#SheWearsThePants: Youngjee Choi, Physician, on Efficiency, Motivation, and Seeking Advice

Youngjee Choi, Internist/primary care physician, Baltimore, MD


What are some of the most important things to know about you?

I come from a family of 3 girls (I am the oldest). Now I have two young boys at home and I'm trying to figure out the work/life balance thing.

What do you do - and what what drives you in your career as well as personal endeavors?

I work as an academic internist–which means I see patients in clinic while also doing research and teaching as part of my career.

What does ambition personally mean to you - what place does it have in your life?

Ambition means to doing things that you care about or are responsible for the best that you can. I apply this to my work as a physician and as a wife and mother.

Do you think our culture perceives “ambition” to be a dirty word for women? Why or why not?

I think the culture finds it ok for women to be ambitious. Where I think it is still hard for women is how we achieve our ambitions–if women are pursuing their goals in a way that are perceived to be more assertive, we are labeled as bossy or worse.

What does ‘having confidence’ mean to you - what place does it have in your life? How do you work on it?

Having confidence is knowing your worth and what you have to offer, putting forth your best based on that. I work on that by relying on people who are older and wiser for advice and support.

Please share one of your current, important goals (can be personal or work-related). Why is this a goal and how did you realize it was something that you wanted to work on? What’s your plan for achieving it?

To figure out work life balance. It’s important because I have two young boys at home and I am still early/junior in my career. My plan to achieve this? I think it’s something one has to constantly work on, but my plan is to reassess on a regular basis and ask advice from women who have struggled with this before.

What do you do if you are having a hard time defining goals?

Meeting with mentors who can help me figure out my thoughts and define what is important for me.

How do you stay motivated to fulfill your goals and sense of ambition, and what do you do when you get stuck?

I stay motivated thanks to a working environment filled with great and hard-working people. When I get stuck, I talk with others–mentors and colleagues. I am repeating myself–but I believe in order to be successful, it's so important to remember that you don't have to do it alone. 

What is one tool/trick/lifehack/resource/service do you use to stay productive?

I make home, home time and work, work time. I think having the time at home to be fully engaged with my family helps me stay focused when I am at work.

What activities do you do outside of your full-time gig (whether that’s work, parenting or something else)? How do you find time to do it? How does it make you more successful in your full-time gig?

Right now it’s mainly spending time with my family. I have a 2.5 year old and a 4 month old. It makes me more successful in that it pushes to be more efficient when I’m at work so I can be 100% mom/wife when I go home.

What would you do with an extra 15 minutes a day?

Spend with my husband after the kids are in bed!