Before you spend time (or money) searching for a new career path, it is useful to sit back and objectively rank your priorities from most important to least important so that you can see in clear terms what you really value in your career.
If you are considering a change, you need to make sure that you transition to a job that still gives you the job characteristics that you rank at the top of your list.
One of the huge advantages of being a doctor is that you have choices.
- What aspects of your work do you most enjoy?
- How would you personally rank this list of career qualities in order of importance?
- How many of your most important values are you getting from your job right now?
Which of the following priorities do you value the most?
*Having a busy schedule
*Approval (of someone in particular?)
*Avoiding disapproval (of someone in your life?)
*Proving that you are good enough for your job (did someone say you couldn't do it or that you weren't good enough?)
*Competing with someone
*Having free time
*An income that you consider desirable
*Being attractive for a romantic partner
*Helping others who are sick
*Improving patient quality of life
*Feeling like a leader
*Feeling that you are a good person
*Work environment is enjoyable
*Aspire to imitate a role model
*Feeling 'in demand'
*Enjoy understanding how the body works
*Comfortable around patients
*Personally experienced a medical problem and want to help others in the same position you were in
*Feel a connection with patients
*Divine/ spiritual calling
*Enjoy seeing the results of your work
When you think about which of these qualities you consider most important, you might notice that your current job is or isn't fulfilling your priorities. Some of the above professional characteristics are so important to some people, but do not matter to other people at all. Take 'solving problems', for example. Some people consider that a necessity of the work day, while many others simply don't care. Some people are inspired by the example set by a role model, and are willing to overcome hurdles to reach that role model's level of success and expertise.
Re-evaluating your goals is a good idea every 6-18 months, because your goals might change. I have talked to many doctors who need to see a full schedule in the appointment calendar in order to feel competent, and in demand. But after 5-7 years, that need is often fulfilled, and then a different aspiration arises, such as the need to practice leadership. You can achieve your aspirations as milestones throughout the years of your career.
If it is time for you to make a transition, you can start with instructions provided in the nonclinicaldoctors.com transition toolkit for tips and use the useful links to get started on the process.