Are you, like so many healthcare pro's, in a professional rut? Maybe you're entering your last year of grad school and preparing for a career transition. Maybe you're ready to move on from your current role, but have no idea where you would go. Maybe you want to direct your professional energy toward making systems change…but the options are overwhelming.
This is a common challenge for many of my 1:1 clients right now. In the midst of a complex, rapidly changing world, they want to be intentional about their next career move. Together, we've been reimagining what a professional path can look like.
In this process, I've noticed some common threads between the myths we believe about transforming systems - and the myths we believe about transforming our careers.
Career Myth #1: You’re searching for your one perfect career path.
The first myth that we believe is that there is one perfect path out there that's going to get us where we want to go. And that simply is not the case. In reality, there are multiple paths that can be great opportunities for us, that will make us happy and eventually get us to our professional vision.
The social narratives of Dream Jobs and Soulmates have us VERY picky – and unfortunately, they can keep us stuck! If you’re too busy waiting for the perfect scenario to fall in your lap, you give up your agency to ‘kiss a few frogs’ and find a good match. We can have high standards and refuse to settle… while understanding that it is our actual engagement in our careers (and considering a variety of options) that helps us discern what we actually want.
Don't get so caught up in trying to find the one right path. Eventually you're just going to need to go with one that looks pretty good and you're pretty excited about, and you can always change course if necessary.
Career Myth #2: You’re waiting for a ‘next right step’ epiphany.
The second myth we tend to believe is that the next right step for us is just going to reveal itself to us. We're just going to be thinking really hard about it. And in the thinking process, boom, light bulb moment. We know exactly what the next career step we should take will be. And that's not helpful either.
If you want to be a powerlifter, you don’t just think about becoming a powerlifter. You wouldn’t sit at your desk imagining what it would be like to go in the gym and lift a ton of weight. And you certainly wouldn’t show up at the gym one time, and then get upset that you can’t bench 300 pounds in your first go.
No, you have to go to the gym as a first step. And then you have to take continuous action. You have to put in the reps in order to develop that skill, that strength in order to become the powerlifter that you want to be.
This is the same process for identifying your next career step. You won't just think hard enough and then realize what a good opportunity will look like. At least, this happens rarely. ‘Putting in reps’ when designing your career looks like getting on LinkedIn, looking through job boards, actively networking with people in your industry. Finding your next career move is a journey of discovery, and we have to treat it as such. We can't just expect the answers to land in our lap.
Career Myth #3: These are the rules – and they’ll never change.
If you can’t find a role out there that you are excited about or that you believe will actually get you to the vision you have for your career, make one up.
Yep, you read that right. The conventional ‘rules’ of the professional world are simply stories we pass around about what is ‘normal’ and what isn’t. Thus, these rules only have meaning if we all buy into them. And guess what? You can opt out.
When it comes to developing your career, you can be anything that you want to be. And if you are a person of immense privilege and opportunity - if you have a degree and a professional license - the world is your oyster. You have very marketable skills. Make the case for why you are uniquely equipped to bring value to an unexpected organization or role. The worst thing that they can do is say ‘No.’
Don't keep yourself in a box because society placed you there. The box is imaginary, anyway. The world has a lot of complex problems that we're dealing with. And if we want to be in the best possible position to help address them, you’ve got to do what you gotta do.
If that looks like shirking social norms, do it. There's no time to waste. Let's get you into a role that you are excited about and passionate about…that’s actually going to allow you to make the impact that you want to make.
Ready to challenge the status quo and build a meaningful healthcare career outside of it? Join the Change Maker Essentials program waitlist now! Be among the first to know when enrollment opens.