Are student loans holding you back?

Summer came and you didn’t go on that vacation with your friends.  You were invited to an expensive restaurant and left hungry after ordering a small salad.    An awesome continuing education course was within driving distance, but you didn’t go.  

PT school loans (and often undergrad loans) suck.  We go to school for seven years and can’t afford to do the things our peers do (and oftentimes, they can’t actually afford to do them either). When we finally do get an income, too much of it goes to paying off our student loans.

Since I graduated PT school, one of my main goals was to have paid speaking opportunities.  It had been recommended by multiple people to take a professional speaking course as a step to achieving that goal.  

Everyone raved about how much it would help me, but this wasn’t a cheap course.  It cost $2,000 dollars, was only offered once a year across the country, and required four full...

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I Don’t Know What's Next For My PT Career - A Case Study

career Sep 14, 2019

Sarah was like many new graduates.  She was excited for her first job and even more excited to finally be getting a paycheck.  Sarah didn’t want to settle for her first job and she worked really hard to find a place that she enjoyed working.

After starting there, she was surprised at the amount of paperwork and other things she had to do, but overall enjoyed getting her patients better (many of them anyway).  The annoyances were tolerable and were overshadowed by the continuing education courses and other opportunities she had. She could feel herself gaining the skills that put her next to PTs she admired, but her career wasn’t anywhere close to where she wanted it to be.

Side note: As always, we change people’s name and identifying information for privacy purposes, but the story and outcomes remain unchanged

About 18 months into her job, it started to get monotonous (maybe even a bit boring). She would go to a continuing education course, get...

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Do you feel guilty as a PT not wanting to treat patients from 8-5 for the rest of your career?

burnout career Aug 29, 2019

Over the past few months, I have heard one common heartbreaking theme expressed by many of our coaching clients in the Bulletproof Career Rebellion. Frequently, they share similar statements followed by some tears. Statements like the following seem to be more common than any other topics discussed.

“I know this makes me a bad PT, but I just don’t want to be in the clinic full-time.”


“I hate to say this, but I really don’t want to treat patients full-time five years from now.”

This just breaks my heart. Not for the reason you may think. You would think I would be sad that they don’t want to be in patient care anymore. That’s not it. I am sad because they feel guilty for wanting to fulfill their dreams. I feel badly because these individuals assume that if they don’t want to work 9-5 in the clinic then that’s all there is and all there will be. If you have ever felt this way, stop blaming yourself and know that there is...

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You're Not Lazy

career Aug 19, 2019

Have you ever sat in front of an email for what feels like hours trying to determine what it will read like for the other person and whether or not you should send it?

Or have you ever known exactly what you want to accomplish, had some free time, yet found yourself doing anything BUT what you planned to complete?

It’s been more than a few times that I found myself in someway procrastinating the goals that I had set for myself.  And I know I’m not the only one.

When we do this - procrastinate, avoid, or forget our own goals - we are quick to blame ourselves.  We feel lazy or unmotivated. But, is that the real culprit? More often than not, there’s another reason.  Perfection, fear of failure/rejection, and uncertainty all work to derail us from our goals and our path.

I recently met with one of our Rebels, Justin, to discuss his progress on his goals.  (Side note: Justin’s name and identifying information has been changed for privacy...

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Hating your job may be the fastest way to having the one you love

burnout career Aug 07, 2019

Case study on going from a PT job you hate to a new one you love.

Many of us know the feeling.  You don’t want to get out of bed on Monday morning and when you finally do, the dread of going into work is like anticipating a practical exam.  During PT school, you swore nothing would be as bad as having to take practicals and you counted down the days to when they would be a thing of the past.  But then something happened. You found yourself in a job you don’t love realizing that you would rather do a practical exam than go into work… yeah, your job feels that bad.

If you have a job that makes you miss the days of being a stressed student with no paycheck, I feel for you.  Feeling like you hate work is not something you signed up for when you gave up seven years of your life and a ton of money.  But, I have to tell you something important. Hating your job may be the fastest way to having the one you love.  Hating your job may be a good...

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Don’t Ever Miss An Opportunity To Negotiate

career negotiation Jun 18, 2019

So, I am sitting in the waiting room and my car is nearly finished. The service manager informed me that they just had to pull it off the lift and I would be good to go.  I nodded to him and began thinking about what I had to do the rest of the day. Meeting, mentoring call, baseball practice and SCREEEEECH. The sound of screeching tires and a wham followed by shattering glass made me look up just in time to see my car sitting WITH me in the waiting room.  Yes, I mean WITH me. The attendant somehow drove my car through the glass window into the waiting room instead of through the open overhead door of the garage into the parking lot.

The shock wore off eventually and I was given a pickup truck as a courtesy vehicle.  Awesome. I have a wife and four kids, so this doesn’t fit us all. It was inconvenient but several weeks later my car was finally ready for pick up.  Now that the dust settled and I’m about to get my car back, I was wondering what I...

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Are You Settling for an Average PT Career? The PT Career I Never Imagined

burnout career growth Jun 08, 2019

About week ago I was standing looking out at Niagara Falls with some of my favorite people.  I wasn’t on vacation, I was working. And I wasn’t just working. I had traveled with colleagues to Buffalo to use the Y-Balance Test (one of my "professional babies") for testing the players at the NHL Combine.  This wasn’t my typical Thursday, but its not completely unusual either. However, if you asked me what I was doing 15 years ago on a Wednesday afternoon, the backdrop would have appeared a lot different than the 8th wonder of the natural world and professional sports.

15  years ago I was in the clinic full time.  I was working a typical schedule and imagining a day with more athletes, more flexibility, and honestly something different. I remember thinking maybe PT was no longer for me. I still remember the level of frustration on one particular day when I was doing passive ROM on what felt like the 20th rotator cuff repair of the day.


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I wasted $20,000 dollars paying off my PT student loans

career student loans May 16, 2019

They say ignorance is bliss and I have to say that when it came to my loans, this statement couldn’t be more accurate.  At the end of PT school, I remember sitting in a presentation about loans. The speaker discussed how credit card debt was like bad cholesterol and student loans were like good cholesterol.  I’m a sucker for analogies and took this sentiment in full stride. I had good cholesterol. Nothing to worry about. Nothing needed to change.

So for the first three years of repayment, I looked at my loans as necessary and harmless- they were just another expense to be paid monthly.  I set myself on a graduated plan that would increase every two years, selected autopay, and made sure the $520 was included in my budget every month.

I remember wishing I didn’t have loans, but found solace knowing that this was the only way I could have become a physical therapist.  And while it was lousy, I was paying for an education I valued highly. So, I...

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Burnout in physical therapy.... Is PT school to blame?

burnout career May 04, 2019

In a previous post we discussed the truth behind apparent mastery. It evidently hit a nerve. Either people said they had felt this way or were going to pass it on to a current student. It made me wonder if we are causing the feeling of burnout in PT school.

Here’s what I think happens:

You start PT school so excited….you have worked so hard to get there. You finally get there and you know it will be hard, but maybe not this hard. It’s okay, at least you are FINALLY studying something you actually care about (not how a lens works or how many moles are in 3 grams of Copper). Then it hits. You are once again studying things you don’t care about. There are only a few classes that actually breath life into you. But you are told to bide your time because it will get better.  You believe this wholeheartedly, put your head down, and keep working toward the finish line.

You are filled with the ideas of how important what you are learning is. It is about...

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The Reframe

career Apr 13, 2019

As I was laying in bed, my eyes shot open as if I was late for something.  But, I knew I wasn’t late. Instead, I was trying to remember how I was going to start my presentation.  I ignored the fact that it was 3 am and started searching for the words in hopes to silence my uneasiness.  This experience is nothing new for me. I never have trouble falling asleep, but when I am stressed or anxious I wake up between 2 and 3 am unable to fall back asleep.

This weekend I’ll be giving a talk at the SHAPE National Conference and my doubts and insecurities won’t let me forget it.

At one time, I would have tossed and turned the rest of the night (and subsequent nights).  But, I don’t give into it anymore. I know it is not the talk itself that is waking me up, but the fear of failure that I’m trying so hard to ignore.  Ignoring it never works (for me at least). Instead, it just gets louder and louder until I can’t ignore it.

So, I...

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