Not an Arsonist. Salary: $40,000
You love playing with your chemistry set, mixing all the different chemicals to see which ones explode. After a few mishaps on the home front, your high school guidance counselor suggests that you pursue a career that's technical, chemical, and (most importantly) good for other human beings. As you start your residency, you realize she was steering you away from a career as an arsonist.
Budding Anesthesiologist. Salary: $50,000
Deep into your residency, you're working sixty-hour weeks, but loving the fact that for the first time in your life, you're absolutely raking in the dough. You can afford just about everything you want. Your high school job had you flipping burgers for minimum wage. But this? $50,000? How could it possibly get any better?
Anesthesiologist. Salary: $300,000
You've completed your fifth year of a residency and are raring to go. Backaches, migraines, phantom-limb pain...none of it stands a chance. You wish you could administer your own drugs during your upcoming laparoscopic cholecystectomy next week—after all, you saw Dr. Jenkins' medical school grades. Shudder.
Cardiac Anesthesiologist. Salary $400,000
Your parents always said to follow your heart, and you took their advice...sort of. By specializing in all things cardiac, you've learned how to save lives, dull pain, and that actual hearts look absolutely nothing like emojis would have you believe.
Dr. Done-It-All. Salary $500,000
After doing this for many, many years, you stand ready on the eve of retirement having improved the lives of many and piled up mountains of money along the way. You're already on many philanthropic boards and have become a respected and active volunteer in your community. Who knows? Maybe you'll take a gig with the neighborhood fire department after your final surgery happens next month. Life is, and will be, sweet.