WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO CHANGE JOBS?

Pharmacy Careers, Volume 0, 0

TODAY'S HEALTH CARE JOBmarket is most definitely a candidate-drivenmarket. New and excitingopportunities are all around us. Weare consistently being reminded ofthis by a friend or colleague acceptingan exciting new position, or recruiterscalling weekly with newemployment opportunities. It isenough to make you wonder—is ittime to change jobs?

That has never been, and I expectnever really will be, a very easy questionto answer. After all, a new jobmight bring you higher pay, moreauthority, greater responsibility, abetter chance for advancement, andeven a better working environment.On the other hand, making a movefor the wrong reason can send youdown a dangerous path and awayfrom your ultimate career goal. Ifyou have a proper career plan, however,then you will be able to reducethe risk and achieve your ultimatecareer objectives. If you never lookat a map or write down the directions,then how can you expect toget anywhere?

Unfortunately, most of us makethe same fundamental and commoncareer mistakes. We are willing tochange jobs for better offers, butthese moves never advance ustowards our ultimate career goal.The end result is a lot of movementthat will not lead to a desired destination.Do not let the same thinghappen to you and your careergoals. With basic career planning,you can find the right jobs andknow when to accept the right offers.

The following career planningmethod uses straightforward commonsense. Do not be fooled by thesimplicity. The difficulty comes inexecution of the plan. You will needdiscipline, self-evaluation, and commitment.

A TWO-STEP PLAN TOOBTAIN YOUR CAREEROBJECTIVES

My career advice boils down to 2steps: (1) adopt an ultimate career goal,and (2) develop a plan to execute it.These 2 steps allow you, not fate, tocontrol your career advancement.

Your ultimate career goal should bea specific position within a specificindustry. Take a moment and visualizeyourself in this position. Toomany people spend too much timeworrying and moping, whining andcomplaining about how things donot always go as they hoped it would.The reason things end up that way forthem is because they usually do notplan for them to go right, and by taking5 to 10 minutes and actually seeingyourself where you want to goand how you are going to get there,you will significantly increase thechances for a favorable outcome. It isthe same way that Tiger Woods hitsthe golf ball. He never takes a swingat a golf ball that he does not firstmentally visualize going into thehole. You only have one shot withyour career, so take your time andvisualize yourself obtaining your idealposition.

Executing this plan will contain 2facets: long-term goals and short-termgoals. Your long-term plan willbe a list of all the jobs you must holdto reach your career goal. This planshould include not only job titles, butall the skills and experience neededfor each position. Your short-termjob plan will list the skills and experienceneeded to move up to the nextrung of your career ladder. Again,take the time to visualize yourself ineach of these positions along the way.

For most of us, there is no shortcut.Only with a goal in mind can youknow when you have arrived. Onlywith a plan can you be confident thatyou will arrive on schedule—or at all.To choose a fitting goal, candidlyassess your experience, skills, interests,strengths, weaknesses, and enthusiasms.If you find self-assessmentdifficult, have a close friend help you,or consult a career counselor. Onceyou have a clear picture of how youbest operate, you can select a careergoal that conforms to your character.

QUESTION EVERYONE

A great deal of research isrequired to determine the propersteps in your career path to reachyour career objective to which youaspire. Research is extremely vital toyour success. Read relevant books,news articles, magazines, and otherindustry-specific publications. Talkto executive recruiters. They knowwhat it takes to flourish in a givenrole, and they have helped manypeople on their career path. As youbegin to clarify your ultimate goal,interview people who have achievedit. Find out if you really want theireveryday responsibilities and hardwork. (Either way, it is best to knowbeforehand.)

To begin establishing your jobplan, ask your role models how theyrose to their present positions. Chartboth their successes and mistakesthroughout their career history. Youcan never expect to follow the samecareer path, because the career landscapeis always slightly shifting. Forexample, you may need expertise in aprocess or technology that did notexist when your mentors were at yourcareer stage.

Therefore, be sure to ask your rolemodels 2 additional questions: (1)What qualifications and work experiencewere they expected to have?; and(2) What knowledge did they lack,but wish they had when they beganthis job? As you begin to see the pathto your goal, interview people whohold the jobs along your way. Thebetter you understand what liesahead, the better you can meet thechallenge.

When you are ready to go aheadwith your plan, timing becomes paramount.You should seek each new jobas soon as you are prepared to succeedin it. Moving before you havethe skills and confidence can be disastrousto your career and your company.Besides, it is not necessary tomove too soon or too high justbecause an outstanding opportunitycomes prematurely. New and excitingopportunities for outstanding talentare always presenting themselves.

Likewise, it is not beneficial to yourcareer to stay in your present jobonce you have prepared for anotherone. Loyalty and stagnation are 2 differentthings. As soon as you areready for more responsibility, seek it.As you advance, keep current withthe changes in your industry. Changingregulations, technology, and businessconditions have the potential toalter both your path and destination.Periodically review your career plan,and make changes as both the industryand your career objectives alterwith time and experience.

ALWAYS KEEP A HIGHPROFILE

My father always used to tell me,"Keep a low profile in life, and you'llgo far." That may have been true yearsago, but, today, if you want to gosomewhere, people must know whoyou are and where you are going.Your reputation within an industry iscrucial in gaining interviews andsecuring new positions. Never assumethat doing good work andbeing a good employee is enough. Itis simply a good start. The best way todevelop your reputation and keep upwith the job market is to becomeactive in a trade association. Serve ona committee in the area of your interest;write articles for your group'spublications; and ask to speak onyour topic of knowledge. These initiativesadvertise your commitmentto your field.

Cultivate a network of successfulpeople within your industry. Make itclear that you respect their attainmentand want to emulate them.Most people will be flattered andhappy to help. This network will providean early warning of the bestopenings, which are rarely advertised.

If you have the choice, it is better toremain employed and learn aboutopenings through your network thanto quit your job and search full-time.Your attractiveness as a successfulemployee is worth far more than extrahours to shop around.

Utilizing a professional executivesearch company,when you are ready toseek new employment opportunities,can open doors to many unadvertisedopportunities. Professional recruitersspend all day researching new opportunitiesand can help you even before youare looking for a new opportunity. Therecruiters are paid by the prospectiveemployers, so be careful to select anexecutive recruiter that is looking afteryour best interest and not their nextmortgage payment. Select an executiverecruiter that shares your best interestsin achieving your career objectives.

To review, effective career managementrequires 3 things:

1. A goal that is worthwhile andattainable.

2. A plan based on thorough, up-to-date industry knowledge andresearch.

3. Timing—Seek your next job assoon as you have the skills andconfidence to advance. Utilizeyour network of contacts and aprofessional recruiter.

Adam Klaucke is the president ofMorgan Medical Recruiting. Heassists medical professionals totake their career to the next leveland realize their career objectives.He can be reached atadam@morganmr.com or800-908-9642 x 703.