Last weekend I attended the annual SEAK “Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians Conference. Two of my former coaching clients, and two of my current clients attended this meeting as well. I served as a Mentor for registrants both days (met with 46 individuals, each for a tightly controlled 15 minutes) and I presented a 1-hour talk titled, “Medical Career Transitions: A Coaching Perspective.” This well-organized and thought-provoking conference provides physician registrants with a vast wealth of information, networking contacts, job information, interaction with physician recruiters,individual career coaching with coaches and mentors, and much more. You can learn more there in two days than you could learn in two months of web surfing.
Both my mentoring and my presentation were warmly appreciated by all. Many of the physicians I mentored had terrible stories to tell about how they and their employees are being mistreated, disrespected and/or fired by management companies which are buying up physician private practices. A very concerning trend.
Close to 400 physicians attended this meeting, all humming with palpable excitement and wildly flowing positive (and some negative) energy throughout the weekend. Many physicians had the unrealistic expectation that they would come to this meeting, make a quick decision to quit practice, and start a new non-clinical career which they would select during the weekend with the help of the many Mentors and recruiters.
As most if not all of you know by now, career transitions take time and are best approached with thought and care. So, I think many people went home enthusiastic but confused by the flood of information provided by the 20-odd faculty Mentors, Career coaches, and recruiters. Without the support of a transitioning community, and/or the support of a career coach with whom to create a transition plan and be held accountable, many of those physicians may remain stuck.
What was abundantly clear to me in talking to registrants was that nearly every one of them were suffering from moderate to advanced burnout. In that state, it is difficult to think clearly or to mount the energy needed to begin creating a new career. Based on my 15 years of experience, if they were to put their energy instead into fighting burnout, developing a stress tool box, and planning ways to create better work-life balance, they would either slowly regain the joy of practicing medicine and probably elect NOT to leave practice for a non-clinical career, or they would regain the energy and spirit to take on the challenges of creating and implementing a vision for
a new, non-clinical career.
So, I congratulate ALL OF YOU, my clients and former clients. You should congratulate yourselves for having had the courage, foresight, and initiative to ask for help and to step into the spotlight of career / life coaching. YOU are the ones who are moving steadily towards your dreams, creating new career scenarios, implementing those scenarios, renewing yourselves, and developing the skills to remain resilient and your careers lively and future-focused.