Physicians work hard – sometimes too hard. While certain stressors come with the role, others are avoidable in the right setting, alongside the right team.
If you’re unhappy with your job, you may be asking yourself whether it’s time for a much-needed break, or time for a new job altogether. So, how can you make the distinction?
Here are a few signs you might be ready to look elsewhere for employment:
You don’t feel connected to coworkers
Community and culture are important, and feeling like you’re part of a lively, cohesive team can be the difference between workdays that fly by and workdays that drag. If you’ve been at your organization for a while and still feel like you haven’t found “your people,” ask yourself:
- Have I genuinely tried to build relationships within my team?
- What do I need from co-collaborators and peers in order to feel connected?
- Ideally, what would they do differently to make me feel supported, energized and enthusiastic about the work we’re doing?
- What efforts have I made to help my peers feel supported, energized and enthusiastic?
- Do my coworkers communicate well, and do I communicate intentionally with them?
- Do conversations revolve strictly around work, or is there personability and playful banter?
Of course, being a physician or advanced practice provider is serious work, but you can still have fun on the job. If you’re not connecting with the people at your organization or health system, there might be another team out there with whom you’ll feel a stronger bond.
Competition outweighs collaboration
Some individuals thrive in competition, while others might see it as pressure to constantly outperform their peers. Regardless, an effective team will have established a balance between competition and collaboration.
Healthy competition in the workplace can be extremely motivating, but too much can create tension that takes a toll on the team’s dynamic. Additionally, a culture built around competition can become a strain on individuals’ performance, mindsets and self-confidence as health care workers.
If there’s a perpetual sense of competition at your organization and it feels toxic or burdensome, take note. It may be time to look for a setting that challenges you without the additional stress of placing first among your peers.
You don’t feel seen or valued
Physicians and APPs work exceptionally hard to provide the best possible care to patients, and often go above and beyond to do so. Positive feedback about your performance and efforts from employers is valuable and can be a reminder of how much your work matters.
However, there may come a time when you don’t feel as appreciated as you once did. If this is the case, and it doesn’t feel like your needs are met or your efforts are noticed, you might consider other opportunities.
You deserve to feel seen, heard and valued for your hard work; there will always be an organization out there who is intentional about making employee appreciation an essential part of its culture.
You’re not growing
During your interview for your current position, you may have been asked about your short- and long-term goals. How are those goals being nurtured or maintained so far? If you haven’t reached them yet, are you putting in the work to advance, or has your focus been elsewhere? Have you been helped in reaching those goals, or have promises of mentorship and advancement opportunities been put on the back burner?
If you don’t feel challenged or like you have the potential to grow where you are, consider what may be the cause. Recruiters and employers should be checking in with you and showing ongoing interest in your growth as a physician or APP. If you recognize a lack of support or resources to achieve the objectives you have in mind, you might be ready for an organization who can provide it.
Your stress doesn’t take a break when you do
A certain amount of stress can be good, but too much runs the risk of burnout. When you go home after a long day, and it still doesn’t feel like enough time to recharge, take a longer break. Use some PTO and get distance between you and your role.
It can help to do some journaling during your time away about your stress and reflect on the main drivers. You might ask yourself questions like:
- Is it the high demands of being a physician that overwhelm me sometimes, or is it the nature of my health system that creates a stressful environment?
- Does my workload feel acceptable and realistic on the job?
- Do I feel the demands or expectations of leadership are too high to measure up?
- Are there any unnecessary expectations I’m putting on myself?
- Does working with my team reduce stress, or add to it?
- Can I identify where my apprehension is coming from if I dread returning to work?
If a break and some space from your everyday setting doesn’t do the trick, you might consider a change of scenery that helps put a sense of passion back into your practice.