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Run Towards What You Love

Can you find your calling in medicine without quitting your job?

I spend a lot of time in social media groups where physicians and other healthcare workers gather. Inevitably people post questions about what to do with regards to their jobs.

Questions include:

  • I have Job A and Job B as options. Which should I choose?
  • I’m currently working in X job but I’m not satisfied, should I quit and find a new job or go back and pursue a fellowship?

Inevitably others start commenting with helpful advice. Ultimately though, most of this advice is not useful because it’s given in the anonymous vacuum of the internet. No one pursues a career in medicine as just another job to make a living. Medicine is a calling and you need to connect your core values to this purpose to find the job that works for you. How do you identify your core values?

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Can you think of a recent great day at work? What were you doing?
  • What kinds of activities give you the most enjoyment.
    • Examples could include: Making an uncommon diagnosis, teaching patients about their medical conditions, creating personal connections with patients, or sharing your knowledge with students and residents
  • Is there a way in your current job to do more of the kinds of things you love?
  • Is there a way to do more of the kinds of things you love outside of work if you’re unable to change jobs?

If you’re suffering from job dissatisfaction or burnout, you very rarely have to leave your job entirely to improve your life. In fact, while burnout increases your chance of leaving your current employment, that same burnout is likely to follow you to your new job until you address the underlying issue.

If you’re unhappy, don’t run away from the job where you’re unhappy. Instead, figure out what you need in order to be fulfilled in your calling. Then, run TOWARDS what makes you happy.

This may only require a shift. Maybe you give up a committee you don’t enjoy so that you can spend more time teaching medical students. Perhaps you decrease your clinical time so that you pursue an administrative role. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re running towards it because it makes you happy instead of just trying to change anything you can at random.

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