A Few Parting Thoughts on Career Development

June 15, 2016 | Ravi S. Hira, MD, FACC
Career Development

As the year and another stage in your career draw to a close, I hope you have all found the career opportunities and jobs that you were looking for. I have shared a few choice words of advice from those who have gone before me that have helped me tremendously over the past year.

  1. No job is perfect, be flexible: No job/position ever ends up being exactly what you hoped or expected it would be. In order to be somewhat happy and satisfied, it is important to be flexible and adapt yourself or your job profile into a workable solution. I would not suggest waiting until your frustration reaches a point where you would rather quit. Most senior partners and divisions are willing and happy to make adjustments to ensure your happiness and satisfaction. But they won't know until you ask.
  2. Don't stop learning: Your first year out of training is probably the steepest growth curve you will experience. There are times you will feel truly alone and not know or have an answer to a particular situation. Remember to breathe. All possibilities become apparent after a long deep breath. And never shy away from picking up the phone and asking for help. Friends and colleagues, old and new will always be available.
  3. Be true and honest to yourself and your patients: As long as decisions are made for and driven by the right reasons, you will earn the respect of your patients and colleagues. Know your strengths and limitations before putting yourself or your patients in bad situations.
  4. Be available: Being successful in any job is about building relationships. This can take time but being available to answer questions and be helpful will go a long way. Consider giving out your cell number to colleagues and nurses. Further, giving feedback to referring physicians about patients and outcomes has been extremely fulfilling for me.
  5. Be confident but humble: You are not flawless and bad things will happen despite your best efforts. You will not be successful without a team of people around you helping you out. Accept responsibility when situations go poorly and share credit with others when they go well.
  6. Your first job doesn't have to be your last: There will be jobs which for numerous reasons and despite adjustments may not fit. You will probably only realize that after you start working at a particular hospital or practice. Don't be afraid to do what's right for you and move on to different opportunities.
  7. Don't forget to live life: You have only one life to live and one of your key responsibilities is to yourself and your family.

It has been a pleasure writing for this section this year and I hope it has been helpful to you. I wish you all the best and as always welcome your questions and feedback.

This article is part of a series focused on career development for fellows in training (FITs). View the other articles here.

This article was authored by Ravi Hira, MD, assistant professor in the division of cardiology at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.