What is the Right NonClinical Job for You?

I check the statistics on my web site almost daily. I look at various metrics, the pages physicians visit, the links they follow and how much time is spent on each page. Looking at various time periods some interests change, but two things stay the same, “what’s out there” and “what’s your right job.”

I’ve written before about what’s out there – it’s the good news, bad news answer: Anything and everything for which you have passion, interest and knowledge. Think of it this way, a patient walks into your office and says, I have a headache, what’s wrong with me?” The good news and the bad news it that it could be about anything…. It’s the same with “what’s out there.”

What is the right job? You might think the answer is the same, and it is somewhat, but also different. The right job is certainly one for which you have passion, interest and knowledge, but it goes further. What problem or problems do you want to solve?

Too often I find the discussion about passion, interests and knowledge circles back around to medicine. However, what problems cause you to sit up in your chair and take notice? They may be about healthcare, but they may be political, they may be about education, or the environment… Now you’re thinking. However, many physicians will allow themselves to be siloed into thinking they only know about medicine.

In reality, what you, as a physician, know is how to solve problems. Give yourself some credit. You can take seemingly unrelated information, collect objective data, combine that with physical observation and deduce a problem and its resolution.

That’s pretty significant, and as I told a physician on the phone today, if you can solve someone’s problem(s), you have a job.

As you consider those problems important to you, dissect them into component parts… look at various angles, ask yourself the most granular, functional questions you can think of. This is no place for the “30,000-foot view,” as they say. This is the time to get down into the weeds. How would you approach that problem, and what could you actually do today? The more basic, and the more immediate, the more doable.

Forget about job titles, they are very arbitrary outside medical practice, focus on function, focus on the problem. After you feel you have a level of clarity, talk to other people about it. Search out people, groups and organizations that deal with your “problem,” and vet your thoughts and ideas with them.

As you do, you’ll be seen as a problem solver, solving the problem(s) that represent your “right job,” and remember, problem solvers get hired.