5 Reasons You May Hate Your Current Job (even if you love your profession)
It would appear that physicians and especially physician moms are waking up to the unworkability of the medical profession.In our predecessors' generation, they just tolerated working 80 hours a week, and some even wore it like a badge. For today's physicians, however, that life doesn't work. We are expanding our horizons beyond the traditional medical career matriculation. However, our industry is not changing with our values, but rather against them. This is why our growing evolution can feel like a double edge sword. I speak to more and more physicians each day who are hating their current job circumstance and even more who are ready to leave the field altogether. If you are amongst this group, it may help to understand the possible underlying causes behind these feelings.
a. Priorities are changing – I remember the moment I found out I was pregnant with my son. My first thought was "time to get make my next career move". For me, I had dedicated my entire life to my career and while I loved it, my focus being on career left me neglecting relationships. So at first pregnant at 39, I was very clear about my priority shift. For some of you, this happened the moment you decided to create a family. For some after years of struggling with balance. Still, for others, it may come as a result of you realizing you are no longer passionate about working for someone else, or worse you have given up on your initial dreams. The bottom line is, when your priorities are shifting, you may find yourself restless in your position; you will find yourself less tolerant of unworkability and questioning whether you made the right career choice in some instances.
b. Square Peg - Round hole – I always knew my path in medicine would be different. I was very much a proponent of so-called "alternative" therapies back in the day. Integrative Medicine was obviously my path, but when I started, it was not popular and in fact, it was somewhat frowned upon. Working for a large corporation with this mindset, had me feeling like it didn't fit in. Similarly, if you are in a culture that doesn't match your ideas (personally or professionally) then it can leave you feeling disenchanted and dissatisfied with your job. Over time, however, if this goes unrecognized the dissatisfaction could be collapsed and have you questioning your career. The awareness of the "square peg in a round hole" phenomenon can provide some freedom in that all there is to do is to then find the job that is a right fit for your
c.Core values aren't being met – Similar (and following) the square peg in a round hole phenomenon is the core values being dissonant.When I speak of core values, I'm not talking about our belief systems (that's next). Our core values are what's most important to us at our very core. They are things like Family, Integrity, Honesty, Autonomy… these are core values that if are not being met ultimately lead to internal conflict and emotional suffering. In many of the burned-out physician moms and women in medicine that I speak with what is very common is that their core values are not being met. When we find their job or create a career for them consistent with their core values, it makes a world of a difference in their level of fulfillment.
d.Divergent belief systems – Close cousin to core values are our beliefs. Now, our beliefs are born of values, however, beliefs can be changed more easily whereas values tend to be more ingrained. When you work for a corporation (or work with people) with vastly different belief systems, that can create frequent conflict. If neither party are willing to put aside their beliefs to work together, then it becomes a constantly unworkable situation. The impact of divergent beliefs is similar to those of dissonant values. At the end of the day, if opposing beliefs cannot be resolved enough to create a nontoxic environment, then it's likely time to go.
e.Feel a higher calling that's not being met – Finally, when we feel like we are not living "on purpose" or that we are not fulfilling our calling, over time, what we are doing becomes lackluster. Sometimes this happens after many years of practice, and sometimes it happens immediately. The point is, living out of line with purpose (or living without purpose altogether) becomes loud at some point and impacts our view of ourselves and our career as doctors. We begin to ask things like, "is this really what I'm supposed to be doing?" "Is this really what I want to be doing" "Am I really making the biggest difference I could be making"?We often ask "For what purpose?" When we are evaluating new and existing tasks.
There are probably countless other reasons why your existing circumstances are less than palatable ones (toxic environment, obvious bias, horrible schedule, etc), but if you look at all of these reasons at their core, they probably fit into one of these five categories. Examining the deeper reasons why we are unhappy could be the key to creating careers we truly love and winning the battle of physician burnout in moms, in women, and in physicians in medicine in general.
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