Career Change For

The issues

A career change for physicians has several areas that need to be addressed. You are part of a group that are

  • intelligent, bright individuals
  • who are earning good money and
  • are often very highly specialised.

Let's take these in reverse order. Many people may already have wide ranging experiences when they consider a career change

For physicians, however, it's slightly different. When you graduated from med school you and the rest of your class expected to use your degree and work as doctors. This is relatively rare. And the high degree of specialization you now have may mean poor development of other practical skills and broader competencies. This even has a label, 'trained incapacity'.

As a doctor you will also have become used to a certain standard of living. You may consider that a career change for physicians (or a career change for doctors, depending on the part of the world you're in!) is extremely difficult because you don't know how it's possible to make the transition while maintaining your standard of living.

And in our society it is commonly accepted that being a physician is a mark of success. So why would anybody want to leave this and do something else? A career change for physicians must indicate some pathology in the system!

You know, of course, that there is nothing 'wrong' as such. And you also know that there is something not quite right either! Sure, you have the skills and abilities to do the job well. But somehow, there is little or no pleasure in the successes. It's no longer challenging and stimulating. You've lost the passion and the desire to be doing it. Something is missing.

The vital piece?

I think what's missing from your life is 'you'. Somehow you have been consumed by the hard work, the long hours, the stresses and even the boredom of the day after day repetitiveness, and the rest of it!

Much of the advice you'll find tells you to work out what you're passionate about, what you love doing. But then you're also told to establish what your best skills are and determine how to use them in the marketplace. The tricky bit here is that they may not match. You may not be very skilled in that thing that you would secretly love to be doing. And I don't just mean a sideways move into hospital management!

So where do you start?

The common denominator in all aspects of your life is you. So start there.

There have been times in your life when things have been going perfectly. There is an all pervasive sense of well being, with no sense of problems or difficulties. You turn up and things seem to happen for you. All is well.

What's it like for you at these times? When you're in top form, or 'in the zone', what do you know about yourself?

Just pause. And re-read the last 2 paragraphs and now give yourself a few moments to consider it. Because I think it's pivotal to where you go from here. Without adding in this piece, any career change for physicians simply perpetuates the situation.

Get yourself right

This as a starting position is essential for several reasons:
  • Firstly, it's a way of being when you're actually present in your own life.
  • You are whole and complete with nothing missing or left out
  • It's an operating position from which you have an exquisite decision making process
  • Planning a successful transition becomes much easier
  • And you have access to your own passion and driving force.

This, of course, is the first step in the Be - Do - Have sequence. Be who you most want to be, and then do the things you need to do, so that you can have what you want. I can't stress enough how important this is in a career change for physicians! Or for anyone for that matter.


The mistake

Most people do this in the reverse order. They think that when they have the things they want (which is usually time and money) then they will do the things they really love. And that will allow them to be happy, fulfilled, satisfied and so on...

And if you're reading this page, you will realize that many people allow the things they do to determine who they are. And they end up compromising themselves, and the real self disappears.

I dare say some of you know what this is all about, and may even be paying the price for it. I know what it's like because I sacrificed myself for years! Until I left a career in plastic surgery to follow my own passion.

The trick

So the 'trick' is to establish a very solid sense of yourself first and foremost. Only then do you make decisions about what it is that you want to do. And then you begin to organise yourself to do just this. (occasionally reaccessing the passion reignites the desire to simply continue in medicine!)

The positive

You're already a fast learner. Add to this the fact that you're choosing to do something that you are interested in and want to be doing, and your ability to learn rises exponentially.

And along the way there will be various decisions to make. Do you make your career change for physicians all in one go, or do you transition gradually from your medical career to your new career? Are you going to be your own boss or an employee? Do you have something that you do well already and want to pursue it full time, or start afresh?

Remember that whatever career you choose, there is somebody in the world making a fantastic living from it.

I know you may have some ideas about these things already from the position you're now in. So be aware that when you change your operating position, when you shift your way of being, it also changes how and what you think. So you may find yourself making different decisions later.

Some of my tips on career advice equally apply to career change for physicians.


Plain sailing?

By no means am I saying that a career change for physicians is or will be easy and comfortable. There will be times when it most definitely is not.

However, when you understand how to operate from a solid sense of who you are, you begin with a sense of success and satisfaction intact. From this position, the things you choose to do will allow you to keep this intact.

So even if the going gets tough, you know that you're living your own life...

Oh! One more thing...

N.B. Be very wary of the phrase 'I'll just do another year or two of this and then...'

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