I am a DIY guy. I like to “do it myself”; I hate relying on others. I am not even a big fan of being served at a restaurant. It’s just awkward, staring at a stranger do simple tasks in front of me. I can carry a plate and pour a cup – thank you very much. At work I feel stupid asking a nurse to get a blanket or a cup of water for my patients. Other times I’m being like my 2 year old: I want to try something I have never done myself and I usually do it wrong.
Though I don’t consider it a flaw to try and be a little more self-sufficient, I obviously need to get over myself. I only do a few things efficiently. Variety in our daily work tasks can help ones longevity. Doing the same thing over and over, even if you are good at it and paid well for it, wears on you if don’t mix it up now and again. That’s why I like ER work. Variety is there. I don’t know how radiologists read scan after scan or anesthesiologists do tube after tube or surgeons do operation after operation or internists do BP check after BP check. More power to you guys.
But when should we stop playing renaissance man and ask for help?
When it isn’t our job.
Docs often have this mentality that every task asked of us is ours to do. We feel obligated by every request. Some of us are asked to mentor when we have no teaching skill or passion. There is a reason we are not all academics. Some of us are asked to be on committees when we have no leadership skill or passion. There is a reason we are not all managers. Sometimes a patient’s request is best filled by a tech, nurse, or specialist. If you can, doesn’t mean you should, especially when another individual is already paid for that role. Yeah, you might be paid more than the academic, manager, and tech, but you are paid more precisely because you are not assigned those other roles. This not an excuse to be the jerk who doesn’t help at all, but actually a call to be humbled to learn you can’t do it all. I often honestly tell nurses at work “I’m the worst nurse” and I’m amazed at what they do.
When it’s so darn cheap.
This is the most subjective and relative reason but it isn’t any less true. I decided to use a service that delivers air filters when I need them. For maybe a dollar more, if that, I don’t need to burn the gas to head to Lowes 6 times a year or store a large big box of a dozen. Plus now I have a built in reminder to not let our AC units strain against dog hair matted filters. I wanted to mow my “castle” lawn but wife convinced me to save my energy for family time or an extra shift and pay a someone $40 for 2 hours of work. Convenience for a fee. Note what it is, don’t go crazy with it, but don’t be cheapskate.
When we ain’t got the time.
The only thing we thought was weird about our house when we bought it was the master bath. It had half wall right to your left when you entered that had the toilet crammed up against it facing a dark “cave” shower but then plenty of wasted space. My wife spent tons of time designing a better use of the space, saving us thousands while making it to our liking. So I considered doing my part. Surely I could do the demo? Well luckily I didn’t delve into the unknown 2 layers of tile or loose wiring. Instead I worked some extra shifts instead and hired a crew who had done this before and knew how to troubleshoot quicker.
When it’s killing the joy.
One of the best ways to save money is to not eat out. But it is also so joyous. You can go with a huge group of family and friends, all choose your different favorite foods, spend the whole food prep time chatting together, and then leave without even bringing the dishes to the sink. Sometimes you need a slice of joy. As long as you don’t eat the cake every night, it’s worth it.
What do you outsource? How did you justify it?