Never Ask for a Job

Most physicians I know have a very difficult time seeking career help let alone asking for a job. My recommendation then is don’t. That’s right never ask for a job. It’s a meeting ending question, and sometimes, even a relationship ending one.

Think about it, once you ask for a job the answer is either yes or no, or some vacillation followed by, no. and, think about the simple odds of hearing yes versus no. So why do it. It reminds me of a quote attributed to the famous coach, Woody Hayes, of The Ohio State University, “Only three things can happen when you throw a football and two of them are bad.” Woody didn’t like to throw the ball. The odds are about the same when you ask for a job.

So, what’s the alternative? Make yourself wanted, make someone offer you a job without asking.

It’s not a difficult as it may sound, and if you follow this advice, you can be absolutely certain the job you’re offered will be the right job for you. Not asking for a job means doing your research and career research is predicated on talking to as many people as you can. Talking isn’t about selling yourself or awkward networking events that are so popular today. As an aside, any event whose pitch is that you’ll get to meet 100 recruiters is an event where the only one who will have a successful day is the sponsor! Think about it. Who wants to attend an event with 300 other physicians vying for the attention of a few recruiters or industry experts? That’s called a “Cattle Call” in some industries – does that sound like an affectionate term?

But, back on point, physicians transitioning from clinical practice need to learn about other careers. And you’ll do that by talking with people in other careers. I’m sure this still sounds difficult and perhaps a bit intimidating. This is how you make it a personally satisfying and rewarding encounter. Treat them like a patient. That’s right, treat them just like a new patient… you’d introduce yourself, ask them about who they are and what they do, and then you’d start asking them about their symptoms. Symptoms is my code for ask them about the challenges they face in their career, their job, their responsibilities. As so, you may offer some support and advice about how you’ve handled similar situations. But again, treat them like a patient.

If your patient says she’s worried about her cholesterol you’d probably respond by asking questions about how she eats, her exercise, family history and other open-ended questions to allow her to paint the picture. You certainly would not jump in with, “You probably just need to stop eating high fat junk food!” No, you’d listen and then diagnose… it sounds like, then assess and then prescribe. Almost every business situation is a communications problem, a problem of people not doing their jobs, not understanding their jobs or not being well enough trained in their jobs. It’s the same thing you deal with with most patients. It’s about communicating effectively so they understand

When you approach meeting people, yes, that’s networking, in this manner, they’ll want to talk to you and they will give you an opportunity to help them solve their problems. When you solve someone’s problems, there’s a good change they will offer you a job. And you can be assured if you’re offered a job based on the problems you’re solving for them, it will be a good fit. Best of all, you won’t even have to ask.