ThePhysicianCareerNetwork |ARTICLE
Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians.

How to Find a Career Direction, Part One, by William S. Frank   [I gave this conference speech to 120 physicians in a 30-minute time slot. :BF]

You're looking at one of my favorite cartoons . . .

I've spent the last 29 years "pushing" people in the right career direction—hopefully not violently—and my task in this paper is to simplify the process for you.

Here's the problem: finding a good career fit is extraordinarily complex. As one physician said, "It's like trying to crack a safe."

First of all, there are 75 industries, 100,000 different occupations, and 14 million companies. That's a lot of complexity. If you do the math, you'll find that physicians occupy less than 1% of the workforce. The non-clinical is a big, big world.

Where do you fit . . . ?
Do you belong in a small startup, or a 100-, 1000-, 10,000-person company? What should your duties and responsibilities be . . . ? How much time should you spend alone versus time with others? Are you more of a team player or individual contributor?

Should you be managing others? If so how many—2, 20, 200, or 2,000? What do you want your boss be like—autocratic or democratic, male or female? Would you like your leader to be mentoring, hands-off or hands-on? How old or how young?

What about travel? Would you travel 10% for the perfect job? 20% 60% 80%? Where wouldn't you live? Would you live in an industrial town in the northeast, for example? Or a high-density city like Los Angeles?

A job I don't hate
You'd like the PERFECT job—a job you love—but you're hedging your bets. One physician in the midst of a career transition said, "I no longer want a job I love. I'd be satisfied with a job I just DON'T HATE."

By creating several thousand job offers I've learned, "You can be 2-3° off course, and walk into a wall instead of a doorway." That's why we hear so much about rejection in the job market.

That's why we need a guiding principle. Harold Kushner has written eight books, including, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, and When All You Ever Wanted Isn't Enough. Kushner has written a guiding principle we can use:

"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

Isn't that interesting . . . ?

When he says "The circumstances of your life," what does he mean? He means all your experiences, both positive and negative. Everything you've lived through has added to your value and your marketability.

Positive: Negative:
Life History Mistakes / Failures
Friendships Adversities
Education Disappointments
Work Accomplishments Losses
Successes Fears / Doubts
Financial Firepower Weaknesses

What is the key message of this talk? Your career direction is already inside you, stamped in your DNA. It's contained in your likes and dislikes, in your aptitudes, in your 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, that will serve as a compass. You'll eliminate 99% of the 75 industries, 99% of 100,000 jobs, and 99% of 14 million companies. You'll be left with a very small area of the target. We call that the bull's-eye. Next.

:: Go to Part Two.  :: Return to index of articles.


"No wind favors s/he who has no destined port." —Montaigne

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