If something doesnât feel right about your career; if you are not enjoying your work; if you constantly think about how to get out; if your health is suffering due to work, or if you feel everything is not in balance, itâs quite likely that things are not in a sustainable place and that something will give, at some point or other.
I regularly meet doctors who can clearly do the job and do it well, but when we discuss things in more detail, it becomes clear that a particular question needs to be asked, and that is âat what cost to you?â
In other words, they can hold down the job and function well to everyone elseâs satisfaction but for some reason, they are achieving this at a great personal cost. As a result they usually have a nagging doubt or prevarication over the two extreme points of view, one being âI am doing a good job and know I can do the jobâ versus âbut I am not feeling that things are rightâ.
Oscillating between these two viewpoints can go on for years, and the sad thing is that sometimes by the time I get to put these GPs through a career programme, they have lost so much âva va voomâ that we are picking up pieces, conducting normalisation and de-stressing activities well before we can get on to any productive career planning.
So why donât people come for career guidance earlier? The main reasons are that they
- did not realise the above was happening.
- are frightened of facing the reality in case it means they âhaveâ to take steps that they or other people might not be at ease with.
- think that by somehow hanging on in there the issue will go away.
- think they âshouldâ be able to cope and donât want to admit that something is wrong.
- donât know where to start or where to go for help.
- donât think that career guidance or career planning support can help.
- have spent so long and so much energy in the oscillation phase that they lack the drive to do anything about it, or have become ill.
The important point to note is that just because one particular role or location is causing problems, it doesnât always mean that a radical career reroute is needed. However what is needed in such situations, urgently at times, is a radical rethink of how the person and their work interact, and a subsequent plan for getting things back on course. This can be really hard to do entirely on oneâs own.
I think this can sometimes (not always, depends on the appraiser perhaps) be broached in appraisals or by approaching the deanery, but if doing so has not resulted in any real progress or proper acknowledgement of the problem, please donât delay in getting in touch with me.