I came across a piece titled Retired Surgeons’ Reflections on Their Careers which polled 2295 retired surgeons. The results of the survey are shown below.
What is interesting is that over 50% wish they had done things differently. As to be expected spending more time with family came out as the number one regret. I imagine it is the number one regret of everyone who has had or has a very demanding career. My view has always been that in such careers your time is not your own – there is really only the illusion of control. Undoubtedly many people probably enjoy the demands placed upon them by an external system as evidenced by the fact that there was still a percentage of surgeons who didn’t feel the regret of not spending enough time with family. This undoubtedly applies to anyone with a career focus for some family is not a thing, for others, it is a big thing that they let slip.
Such a survey does raise the question of what are the regrets we all share looking back.
PS: I did note with interest that only a very small percentage wished they had been humbler.