GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers, M.D.
A career used to describe your roles in one company throughout your working life, like a career at Monsanto, Deloitte, a university or IBM. But, the workplace and generational attitudes have changed, along with a prolonged life expectancy, so careers now mean something different. Now, a career includes all the roles you undertake throughout your life – education, training, paid and unpaid work, family, volunteer work, leisure activities and more.
In today’s world the term career is seen as a continuous process of learning and development. For physicians, those activities that contribute to a career can include:
- work experience
- community activities
- enterprise activities
- different life roles
- volunteer work
- leisure activities
The traditional career ladder for doctors meant 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school and then 4-6 years of residency or fellowship followed by 30-40 years of practice, if not more. The contemporary career trajectory is much different. Exit ramps exist and clinical practice half-lives are shorter.
Investment advisers often suggest bond laddering as an investment risk management strategy. A bond ladder is the name given to a portfolio of bonds with different maturities. For example, you buy bonds with maturation dates that are 1 year, 3 years,5 years and 10 years with variable returns. When one matures, you retire it and buy another on the ladder. Physician entrepreneurs should consider doing the same with their careers as a way to hedge career risk. Doctors, like most everyone, need some side gigs. But, you don’t want to quit your day job until the time is right.
Career laddering is a also a way to leverage your impact. As you move how you spend your time on one thing to another, the results of your efforts should be more meaningful and impactful, whether it be helping more people, helping to solidify your personal brand or creating a higher return the investement of your time. Think about your position, authority, and influence. How are you using them to positively impact the lives of your sphere?
Instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket, diversify your interests and job roles, gradually retiring one to assume another. For example, while clinical practice is the focus of most doctors, take time to build your interest portfolio and dedicate the requisite time and attention to those roles to build value in them. Such roles can be teaching, volunteering, advising, writing, consulting,entrepreneurship or many others. Then, when it’s time, prune or retire one of the roles to assume another on the ladder.
The strategy also applies to advising or consulting. At some point, if you have done things right, people will be coming to you to ask for help. Here are some tips on how to navigate the gig economy.
For example, you might want to apply these criteria to whether you accept your next gig based on fit:
- Does it meet your personal and professional needs?
- Do you trust the people ?
- Do you think the business is viable and how long will it take?
- What are the next critical success factors and do you have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies to deliver them?
- Are you satisfied with the compensation being offered?
- Is there a conflict of interest with other projects?
- How much will this intrude into your non-work life and other commitments?
- Is the problem the company wants to solve important to you?
- How much time, effort and travel is expected?
- How much liability is there?
Here is the case against early retirement. Many of these studies clearly show that health problems intensify after workers qualify for retirement benefits and abate after policies encouraging work are introduced. In addition, there are financial and social consequences.
The word is out. For the first time in 57 years, the participation rate in the labor force of retirement-age workers has cracked the 20 percent mark, according to a new report from money manager United Income (PDF). Some work longer because they want to. Most do it because they think they have to.
What’s more, since social security costs will exceed income in 2020, by delaying retirement ,you will be doing your part for your country’s budget.
Create a career portfolio and rethink your encore career: You lower your risk, increase your return and can wake up with a smile on your face having made a wise investment.
Image credit: Pixabay
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