Satisfaction in your career is more than a matter of luck. The daily decisions you make about your career will either elevate you or cause your dreams to sink. How do you make good decisions when there is not a road map to career success? The secret to good career decision making relies on knowing what you are interested in.
When I ask physicians what they like to do, I often hear, “Well before medical school, I used to like to travel, teach, read, ..but now, I don’t know.” Not a surprising response considering the many years you have just done what was required next.
My conversation with Dr. Chang illustrates a common career decision making point you might encounter. Dr. Chang is a well-respected clinician and faculty at a medical school in California. In addition to seeing patients, she is a Program Director and actively involved with both medical students and residents. Due to budget pressures, she must give her Chairman a decision about on how to re-allocate her time. Less clinic time? More classroom time? Each option has consequences and she is not sure which way to go.
Research shows that people are much more satisfied with their jobs and perform better when they do something that fits their personal interests. If you know what interests you, be sure to build healthy doses of that into your career decisions. If you can’t clearly speak to what is interesting to you, ask yourself these questions:
- What do I really care about?
- How do I enjoy spending my time? (hint: think back to when you were a teenager.)
Thinking about what interests you is only a start. Trial and error is key to discovering your interests. Before the stakes are high, give yourself permission to try something new or re-visit an old interest. If someone asks what you are up to- tell him or her you are learning better career decision making strategies.
Questions about your career path? Ask Deborah…