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Leaving Your Clinical Position for the Corporate World...

So you've done it. You're leaving your clinical post to enter the corporate world.

You’ve gone through the career transition phases - from dreaming about the possibilities of a different work-life, to doing your research, networking, making plans, taking action, and finally landing the new job that you’ve been hoping and planning for. You’re thrilled (but nervous), your family is supportive, and your colleagues (the ones you care about) are happy for you and perhaps even a little jealous. Congratulations! It’s onward and upward from here.

Now that you’ve got your start-date nailed down and are taking whatever actions you need to do to wrap things up at your current position, you are ready to go, right? Ready to make that change happen and start your “new professional life”, with all of its opportunities and open doors…. Correct? I hope so!

But for many physicians who have made the move from the clinical into the corporate world, there is a learning curve that they are not expecting, one that can – if they are not quite prepared for it - side-swipe them when they least expect it.

This “learning curve” is a combination of new career orientation – things you would expect you need to know, such as:

  • How the industry and your specific company works
  • Expectations for your role
  • Specific training on methodologies, tools, processes

But it also includes more unspoken expectations, things which have tripped up many a physician who jump into a corporate role without fully understanding the critical success factors – and how they measure up to these - for anyone in the corporate world. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The fact that they, the physician, are now measured on – and only as successful as - how much value they bring to the organization on a daily basis – i.e., in things such as added revenue or decreased costs
  • That they will be expected to act in a team capacity and to demonstrate highly effective skills in leadership, accountability and communication
  • That they are well-skilled in building and maintaining interpersonal relationships with people at all levels of the organization, and have a highly honed level of professionalism
  • That they have the basic proficiencies expected within a corporate environment – including technical (e.g., MS Office – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, MS Project, Email, etc.), project / time management, effective presentations/speaking, people management / mentoring, teaming, etc.

Often it is these pieces of the puzzle which can “make or break” a physician’s venture into a new career path and the success of their new position. At minimum these unspoken expectations – and the physician's ability (or inability) to tackle them - can cause high levels of stress during the transition, and make the learning curve steeper and longer than it needs to be.  At worst it can derail an individual's ability to be successful and/or their longevity within the new organization.

Being prepared for this learning curve – both the new career orientation and unspoken expectations – is literally your first transition task. And it should happen long before you enter the door of your new company on day one. With any job or career change you want to hit the ground running, and set yourself up for success from the beginning

So how do you do that? What are the steps you can take to make sure that you have the most successful “First 100 Days” on your new job as possible?

Next time I'll bring you some tips and strategies for making this critical time a personal and professional success... stay tuned.

Reader Comments (2)

I hate to steal my friend Ashley's punchline, but I've found "The First 90 Days", by Michael Watkins, to very useful when it comes to answering her question.

Looking forward to reading your advice, Ashley.

Hi Arlen, no punchline stolen! I haven't read "The First 90 Days" yet, but if you recommend it, I'll definitely look it up. I think my follow-up will be a good overview, and I look forward to reading what Watkins has to say. Glad you shared it.

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