Entrepreneurial Physician

Networking your way efficiently to a new non-clinical position

I recently received this communication via my other website (Women Leaving Medicine) and thought it pointed enough of a question and commentary that I decided to share a portion of it and my response with you.

“I am the primary bread winner in our family.  We have two boys – 3 and 1.  My husband is going back to school for his Masters while he also juggles being the primary care giver for our boys.  I left emergency medicine almost three years ago and did a preceptorship in treating a disease that is medical as well as cosmetic.

I now work for a big corporation and the job allows me to be home nights, weekends, and holidays (which was not possible in the ER).  For that I am grateful.  Ironically I make more now than I did in the ER when I was actually saving lives.  We live modestly and try and save as much money as we can.

I feel like I have exchanged the crappy ER hours and feeling unsafe in a busy violent urban ER for now being in corporate medicine’s grip.

I am still amazed at the complete disregard for ethics and the patient-doctor relationship – all for the sake of making money.  I fight and try and stand my ground as firmly as possible but I don’t know how much longer I can keep up the fight.  I really hate that these people can be like this. My gut is telling me to leave.  I have always been good about listening to my gut and know that doing so ensures my happiness in life.

My question is – how do I find a non-clinical job that will pay me at least enough to support my family while my husband finishes school?

My interests are in public health, women’s health, international health, politics, policy making, advocacy, the environment and its effect on our health and our children’s health.  I would love to eventually go back to school for a Master’s in International Public Service and work for an NGO or start my own someday- of course, that is on hold until the kids grow a bit and my husband finishes school.

Any advice or networking leads?”

I initially responded this way (I’ve elaborated some since I’ve had time to think more about it):

Dear X,

One of your best tools to securing work in your areas of passion is your Internet access. You can begin by doing the following:

  • Thoroughly research the organizations and companies whose mission and work truly appeal to you – play Internet Detective, scouring out the information you really want to know.
  • Find out who the key players are in your area of interest. Who are the speakers? Who are the authors? Who is most widely quoted in the press? What are they saying or writing? You are on the path to identifying your next heroes … or mentors!
  • Develop your LinkedIn profile, in which you express your interests, along with your experience.
  • Become a LinkedIn “super-user” – there is a ton of info out there on how to maximize your use of LinkedIn.
  • Using LinkedIn, reach out to those key players or folks in the organization whose profiles you can find on LinkedIn or in other places (try Facebook or Google+) and begin to create relationships. Please note: – This is very different from asking for a job. It is about finding mutual interests, giving, giving, giving – being an excellent listener, making people aware of useful resources, sharing things…
  • Do all of this actively, and over time, you will be able to target the places you truly want to work it AND have the people working there begin to KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you. That, at its core, is the basis for getting asked to join organizations.

Since then, I came across this post that I truly believe says it all — 3 Simple Steps to Making Money From Any Passion by Scott Dinsmore.

So I would add – Don’t be afraid of your passion, and don’t spend the rest of your one precious life wishing for a different one.