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Finding The Non-clinical Sweet Spot As A Physician

Your goal is to pinpoint the intersection of what you are good at, what you enjoy, and whether it will reward you enough.

Readers of this space by now know about  the opportunities available to doctors looking for non-clinical careers or as a supplement to their medical practice. Examples include:

  • Technical writing
  • Science writing
  • Publishing
  • Broadcast journalism
  • Venture capitalist
  • Investment analyst
  • Investment Banker
  • Business Development professional
  • Entrepreneur
  • Consultant
  • Regulatory Affairs Profession
  • Patent Agent
  • Clinical research scientist
  • Technology Transfer professional
  • Corporate communications
  • Biomedical sales and marketing
  • Executive search professional
  • Policy Adminstrator
  • Research Funding Administration
  • Government Agency Administrator
  • Business Information Services
  • Accreditation surveyor
  • Blogging
  • Medical editor or reviewer
  • Internet expert
  • Medical social networking guru

Finding the right slot is a three step process designed to find the right fit.

Do a personal inventory and asset map

Take some time to figure out what makes you happy. Here's an exercise that might help. Go through your old family photos and pick one that shows you doing something with a smile on your face when you were 8 years old. Psychologists tell us those feelings persist, but might get buried as we go through life. Try to resurrect them.

Learn more about what you think might interest you

The second part is about doing research on the many opportunties and experimenting with low risk ways to try them. Don't think about being something. Focus on doing something.  If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to be an investor, invest. In addition, use your networks and secondary resources to try to understand a "day in the life of ________".

Find the right fit

Finally, the third part is about finding the fit between what you like and do best and the opportunity to do it.  Getting the experience requires persistence, continuous learning and changes to your schedule that will give you the time to practice you new art. After some time, figure out whether it make sense to continue or to move on to something else. Remember in medical school how you hated OB-GYN after 5 minutes on the labor and delivery deck? Or, maybe the thought of looking up someone's nose all day long didn't make sense? Move on. Unlike medical school, you can take as many rotations as you'd like to .

A best selling psychologist with an unpronounceable Polish name made his career describing "flow", that mental state of total focus, like  a world-class golfer during a record breaking performance. Relax, keep your head down, your left arm straight, and enjoy the zone.

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