Is it money? prestige? recognition? helping others? a means to an end? retirement? some carrot, to be sure. But sometimes it is quite difficult to define that "carrot." Assuredly, it is different for each individual.
R and I talk about this quite a lot. Neither of us being our own boss, working in large companies, answering to supervisors, and their supervisors, can often be tiring... not to mention, frustrating... especially since we are both outspoken and intelligent; we know what we want. The problem is, we sometimes can see problems arising leagues ahead while others are concerned about what is just in front of their noses.
Case in point, at our most recent all docs meeting, our chief spoke of his dream of making our (physicians!!) group a franchise like McDonald's: a franchise that can deliver 'quality, low cost food in a clean environment... as a unique (medical) experience.' I have nothing against McDonald's, but I see SO MUCH wrong with this statement. Yet, it was as if I was the only one that heard it, out of 300+ docs. No one reacted. The rest of the time (more than 2 hours) was spent in various shouting matches regarding paid vacations.
For me, I don't mind so much the knowledge that I will always have to answer to my patients. That's a given. That part is easy. I care about them, and they know it. Answering to 'the others' is a challenge, especially since they often are, quite honestly, less educated, unionized, 'untouchable,' so to speak; and the ones that are well-educated seem to be caught up in... I don't know? numbers? cash-flow? statistics? so much that they are also seemingly untouchable, unreachable.
Some people, it seems, are happy, content to be followers. Others are, well, simply put--NOT. They need to be leaders, their own person, so to speak. I think R and I fall into that category. So, this is what we strive for. Yup... definitely need to get going on that private practice.
Maybe, for us, the carrot is just the knowledge that we answer to ourselves...