The frequent changing of rotations and departments delivers a fresh experience that has immense appeal for residents. Shifting one’s mindset to the routine of life as an attending physician requires adjustment, but is critical for Career growth and longevity.
Today’s workforce, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fully anticipates having between twelve and fifteen jobs in a lifetime. Unfortunately, many millennials are all too eager to reach that mark with haste.
There are tangible benefits to remaining at a physician job for more than a few years. Having a strategy to deal with the adjustment to a new position is key.
Remember that you don’t know everything. Trust in your training but capitalize on the experience of nurses and more seasoned Physicians. The game of medicine requires constant learning, and residency was just the starting point of acquiring knowledge.
Understand that you are building a resume, and your track record speaks volumes. There is no perfect job, and every position has its perks and challenges. Resist the temptation to always be looking for the next better thing. Take your time and thoroughly explore what you actually want out of a position. While the lure of a generous salary is tempting, look deeply into why that position pays more than other comparable jobs. Unfortunately, the crush of residency leaves little time for job exploration, but starting out on the right foot makes all the difference in a career that will span three or four decades.
Consider the following points:
- It takes time to build rapport and to earn the trust and respect of the staff. Don’t let disillusionment and frustration cloud judgment. Work as a team and enjoy coming together to solve problems and improve the work environment along the way.
- Job-hopping creates the impression that one is not a team player. Hospitals and physician groups want stability and look for that trait when hiring.
- You will grow and mature into a position. The first several months will be painful, but your competence and skill will quickly adapt.
- Get involved from day one. Volunteer to serve on committees and give lectures. Use this opportunity to build a network. Medicine is a demanding life, and having friends within your hospital provides support and softens the inevitable blows that come from a career in medicine.
- Find a mentor to guide and counsel. Senior physicians have a wealth of experience and wisdom to share. Having a mentor will accelerate your career and help you work through the challenging issues that will surface at a new job.
- The world of medicine is smaller than you think. Job-hopping is frowned upon, and hiring a new physician requires a significant investment. A resume that proves you are capable and willing to work through problems will make you a sought after resource in the future. Word travels fast, and you will need current references for a new job. Given two equally qualified candidates for a position, the one who changes jobs every few years will lose.
- Consider dating. If you are serious about moving on, be up front with all involved. Read your contract carefully. Consider moonlighting at a new facility to see if the fit is right.
On a personal note, I took a job out of residency that turned out to be the wrong fit. Fortunately, I had moonlighted at two other facilities and had a good idea where I wanted to go. I let the administrator know my intent to leave in the next six months but would continue to fulfill all my duties as planned. I left on friendly terms and continued to moonlight for the first hospital over the next two years. I still remain in contact with several of the physicians fifteen years later.
The job options for physicians are endless, but that doesn’t mean changing positions every 1-2 years is wise. Investing time up front and carefully weighing decisions provides career dividends for years to come. The world of medicine is small and word travels quickly. Build a resume of conscientious work and contribution, and when a job change is needed, the choices will be available for the taking.