me. And I was like, "You know what? I'm just going to write a book about this." And there was always a book on my heart. I've been blogging ever since I left medicine, literally in 2018, when I made my decision to leave, I wrote a blog post about it and I've been blogging ever since. And so, it came really naturally to me. So, I wrote the book. The first part talks about my journey specifically, and then the second part addresses all of those common questions and concerns and kind of my perspective on those things and ways that you can start to think about them differently.

John: Yeah. It's very interesting. It's just blunt really what you've written there. And I've talked to people that have made those decisions. It's really, really tough. I think in the book you've mentioned you took five weeks off and maybe you mentioned earlier today you had to take time to step back and start really kind of thinking through this process, whether it's just stopping at the end of med school. I got my MD. Forget it. I'm not going to residency. I can't take it anymore. I'm already burnt out. I've talked to so many people that are burnt out at medical school, then they're burnt out in residency. They keep thinking it's going to get better. And then they get out in the practice and then they're burnt out in practice. It's like, it's not getting better. Something has to change.

But I do want to shift gears here, again, because you're an expert in being this digital nomad, I think a term that you brought up earlier, or maybe before we got on the call. One of my favorite books of all time "The 4-Hour Workweek" by Tim Ferriss, it's just such a classic. And he was the first one that really wrote extensively about that.

I've never told this story before, but I actually went to Africa with my family. We did like a week's travel. On the way back, I saw that book in a bookstore in London. And if I look back at that trip, the highpoint of my trip is finding that book oddly enough. But it was so eye-opening. It was like, even this whole career thing, there are things you can do that are completely off the wall and different and whatever. But I want to know and you need to explain this, how does this work? You are traveling and you are finding clients. You wrote the book. You have a Facebook group and these other things. So how do you actually make this work?

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah. And so, thank God for the internet because that's how I make it all work. As you know, sometimes the internet connection isn't great. And so, there's a lot of things we have to do about that, but really my business is completely online. So, I do all of my marketing through social media, through Instagram, through Facebook. I have a podcast, all of that. Those are things you can do online. As far as serving my clients, I do all of that online as well through Zoom, through WhatsApp.

And so, because of the internet, I'm able to have my business fully sustained online. And there's plenty of people who do this in the states where they have full online businesses or they just have full remote jobs where they work remotely. Especially now after the pandemic, a lot of positions have transitioned into remote work. So, there's plenty of people who understand the concept of, "I don't go into an office. I work fully online." And actually, my dad actually always did this. He was a programmer and he always worked from home and he would wake up at 07:00 in his pajamas and go to the office, which was just right in our house. And so, I think I had this example of someone who fully can work remotely at an early age. And it just seemed so nice. He had always had so much freedom. He could drive us places. He could take care of anything that we needed at the house. And that was great. And so, I have that full remote setup, but then I take it on the road with me so then I live in different countries.

And so, right now I've been making my way down in Latin America. I don't have an exact schedule or setup but I tend to do around one month in each country. And in that month, I get an Airbnb for a month. And then I will kind of set up my office in that Airbnb and use that as my location. But then I'll go on weekend trips to different parts of the country or even day trips and explore and use this time to really see the world as I'm working remotely.

John: I think I read a quote from you somewhere as I was researching you. Something about doing a job where you don't have to take a vacation from it. But the flip side of that coin is how do you stay disciplined? It sounds like it's fun. You pretty much wake up and go, "Well, I'm going to do this today. Because it's fun. And then tomorrow I'm going to do something different, like travel out into the country." But is there any problem with that discipline or is it just like "Hey, I look forward to doing it every day and I have a plan and it gets done?"

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah. Yeah. And so, for me, because I am so heart driven and so connected to my business and the people I want to help and the impact I want to have in the world, I don't have a problem with feeling disciplined or feeling like I don't want to work. Sometimes I do need to reign it back and say, "Okay, I'm going to take the weekend off and it's okay to go do some other things."

I think one of the things that's the hardest for me is when I'm traveling and you meet other people who are traveling and they don't fully understand that you're also working full time and running a business. And then they'll want to go on a hike in the middle of the day or want to do things. And I can technically rearrange my schedule to some extent, but it's not like I'm here just fully on vacation.

And so, trying to explain that to people and then inevitably I don't do all of the main tourist things in every single place I go, because it's just too much. But then you interact with people and they're like, "Oh, you haven't been to this waterfall. What are you doing?" And then you start to feel like, "Oh, am I missing out? Am I doing this wrong? And so, it's kind of that FOMO that happens for me. But again, what a great problem to have you. I have to zoom out and take perspective and be like, "If that's one of my biggest problems, I'm great. That's fine."

John: Well, you have a schedule. If you're doing coaching, you have a schedule. That's partly the schedule. The other stuff that you do in social media and you're blogging, that can be worked around different things. So, it's kind of a combination it sounds like. Do you speak Spanish? Aren't you in a lot of Spanish speaking countries?

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah. Yeah. I do speak it, not fluently and I have a hard time understanding. So, people have to talk really slowly to me, but I can definitely get around. And it's definitely transactional level Spanish. It's not super deep conversations, but I'm working on it.

John: Yeah. I might have this fantasy of moving to Italy for six months and taking classes every day and becoming fluent in Italian in six months. I don't think that's ever going to happen. But it's a dream.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah. Well, it's beautiful. It opens up a whole new world when you start to learn a new language. I had never learned a language before. You just learn a lot about yourself as you're going through that process.

John: All right. Well, we're going to run out of time here, my self-imposed deadline. But anyway, we got to tell people. First, everything can be found at your website, right? At, right?

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yes. That's the main hub where you have links to everything else. Yes.

John: And I think now you mentioned the podcast. How long have you been podcasting now?

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Since August of 2021. So less than a year now. I'm on like episode 39 or something.

John: Okay. Yeah. I was looking through it. A lot of good guests there. Are they all interviews? No, you do solo episodes too.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: I do a mix of solo interviews based on how I'm feeling.

John: Okay. The Life After Medicine podcast. We definitely want people to find that. And they can learn more, not only about you, but about some of the guests that you have there. And we mentioned the Facebook group that's pretty active, Life After Medicine. It's the easiest way to find that. And they can pick up your book on your website.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: On my website and on Amazon. You can look for "Residency Drop Out" on Amazon.

John: There's a lot that you put out in the last couple years. It's pretty amazing. Tell me more, some advice now for my listeners or people that are either burnt out or just frustrated or they're tired, or they've been working for 20 years. And to me sometimes working in medicine for 20, 25 years is you are kind of peaked and maybe you should do something else and use those skills in different ways in ways that don't make you work 60 to 80 hours a week.

So, what advice would you have for any clinician? Because you deal with all kinds of clinicians, former clinicians. What kind of advice would you have if they're feeling frustrated and they just really don't know how to get started or what to do?

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah. The first thing I would say is honor your discontent because it matters. If you're not happy and it's not like happiness where you have to be joyful and smiling and laughing every single day. But if you are feeling burnt out and unfulfilled and discontent, more often than not that matters. And it's important to honor that and to listen to that and really give it the space that it needs. From there, if you don't know where to start, I always tell people to start with what you want. And that can feel like such a hard question, because we're not used to asking it and we're not used to answering it. We're used to talking about what's expected of me or what's the responsible thing to do or what should I do? What do other people expect from me or need from me?

But if it's important to you to feel fulfilled in life and in your career, you have to start by asking yourself what you want. And that can be a whole process. It can take some time. But that would be the primary question. Like what do I want my day to look like? What do I want my day to feel like? If I could wave a magic wand and really create anything, what would that look like? And that doesn't necessarily mean that's what you're going to go for, but that gives you insight into what is underneath, what are your desires, what do you really want. So, start there.

John: And another thing that I've heard you showed by example too, is that maybe you need to take a break to figure that out. To do it in the middle of working 60, 70 hours a week is almost impossible. You just don't have the mental energy or the time. So, in talking with your clients in whatever field, is there a certain timeframe that unless you take at least that much time, you find it works better than just sort of say, "Well, I'm going to take an hour on Saturday to have those thoughts?"

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: I would say a month is a good, like minimum length of time. Because even for me, when I was going through my five weeks leave of absence, the first two weeks, all I really did was sleep. And I still have my journal from that time. And I was journaling and trying to figure out my life, but I was like, "But I'm so tired." And I couldn't figure anything out in those first two weeks because I needed to just get myself back to a baseline of health and be well rested. And then it was in the next two weeks that clarity really started to come for me.

John: Yeah. Because when I heard you say that, I thought, "Okay, well, here is what's going to happen. You're going to say I need to take a week off. I'm burnt out and I need to think about things. And so, during that week I'm taking my family to Disney World." No, that's not a break. That's just another week of torture.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: You would need a vacation from that vacation. That's for sure.

John: That's right. Okay, Chelsea. This has been very helpful, very inspiring for my listeners. I have been happy that you've been here today. I appreciate it. And with that, I'll just have to say goodbye.

Dr. Chelsea Turgeon: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me on the show. It was a great conversation.

John: You're welcome. It's been my pleasure.


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.