Step One: A Simple "Brain Dump," by William S. Frank
Ben Miller, a Harvard-trained surgeon hired me to help him navigate his transition out of clinical medicine into the commercial world. When we began, he presented me with this “brain dump,” a collection of his thoughts and ideas, and I found it extremely useful in understanding his situation. You can re-create this chart yourself, and it will be a good beginning point:
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I have a great wife and 2 kids (2 and 5) whom I enjoy very much. The stress/dread of current job is beginning to make me (and thus my family) unhappyand we like being happy.
- GOOD aspects of current job as private practice Internist
- Work with good people whom I respect.
- Get to perform fun procedures.
- Earn $250K-$500K/year.
- Get to take +/- 4-6 weeks off a year (at my choosing).
- Can live in a smaller town with amazing house and no commute.
- BAD aspects of current job as private practice Internist
- Pace is punishing and unpredictable.
- Always fearing I am overlooking something.
- No end to call nights.
- Unrealistic patient expectations.
- Constant fear of being sued.
- Little time to interact (chit-chat) with co-workers.
- Not vetting new ideas or meeting interesting new people.
- Little changes.
- Extremely high (e.g. difficult to meet) paperwork and other performance standards.
- Feels like I’m swimming upstream.
- Current Goals
- Find job that I look forward to on Sunday afternoon.
- Minimize move distance: stay in Seattle > Portland > Vancouver BC > San Francisco
> San Diego (I expect that we will move).
- Make over 130K/year and have somewhat flexible shedule.
- Have less constant stress.
- Have my wife work part time and have me work less to have better balance.
- Elements that I have/or think I might like in a job
- Work with a small group of people I like.
- Work hard in spurts and conversely be able to take time off if work light.
- Working with people from diverse backgrounds, but share intelligence and sense of humor.
- Reasonable salary and/or possibility of very large payout down the road.
- Developing novel devices.
- Doing medical (or animal lab) procedures/flying?.
- Somewhat casual (but no sloppy) work environment.
- Meeting with bright individuals with novel ideas.
- Searching for and learning about new ideas/devices.
- Compatible with a family.
- I enjoy being there.
- My strengths
- Not brilliant but very clevercan quickly grasp and contribute to new ideas.
- Can read people very well and network.
- Can work very hardin spurts.
- Am loyal to friends.
- Willing to take calculated risks.
- My Weaknesses
- It’s challenging to hide feelings if I dislike someone.
- Can lose interest if something drags on. (But do not lose interest in individuals.)
- Bristle at criticisma subtle hint from someone I respect is all I
needotherwise I get defensive.
- Can be distracted by thinking of new options.
Passing up big money doctor job and dragging my family along on a Quixotic search for my
dream job and subsequently not finding it.
- Relax. Realize that my current job is not sustainable and look for something else.
- Carefully weigh my options.
- Practical Considerations
- I have to tell my practice I’m leaving by Mayit’s getting difficult not to tell them now.
- Would rather not move, but it’s possible to do so.
- Willing to take salary cut for better fitting job, but still need to make some $.