White Coats of the Round Table

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Off-Script: What Could You Change?

Off-Script: What Could You Change?

Fri, 17 Mar 2023 11:00

What could you change in your career TODAY that would positively change your situation? Mike and John talk go through some opportunities for change they see in their own work situations, such as being more intentional to not over extend or focusing and developing the areas of their career that bring more joy and growth.

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Hi everyone, welcome to White Coats at the Round Table. This is the off script version with Mike and John. Good to see you. I'm John. That's good. I'm glad. I showed up. All right. So once again, this is our second episode of off script that is going to be part of our transition to a weekly episode release. And just to give listeners a bit of an overview of what we have been doing from the start is usually these off script episodes were behind the paywall. And we intentionally like to make them a little bit more behind the scenes, a little bit more informal. Just John and I having more conversation regarding various things, whether it be the main episode or other aspects of life. And we want to retain that even as we move these into the main episode feed. So John, what I propose is we continue with the format of one discussion topic and then we use that to kind of just pre-flow and see where it goes. You have the discussion topic. I do. And I didn't share it with you on purpose. I know. Right. So the discussion that I want to talk about tonight is what is something in your career that you could change today that would positively impact you moving forward. I know, right? A good deep thinker. Now I do, you know, as I do, just want to clarify, we're talking through school as or at the start. No, I'm talking about today. And the reason I wanted to do this is last week on the off script, we talked about how we made the choice to go into our healthcare career and whether that's met expectations. So last week was a little bit more retrospectively focused. I want today to be more prospectively focused where we're talking about this is where we're currently at. This is something that we identify in our current career that we could adjust and then hopefully see an immediate impact. Okay. That is as a great question. There are a few things that I know that I could do today that would make a better impact on my future. I will say the one thing that I know if I start doing right now will create a positive impact on my future would honestly has nothing to do with my direct career though. It would have everything to do with balancing my mental wellness. Well, take the question whatever direction you want. This is why the off script format I wanted to be free flow. Yeah, I think that if I can correctly put my understanding in the position which I know what makes me happy fully, what makes me feel most fulfilled and that makes me feel like I've done a good job as a father carrying out a legacy. So I would say that ensuring that I get enough sleep if I ate correctly and if I found the balance in scheduling my life better. So when that gets the career, it's probably I'm going to stick with creating a better schedule for myself. Is somebody with and I haven't been shy about saying this in the past but I do have ADHD and I'm learning how to manage that. And one of the systems in which I understand that I could do a better job and it is ensuring that I have a good plan with ADHD have a hard time with looking to the future as is have a hard time with time dopamine to accomplishment and work or finding work stimulating enough to even want to account. So what I have found that if I create a more disciplined life and structure my life better, although it feels to me like nails on a chalkboard, I want to be free. You know, I want to be someone who can wake up when I want to do the work when I want to go to bed, what I want, what I want to, I don't want to be told what to do, but that's not reality that we live it. So today, if I started scheduling out my priorities throughout the week and truly visualizing and taking the time with my family to say like these are the times I have to accomplish these things. Instead of fitting it in on the back end, my career would balloon more than it has in the best. Interesting because I think when I was thinking about this question and trying to figure out how we would tackle it, I actually was thinking about work life balance as well. Yeah. So on my end, I think one of the things that I could make an immediate change and then see immediate benefit in my career would be continuing to be intentional regarding making sure that I'm not overextending myself, making sure I'm not taking on too many tasks with deadlines that are all bunched up. And then making sure that I'm still carving out appropriate time for family or self-care or things that are outside of work. And it's been on my mind in the past few weeks, one of the reasons why we're talking about it today. Yeah. Because January and February were really slow and quite nice because in just the consulting work that I do usually around the holidays, everything slows down. And then kicks back up at the end of the first quarter. So March has been wild for five days in the March. I recognize that. But I think Natalie figured it out at one point. I am out of town or away 14 days in March. So it's a crazy month. It's a good month in terms of pay. I'm getting paid quite well. But March is probably busier than I would want it to be. Usually I like if I'm only away for a couple days each month and we can spread them out. But they were just unfortunately gigs where I'm doing consulting work for this company. And they had a meeting in a location and you just have to go. You can't opt out of it. So a lot of what happened this month was out of my control. But this month is one where I definitely feel overextended where I'm not happy with my work life balance. I'm not happy with the amount of work that I'm doing. We'll just have to get through it. There's nothing that I can do about it, but I think one of the changes that I can make that would have immediate benefit is continue to work on maybe time block of how to make sure I am saying, okay, this is the amount of time I will work on this. This is the amount of time I will work on that. But then also being very intentional about watching deadlines. If I'm taking a job doing a pure slide review that if that deadline is going to be bumping up against something else that I'm thinking about that so that I'm not scrambling at the last minute. Yes. And that's exactly what's happening to me right now. So I was aggrieved. We were talking offline. I was in New York City on Friday and Saturday for a meeting. And in my brilliance, I have a bunch of slides for a CME company where I was hired to be the pure, pure viewer. So I'm supposed to go through them and edit them for content, things like that. After Doom Monday and in my mind, I was like, perfect. I'm out of town. So I'll have all this time on the plane. I'll have some downtime in the hotel so I can double dip. I can go to this meeting and then also work on this project. And I got my butt kicked this weekend. It was in the great meeting, but it was 11, 12 hour days. It was far more mentally exhausting than I expected it to be. So when I got up to my hotel at 10 p.m., I was not going to do slide reviews. So it's Sunday. The slides are due tomorrow and I still have a need to do it. So I'm probably going to get up at 4.30 or 5 tomorrow morning and get it done. And that's fine. Like I don't mind getting up early. I actually appreciate the quiet time in the morning. But those are the types of things that are preventable. If I were more intentional or more organized, I think I would improve quality of life or improve my career as a result. I am currently working with somebody about career changes, career growth, career coaching. And this is probably one of the things that have been mentioned that resonated most off with me is how much career development doesn't have to do with your actual daily job. It has a lot to do with what you're doing on the back end, whether it's reading, whether it's doing things like meditating or rainbow junction or journaling. It's most of it is on the outside because we create our own pressures. So for myself, I created the pressure of saying, I'm going to do all these things without a plan, flying by the receipt of my pants. And then when things need to be structured or when something fell apart, that could have been prevented from planning. That's where it hurts. It's like, I just need to have more forth. I do feel there is some aspect of nonclinical jobs or if you're trying to maybe take a more non-traditional path. Or even within a clinical career, if you're trying to progress into a different role, that you do have to say yes to things that are maybe less than ideal. Sure. Like if you're in a hospital and you want to become the lead provider of the department, you're probably having to sit on committees or pick up call or be the go-to person for extra shifts. And that's not ideal. So I guess there is some sacrifice that's involved, but I think you're right. I think planning is really the key is if you say, okay, I'm going to pick up over time for the next six months, but the goal of picking up all this over time is not just pay. It's to build experience so that I can then leverage that experience to goal, goal X. Having that plan I think can help keep you on the map and make sure that you're not just spinning your wheels, you're not stressing yourself out, you're not doing a whole lot of work, but not moving anywhere in terms of where you want to be career-wise. To that same point, it's what serves you. So are you doing what part of your business, what part of your busy work week, even if you are getting paid for it, how does that serve you? Does it make you happier? Does it get you to your career goals? Does it create more freedom? And if it doesn't do the things that you wanted to do, why is it in your life? We have to question ourselves. I had to do that myself. There are things that I had on my radar, plans that they have for business, or even more opportunities, where when I talked to my coach about this, they asked me to really think and consider, does adding that work advance my career? Yes. Does it advance my happiness? What is it doing for me? You would be surprised at how much you're doing, doesn't actually do anything for you. That may change. So I recently, last year, I dropped a faculty appointment that I had had for a while, and I really enjoyed it. I love teaching. But as we've talked about in the past, teaching is not a well paid field. And I had multiple faculty appointments, and it was just getting to the point in terms of my level of busyness, where it was not feasible for me to keep appointments at multiple schools when the pay was just really low. So it wasn't a, oh my gosh, I'm going to stop doing altruistic things. But rather, I need to prioritize, have maybe one or two schools where I'm teaching, and then eliminate some of those ones, because I'm beyond the point in my career. We're having faculty appointments at multiple schools is going to provide more benefit than just having one or two faculty appointments, where I'm very involved in curriculum or things like that. Because even if you sign in the front of mine for you, you're, you're, you're, you're conscious. It's back there on a burner saying like, you have this thing that needs to be tended to every once in a while. And it could for people who might be not necessarily neuro typical, but people who might struggle with other thoughts, that might come up and spin into something worse. You might have missed a deadline. Maybe you feel like you're not doing enough for the company that you're only doing something in 10 hours a month before. Is it worth that feeling? I don't know. For me, what I'm learning, I don't think it's probably worth it for many people. I think that the grind that we're talking about, you might have to do the grind sometimes, and but you can do it healthily, but it's not, you can't grind your life. Your whole life is not supposed to be the grind. The hustle, it's supposed to get you to a point where you feel a satisfaction and health and happiness and ride that. You know, I think that's right. I would anecdotally, it might be interesting to look it up. anecdotal. I don't know. I'm not aware of any data, but it'd be interesting to see if there is what anecdotally, I would agree. I think a lot of people that are aspirationally looking to be in a different place in their career, more than half of what they're doing to get there is probably not helping or at sometimes even counterproductive or counterintuitive. And that's frustrating because I think so often burnout may be that we talked about it last week in the episode that what did Tom say? I forget now that it's hard to be burned out if you're achieving. And I think a lot of times burnout can be driven by a lack of achievement. And if you feel like, oh my goodness, I'm seeing all these extra patients, I'm taking all this extra call. I'm working 70 hours a week in my practice, hasn't even acknowledged it. They haven't considered me for a promotion, I'm getting no extra responsibility. Well that might be a good opportunity to pause and say are the things that I think are contributing to moving me forward in my career actually doing so? Or have I maybe misidentified things that are in my opinion career advances where they're actually not doing? Another way to look at that is ROI. How much of this have I put in? How much have I put in? Yes, right. Right. Right way to stop and look at your life and see, do I feel happy? Maybe not? And I do feel enbalanced. Maybe let's take inventory for how my time has spent. I like that. Yeah. And it's hard because early on, like we said earlier, you're going to have to do crappy things. Like the ROI is there, but I think when you're early on in your career or if you're trying to maybe move out of a clinical career, but you don't have experience or the skill set to be an MSL or to be a professor, you're going to have to do things early on as you're building your CV that don't have a really big ROI or the ROI is significantly put off down a couple of years down the road potentially. But at the same time, you have to reach a point where you say, okay, I'm done doing crappy things. So we'll use teaching, for example, I know that when I first started off, I would guess lecture and I think I would get paid $100 per lecture. And that's fine. The purpose of this is not to complain about academic pay because it's in my opinion, it's a way to give back. It's a really wonderful thing because it's just it means so much when you get to train the next generation. $100 for a two hour lecture plus the prep time that goes in, that is not a sustainable business model long term. So it may make sense to do five, six, seven, ten of those guest lectures. Boy, you can't do that forever because at some point, the CV has to be built up enough that you can then advance to that next place, whether it be maybe getting an appointment as an assistant professor somewhere, maybe getting a clinical appointment and starting to do more clinical oversight of things or maybe even leveraging that into a medical writing role or something like that. But you can't just stay static and say, I'm going to continue to make a hundred bucks per lecture and then do that indefinitely. That's a hot. I like that. Yes, that's true. And I don't know what the timeline is. Every activity is going to be different. Every career is going to be different. But it's something you have to reassess and say, okay, is this something that is advancing me to my goals? And if not, do I need to drop it or do I need to adjust my approach? Having somebody speaking to your life to like a mentor or somebody that you work with who is a senior colleague is a great person to throw this type of stuff around with because your spouse may not understand that they don't have the complexities of the career industry. Maybe they do. Maybe you're married to one. You mentorship or at least coaching or having some sort of advisor helping you on some of these. I can give you perspective on reading out the things that don't that don't help you. Really? Like what's helping you? Yeah. And we're going to do a mentorship episode sooner than later because both of us have identified that as an area that we haven't really talked about yet and a lot on the show. And yet it's been valuable to both of us. We both have mentors in our careers and in our lives that have really done a lot to shape who we are personally but then also professionally. So I think that'd be a great topic to dive deeper into. Well, we both said it had to do something with organizing our life in a way that's sustainable. Really? When we sort of have the podcast and all the extra stuff that we were doing, we realized how much extra fluff we were putting into it. Right. It's a great example. We actually worked trying to solve trying to integrate this that and then we realized some of the work that we were doing actually had zero ROI and just made us feel like we were doing something because we were doing something. But we did get feedback from some people. We producer from other guests that we've had other podcasters that we just even talked to off of our actual podcast. We had to have other people speaking in order to say like, oh, this was helpful or this was not. Or we had to go through it ourselves. So we shed a lot of the fat. We cut, trimmed a lot of what we didn't need. Which was organizational. So you and I are both saying that we need to organize our life better. Yes. I think organization and then also constant self assessment. I think it's hard to be critical of yourself personally or professionally. I think it's really difficult to look inward and say is what I'm doing working or is it something that maybe I was off target? And that can be tough. So I think not only organization, but also the ability to constantly reassess whether be in your job and say, okay, I wanted to learn this new clinical task. These are the trainings I'm going to do to get there. At the end of that, looking back and saying, okay, am I proficient in this task? Did I get there? If not, do I need to do some sort of remedial training? I think we're very comfortable with that idea. If we shifted to a clinical role, you know, if you're not good at putting in a chest tube, we're not going to be like, ah, good enough. You're going to have to figure out a way to get there. And if the initial training didn't get you there, that doesn't mean that we just move on. You have to figure it out. But when we talk about career development, it's much harder. Because I think if we say, okay, we missed the mark on that, we got to reconfigure, we got to start over. That's humbling. Mm-hmm. And that's tough. And we've experienced it with the podcast, but even professionally, I'm sure we've had that happen multiple times. We have anxiety, depression, we're neurodivergent, we already have a critical undertone throughout the whole day. It's going to be hard because you might be critiquing something that's not even true. That's not the fact, it might not be, rather, it might not be a fact, it might be just you're feeling. So on the other hand, you might have too much of a critical voice and you need someone to speak in and say, like, you're dealing with perfection. It's not that you're doing things bad or wrong. You're trying to make something too perfect, like back off of it. You're trying to part. You don't need to work that much. How much value is it added? So it is a very fine-tuned balance that we have to work at. We need each other. We need the whole community of healthcare providers, practitioners to help each other out. And so I'm glad we can talk about this. And I hope that people listening today have somebody that they can just shoot the proverbial crap with. Right. I hope right or wrong answer necessarily, but it's good to have discussions and continue to do level checks. And say, okay, am I approaching this right? And that could be either a self-assessment or with a mentor or with a peer. But I agree. I mean, that's one of the reasons we started the podcast is we were having these conversations. We were talking about career progression and realized that there isn't a lot of resources out there to help people. So we don't have all the answers. Look, I'm going to end our conversation here with this question or charge for those. I mean, do you have more that you want to add to this at this point? Not particularly. I think we covered it. So maybe to finish the point so that my last thought is not just that we don't have answers. We don't have all the answers. But being intellectually curious and looking and seeking is really the key takeaway. And nothing that we're doing with that is proprietary. Something that we're doing is a secret sauce. We're not snake oil salesmen that are trying to tell you that we found the ticket to happiness. But rather, we want to take our listeners on a journey as we continue to figure this out not only for ourselves, but also trying to identify resources in ways that listeners can also seek that journey for themselves. Because it will. Every hands you're a movie. Very different. Yeah. Right. To the actual person who's asking the question. So this is going to be my question or my charge for anybody listening today is if you have take a few moments and quietly sit with the question. If you woke up tomorrow and everything in your career was set right, what does that look like? I love it. I know it's a very therapist question. It's a good one to finish though. Good contemplative thought. What is that life look like when you're happy or content with your career? I like it because that might be the place into which you can start. Say, okay, this is point A. Let's start going. Love it. I think we'll finish there. Very good. All right, everyone. This is White Coats of the Round Table, off script. Mike Azback, John McDonald. We'll talk to you next week. You guys.