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Ladder Your Career Portfolio

Article

In today's world the term "career" is seen as a continuous process of learning and development. That new way of thinking about careers frees professionals to diversify their work lives.

A career used to describe your roles in one company throughout your working life, like a career at Monsanto, Deloitte, a university or IBM. But, the workplace and generational attitudes have changed, along with a prolonged life expectancy, so careers now mean something different. Now,a career includes all the roles you undertake throughout your life - education, training, paid and unpaid work, family, volunteer work, leisure activities and more.

In today's world the term career is seen as a continuous process of learning and development. For physicians, those activities that contribute to a career can include:

  • training
  • education
  • employment
  • work experience
  • community activities
  • enterprise activities
  • employment
  • different life roles
  • volunteer work
  • leisure activities

Investment advisers often suggest bond laddering as an investment risk management strategy. A bond ladder is the name given to a portfolio of bonds with different maturities. For example, you buy bonds with maturation dates that are 1 year, 3 years,5 years and 10 years with variable returns. When one matures, you retire it and buy another on the ladder. Physician entrepreneurs should consider doing the same with their careers as a way to hedge career risk.

Instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket, diversify your interests and job roles, gradually retiring one to assume another. For example, while clinical practice is the focus of most doctors, take time to build your interest portfolio and dedicate the requisite time and attention to those roles to build value in them . Such roles can be teaching, volunteering, advising, writing, consulting,entrepreneurship or many others. Then, when it's time, prune or retire one of the roles to assume another on the ladder.

Don't get stuck in the three boxes of life. Laddering jobs during your career, including after traditional retirement age as an encore career, is a great way to keep you engaged and satisfied. You lower your risk, increase your return and can wake up with a smile on your face having made a wise investment.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
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