After nine months as a medical resident, 25-year-old Cheng Qi now regrets becoming a doctor, a career he dreamed about when he was a teenager. Dr Cheng studied for seven years at the Tongji Medical University in Wuhan before becoming a surgical resident at a grade-A hospital in Shanghai on a salary of less than 3,000 yuan a month. That was relatively low for a mainland professional. Accountants and MBAs often command higher salaries, while in Hong Kong, a fresh medical graduate earns an average of HK$30,000 a month. Dr Cheng's job includes assisting in operations, carrying out senior doctor's orders, visiting wards and recording patients' progress. 'My job is hard. I work to exhaustion every day and sometimes I feel I am like a migrant worker on a construction site,' Dr Cheng said. 'I am under a lot of psychological pressure. Besides the medical aspect, I have to consider the patients' economic situation. If they're poor, we pursue different treatment. I also need to be careful to avoid complaints from patients, and follow the medical authority's regulations when ordering medicines.' He said he often worked overtime without pay. 'I have night duty every four days. Sometimes I don't sleep at all.' Dr Cheng also said every doctor took kickbacks, and every drug company offered under-the-table payments. 'In China today almost any other job is easier than being a doctor and you can earn more. If my child wants to be a doctor, I will break his or her legs.'