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Steps to Achieve the Non-Clinical Career You Seek


Whether you're looking to leave your current job for another clinical position or to start a new non-clinical career, here are some lessons learned from those who went before you.

Once in a while, I coach a physician whose journey to a non-clinical career is so smooth, it is nothing short of perfection.

I recently enjoyed this opportunity with a physician client who came to me with a one year-long plan to transition from her current clinical role into some kind of non-clinical job whose description she did not yet even have!

She had a very clear timeline based on the exit demands of her current clinical position and was ready to get into action. What struck me most about our initial interactions was how realistic her expectations were!

After diligently identifying what she might want to do and why, in her new non-clinical career, and then following through on all the steps we outlined together, she recently found herself on the verge of receiving an offer for her "ideal job." Barring something totally unexpected, she can anticipate starting in her new non-clinical position on exactly the date she had planned for.

There are many lessons to be learned and shared from this experience for those of you who are looking to exit your current situation, whether that be for a new clinical position (another group? your own practice? your new concierge medicine practice?) or the start to a non-clinical career.

Lesson 1. Know your own “what”

Be clear about what you are seeking — have a vision of your life moving forward that inspires you.

Lesson 2. Know your own “why”

Understand why you are making this transition. Have a clear sense of purpose and be focused on what you are moving towards, rather than on what you are running away from.

Lesson 3. Then focus on your “how”

After you know the “what” and “why” you can focus on this step. Once my client was equipped with the tools of vision, purpose and core values, was she ready for us to begin formulating her transition plan. These steps are all too easily missed, which makes for muddled thinking and a "throw a bowl of spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks" approach.

Lesson 4. Balance "reality" with stretching yourself

My client quickly understood the reality a transition to a non-clinical career might present and rather than be disheartened, she opted to challenge herself to find her best possible situation.

Lesson 5. Represent yourself well and authentically

How you define yourself in this transition phase and what you communicate to others about your career transition intentions become critical skills to master at this time. Whether this is your verbal communication, your resume or your cover letter, you need to appear both professional AND authentic.

Read the remaining five lessons.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
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