For physician career change, especially if you are contemplating a non-clinical path, you may feel overwhelmed about where to start. I came across a helpful article, “Looking To Do Something Different? An Eight-Step Process To Discover Alternative Careers” by Caroline Ceniza-Levine, that offers useful ideas.
Here is my take on the article, using the author’s titles.
Strengthen Your Inner Compass
Before you jump online to discover the next job with “your name on it”, it’s important that you explore your personal terrain – your passions and interests, your skills and talents and what your idea is of work-life balance. What makes you smile or laugh? What are you good at? What do you still want to learn?
Keep An Ideas list (Separate From A To-Do List)
As you are doing that all-important inner work, pay close attention to the outside as well. Log (written is better – I personally use the wonderful, portable, free OneNote) the items that catch your attention, the ideas you come up with, the articles or books or webpages that fascinate you. This isn’t the time to rule ideas in or out, based on their practicality or feasibility. This is the time to play in the sandbox!
Look For Interesting Stories
Keep your eyes and ears open for stories that capture your attention — people doing things that intrigue you, issues that you care about, industries or roles that fascinate you. Note what it is that you know AND don’t know, but WANT to know. This is your idea generation phase. Use this time to read and investigate as widely as possible, and pay particular attention to people’s stories.
Look For Interesting People
Who is doing what you would love to be doing? What has been their career path? How have they embarked on physician career change? Business magazines such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Wired, Inc. (all my favorites), and LinkedIn with its people and company profiles, are great places to find career overviews of the people whose lives and jobs attract you.
Look For Interesting Problems
What problems are the people, organizations, industries facing? What novel solutions are emerging? In the words of the article, “What are the problems you care enough about to want to solve?”
Find Out What Your Favorite Company Looks Like Behind The Scenes
Hopefully, you are beginning to home in on areas or companies that interest you. What steps can you take to get an inside take on one of the companies – the article recommends you pick one that you admire to begin with. What do you want to know? Who can you talk to? This is where LinkedIn may be a valuable entry point as well.
Keep Adding Ideas, Stories, People, Problems And Companies
Don’t stop at one company- keep adding to your list of ideas, concepts, designs, places and people to explore. Keep that log of ideas flowing.
Practice With What You Already Know [for physician career change]
As much as you might want to escape your life as a practicing physician, recognize that you have likely built a huge cache of skills, insights, abilities and connections within medicine. What health care problems need solving, that you care enough about to tackle? How can you leverage what you already know and can do? What is one scaled-down, tip-your-toe-in-the-water place you could start? Who feels the same way and wants to align with you? Perhaps this is really where to take step one towards physician career change.
Once you’ve worked your way through these 8 steps, consider The Physician’s Odyssey Program to guide you through the rest of the journey to your new position.