See, I hear this often. People warning anyone who is considering a career as a physician to realize it's not like on t.v. etc...
But, isn't it that people choose to work the long hour careers? Is there no option for a relatively lighter workload? Surely there are doctors content to make 65,000 dollars a year in some lesser position somewhere, working typical hours?
Yes, anyone can work as much or little as they choose unless you are a salaried employee. Then, you work whatever is agreed upon in your contract. Some of the women I trained with chose to split one full-time, salaried position at a mental health center. They each worked 16 hours a week, had no benefits (use their husbands'), and were paid hourly (around $80-100/hour). Another guy I trained with is now the medical director for three psyc hospitals and probably makes around $600k/year. He works crazy hours, has call 24-7-365 unless on vacation and is still likely to be called if something really bad happens while he's away. He really does nothing but work.
Other specialties will usually function as a group practice. You take call for your group's patients and call fro any hospital where you have privileges. You are paid based on your billing minus the group's shared overhead. A married couple who are both Family Practice docs share call with 2 other practices, but he works full-time and she work 1/2 time now that they have kids. Other married physician couples both work full-time and use nannies to raise their kids.
You can set up your job however you want. You just have to take into account all of the +/- of what you want to do.
Something else to consider is the cost of school. You can go into the military and they own you once you are done, but education is free. You can also find underserved areas for some specialties and the NHSC will pay off a portion of your loans each year you work there (I did this). Some private practices will offer some loan repayment options. Most state schools are $25-30k/year in-state for tuition alone and you it's extremely difficult to work while in school.