ThePhysicianCareerNetwork |ARTICLE
Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians.
 

How to Find a Career Direction, Part Four, by William S. Frank

TRAPS along the way . . .

Trap #1: Confusing the WHAT with the HOW.
It's important to allow yourself a quiet time to be unrealistic, to imagine a different, better future without the constraints of logic [WHAT would I like to do?]. Once you have several ideas in mind, you can subject them to the harsh light of practical reality [HOW are we going to get there?]. If you begin with HOW—what is totally practical—you may leave some of your brightest, and highest-paying possibilities undiscovered.

Trap #2: Working 80-100 hour weeks.
If you work this hard, you can't get leverage on the job market. You can't make calls. You can't meet people. You can't research opportunities. Consider negotiating 7 days/week to 4, 4 days to 3—you need space. At first, you may think this is impossible. However, we've helped several physicians negotiate this kind of freedom to explore.

Trap #3: Confiding in the wrong family and friends.
[This does not apply to spouse or partner where you need open communication and close alignment.] Your friends and family have an investment in seeing you stay the same. If you change, it rocks their world. That's why some friends may not be too excited and supportive of your crazy new ideas.

I have a friend named Barbara. If I told her I was writing a new book, she's say, "I love everything you write. If you write a book, I'll buy 100 copies." I have a second friend named Mike. If I told him I was writing a new book, he'd say, "Are you aware 75,000 new titles are published every year? I doubt you'll even get a publisher." Think carefully before sharing your dreams, confusion, uncertainty, or future plans with friends and family.

Trap #4: Making money your primary objective.
A New Yorker cartoon shows two kids in the sandbox, and one of them says, "When I grow up I want to be a hedge fund manager." What's funny about that?

Think about the physicians you know. How many earning a lot of money are also extraordinarily unhappy? Repeated research by The Society for Human Resources Management shows compensation to be number six or seven as work satisfiers. My experience tells me that those who love their work can ultimately earn more than those who don't.

Trap #5: Keeping your options open.
Did you hear about MD, Ph.D., and MBA who died with her options open?

Trap #6: Rushing to market—getting your resume "out there."
Remember: Career planning is a PROCESS not an EVENT. It's NOT a flash of lightning It's NOT a sudden Aha! [Although that can happen.] Career transition is a series of well-planned steps, like building a custom home. It takes time. As my internist father said, "Tincture of time."

What is the key message of this talk? Your mother was right, "Everything IS going to be OK—You just hafta BE YOURSELF!"

Your direction is already inside you . . . stamped in your DNA. In your likes/dislikes . . . aptitudes . . . personality . . . in your LIFE HISTORY. Your career direction is WHO YOU ARE.

Your VALUE—all caps the word VALUE—in the marketplace is that you are unique and special, one of a kind. If you follow what's in your heart, it will serve as a COMPASS. You'll eliminate 99% of 75 industries, 99% of 100,000 job titles, and 14MM companies. You'll be left with a VERY SMALL area of the target—the BULLSEYE.

As you move forward on your journey, keep Harold Kushner close at hand. Remember that . . .

"The circumstances of your life have uniquely qualified you to make a contribution. And if you don't make that contribution, nobody else can make it." —Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

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