For physician career change, what is my one good book?

physician career change bookI am often asked for a recommended reading list for those of you yearning for physician career change. There are several on my list, including a few written expressly for physicians (and here), but if I had to pick one for those of you feeling particularly clueless about where to start, one of my favorites is “I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This” by Julie Jansen.

The subtitle, “A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work” says it all.

Jansen starts at the beginning of what I term The Odyssey (a journey filled with adventures, exploration AND obstacles to be overcome!) by having you identify what your current work situation is. She notes six typical work situations (you may identify more than one in yours):

  1. Where’s the meaning? Are you seeking a renewed sense of reward and satisfaction at work? This applies to those of you seeking greater fulfillment on the job.
  2. Been there, done that, but still need to earn. If you can’t imagine sticking it out in your current job or practice for another x many years, but you still need to maintain your income, this is your situation.
  3. Bruised and gun-shy. Your workplace has changed for the worse and yet you are ambivalent about trying another one, in case you’re jumping from the pan into the fire!
  4. Bored and plateaued. It is surprising how common this situation is for physicians. The prevailing myth says that each day in clinical practice is highly varied and exciting. Not so, many doctors will insist!
  5. Yearning to be on your own. You are the physicians who are dreaming of striking out on your own instead of working for a group or an ever expanding organization.
  6. One toe in the retirement pool. If you fall into this category, most of you will recognize that stepping away from clinical practice might need to be gradual, and that your main desire is to find alternative sources of income to supplement your retirement OR add fresh excitement, on your own terms, instead of riding fully into the sunset!

Vision, Values, Attitudes and Physician Career Change Readiness

Jansen then goes on to my favorite step (and often the most overlooked by those of you in a rush for physician career change) – clarifying your core values, your attitudes and feelings, your sense of purpose, and your vision for your “best life”, while also determining your own “physician career change readiness”.

The book is filled with quizzes, assessments, and tools specific to each of the six kinds of work situations, and she ends with The Ten Keys to Success. My older version of the book, published in 2003, lacks the updated version’s content around how to use social media and how the world of work has changed.

And if you want detailed guidance with your own physician career change, take a look at The Physician’s Odyssey Program right here on this site.

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