Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Create your own career transition story

We all know that a major career transition can feel daunting.

It's one thing if you have 3+ years to plan the transition, map out your different options, and have a robust roadmap along with a GPS. As long as you have plenty of gas and good tires on your vehicle, you'll eventually reach your destination. You may encounter a few unexpected detours, but you know where you're going and you know how you'll get there.

Unfortunately, some people find themselves needing to accelerate the process and they start their journey without a map or without a GPS. In many cases, they don't even know where they're trying to go. Are they driving to Boston, Dallas, or Chicago?

I'd like to offer one suggestion for any physician who is contemplating a major career transition: Be sure to expand your social network and surround yourself with people who can properly guide you.

I realize that one problem with my suggestion is that you're likely to encounter many different opinions from different people who have had different experiences. That's expected, but it can also lead to some confusion. Ultimately, you may need to perform your own little meta-analysis of all the advice that you receive. To review, a meta-analysis is:
A subset of systematic reviews; a method for systematically combining pertinent qualitative and quantitative study data from several selected studies to develop a single conclusion that has greater statistical power. This conclusion is statistically stronger than the analysis of any single study, due to increased numbers of subjects, greater diversity among subjects, or accumulated effects and results.
Every career transition story is unique and represents an anecdotal study (that includes qualitative and quantitative data). There may be some common themes and elements, but there are many different and creative ways to develop your career transition story.

Finally - remember that if you're planning a career into the full-time business world, it's always possible to pivot into different industries. An anesthesiologist can't easily pivot into a career as a psychiatrist. However, a physician who enters the pharmaceutical industry may later pivot and go into health policy or health information technology. Expand your set of transferable skills so that you can be a valuable contributor across different industries.

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