Your dissatisfaction in your current job or even your career may be so great that you see no way out other than to get out the door ASAP and to never look back. While this may be the only solution for your own sanity, if you possibly can, try to buy yourself some time to get clear about why you are leaving and what it is that you want to move towards, as well as to be sure that the problems in your current role are not fixable or are not worth fixing.
Making a significant career transition such as into an alternative professional career, or an alternative medical career within medicine or outside of medicine, usually requires a transition period. This may be months, or often even several years. It needs a lot of time and energy and commitment to keep going and to stay focused on your destination (and enjoying the journey). Unless you’re in a fortunate financial position, you may need to reduce your income for a period of time, reduce your outgoings or take on financial debt. You may struggle with a change of identity, feeling lost or in limbo.
Here are three questions to ask yourself when you feel that the only way out is to walk away:
- How can I be more kind to myself? Being dissatisfied with your career is a really difficult experience to deal with and while it is sadly quite common, it does need you to pay extra attention to looking after yourself and to having a great life outside of work if you can. Look for small ways you can reward yourself to help you to cope with your career difficulties.
- What can I do to make my current role or career better? Before you quit, have you done everything to you can to make your current role better? Are there any small changes you can make which would have a big impact, for example: if you are bored, ask for more challenging work; if you are overstretched, ask for help to prioritise; if you are struggling, ask for support. Try to identify your needs and make clear requests of others to help you.
- Who am I now, and who am I becoming? If you chose your career path when you were younger, you might be a very different person now than you were then- and you may be becoming a different person again. We’re all likely to have multiple different careers through the course our increasingly long working lives, and will slide, morph or have a complete change of direction into new careers over this period. Keeping an eye on who you are becoming is important for your long term direction.
Being able to answer these three questions will help you to cope with your current situation better and to get more clear about where to go next, so that you can have greater peace of mind in the future.
Dr Fiona Day (MBChB, FFPH, Dip Occ Med, ILM 7 Executive Coaching and Mentoring) is a Leadership and Career Coach and helps mid-career and senior Professionals, Doctors and Leaders transform their careers and working lives, using evidence based psychological theory and behaviour change science. Download a free 2018 career planning workbook and find out more at www.fionadayconsulting.co.uk.