Back on track?

So I shadowed the dentist today, and rather than sparking any real interest in being a DMD, it only served to reaffirm my interest in my previous vocation. It was a very interesting practice. Everything was digital: the xrays, patient records, he even had a little camera that he could use to take macro shots of everyone's teeth. What I soon realized was that all of questions I was asking had to do with the business side of dentistry (and things like quality of life) and very little to do with the day to day practice of fixing teeth. The palette was too small. I needed something bigger to work on. I needed people to push me to do more.

The dentist was a relatively young guy like me, and seem to be very eager to try new things and make as much money as he can with his business. He does root canals, orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, working on being able to administer anesthesia, purchased lots of high tech equipment, but at the end of the day he's just a high class mason or plumber or electrician. It's a well paying blue collar job. You can do a lot of stuff, but there is only so much creativity you can exercise.

There is also a surprisingly high amount of cost associated with becoming a dentist and owning your own practice. I'd need another year of undergraduate science courses, I'd need to take the DAT, and I'd need to go through dental school and probably one year of associate work. That is a minimum of 6 years of my life and 200,000 of debt (not to mention I could easily make 6yr x 80k = $480k over that period). Then I would need to purchase a practice which would cost nearly 400k (building, equipment, goodwill [basically the book of customers]). The total cost is close to $1M just to have a job that will pay approx 200,000 a year that would limit me to something I am not that interested in. I'd much rather take that time and money and just bust my ass towards doing well in investment management and be a pension fund manager or working in (or owning) an investment consulting firm 10 years from now. I'll work a little more, but I think I will enjoy what I do a lot more once I get to that level. I should call Bob (my old boss at the Retirement System) to see how he is doing and get his take on things.

My biggest problem is that I just haven't had anything I've wanted to put my mind and energy towards lately besides working out, working in the neighborhood, and working on shit with Chris. That being said I guess 2 outta 3 ain't bad. I have a lot of confidence in myself to accomplish the things I want once I can latch on to them, it's just so hard for me to second guess myself.

My course of action now is to study for the CFA and the CAIA. If I continue to piddle around in Columbia I can be 2/3 finished with the CFA and done with the CAIA by next fall. For what I am interested in doing, it would be the equivalent of having an MBA but the total cost will be less than $5k to complete both programs, not to mention it will take a lot less time. I can even work in the mean time if I want. I think it would be cool to audit a few courses at USC and maybe even try to work out an interesting internship. That being said, I don't have to stay in Columbia, it would just be cheap, easy and convenient. I also would have a nice social sphere to keep me entertained. It would probably make more sense to go to a place like Boston or San Francisco (or maybe even Tokyo or London... I'm kind of done with NYC) so I'd have more opportunities to network as well as study at interesting universities.

Anyway, that's the plan for now, but I have a tendency to change them about as frequently as I do my laundry. We shall see...

Talked with a few friends about what to do with my ex. They all seemed to think waiting a few days wasn't a big deal and was probably the best route to take. Give her some time to imagine what it would be like without me. I'll try to write up what I want to say and send it over early next week.

I also went to the river again today. It's getting awfully warm for April.