Pursue the career you really want: Empower yourself (Step 6)

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It’s funny how when you’re actively working on pursuing your career goals–completing a degree, or finishing up training–you’re so focused on that task that you forget to ask yourself if it’s still what you want.  I know I’ve come on the other side of my physician training with a lot of questions about my career.  What I thought I wanted it to look like no longer holds true.  I think that’s the case for many individuals.  However, for many, what you’re doing now may be all you know.

(In case you missed it: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4, Step 5)

Evaluate Your Career Goals

For Step 6, take a step back.  Take a look at your career and goals, take a look at where you’re at now, and ask yourself:

  • Is this what I was hoping for? 
  • Was this how I imagined it? 
  • Is the reality of my job completely different than what I expecting?
  • Have I accomplished what I set out to accomplish?
  • Do I have the support I need to move forward in my career?
  • Now that I’m here, where do I see myself going?

Most importantly:

  • Is what I’m doing now something that I can continue doing into the future? Until retirement?
  • Or have my goals changed?
  • Is what I’m imagining for myself different than before?

If you’re exactly where you want to be, and have exactly what you want: that’s amazing and I’m so happy for you.

If not…it’s time to re-evaluate.

Make Moves Towards Change

It’s hard to acknowledge that you’re not as happy as you think you should be.  It’s even scarier to say you would like to do something different, and then actually do it.  But as we all know, life is short, burnout is real and there’s no time like the present.

If you’re thinking you’d like to do something else, or your career goals have changed, then I encourage you to make moves towards what you DO want.  It doesn’t have to be a grand, life-altering move.  Maybe you can just do the following:

  • Start some research on new job positions in your area, or if you want to move, look at the new place you want to go to.
  • Start conversations with friends and colleagues about other options.
  • Attend conferences that align with your interests.
  • If you don’t have one, create a LinkedIn profile. There are tons of job opportunities listed on their daily, and you can easily apply.

What these essentially are saying is to start networking. The power of networking is unparalleled in it’s ability to introduce you to not only new people but new ideas as well. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to find something that truly aligns with your interests in goals.

The more you will be able to take charge of your career trajectory.

Dress for the Part You Want

Once you’ve got your career goals down, now do you fit the part you want? Looks aren’t everything, but the image you portray can make a difference in how seriously you are taken and shows others how seriously you take yourself.  I think this is especially important if you are taking steps towards change.  Entering a new role or new phase can be scary, but looking and feeling the part can go a long way towards easing your anxiety.

I know for me, when I’m on my administrative shift, I purposefully dress up (i.e., I don’t wear scrubs, as everyone else does).  I not only stand apart from the people I lead, but it makes a difference in how my patients and colleagues view me as well.  Doing so helped me out a lot when I first started out in this role.

Dressing for the part does not have to be expensive or break the bank, check out my tips for dressing the part on a How to Dress to Impress, Without Breaking the Bank.

At the End of the Day…

Career moves are hard and scary.  Taking that risk, that leap is daunting and, depending on your financial situation, may not seem possible at all.  On the flip side, sometimes taking that leap, is a leap of faith, and you’ll land in a much better place.

No matter what, it’s ok to try something new, to step out of your comfort zone, and to change your mind about what works and doesn’t work for you.  You may feel stuck, but whether or not you stay stuck is entirely up to you.

If change is something you seek, then I encourage you to start taking steps in the direction you want; to take a chance towards a happy and fulfilling career.

Have you made career changes? Have your career goals shifted? Share your stories below!

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

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