Your second hardest job…

Keeping your new job 

If you’ve managed a successful career transition to a new, non-clinical job, you’ve scaled several tall obstacles along the way. However, landing a great non-clinical job is only the first part, keeping your job during these tough economic times requires more skills and insights than during a less demanding period.

I was talking with a friend recently and he was telling me about an associate who’d been “asked to leave” her recently acquired non-clinical job. His description of her situation led me to read between lines and to tell him why she’d been fired – she hadn’t developed and cultivated a strong value proposition for herself. I’ve seen this before… 

The physician takes a new job – her first non-clinical post, and shows up eager every day waiting for someone to tell her what to do, to be needed. And when told she’s being let go, pleads, “Why, I’ve done everything I’ve been asked.” 

And you’re right, you have done everything you’ve been asked, and in those early, days, those newbie days, just doing what you were asked was fine. However, coming from a profession where patients are brought to you, they’re roomed and their vitals taken before you step through the door, to a non-clinical job where you not only “room your own patients,” but have to go out and find them” is a significant difference in function for which many physicians aren’t prepared. It’s the reason why, when I noted to a national recruiter for biotech and pharma that she might want access to my database of physicians seeking non-clinical opportunities, she replied, “not if they’re still in practice – I don’t work with newbie’s to the non-clinical world.” 

Therefore, what do you do when the honeymoon is over and all the other staff people have stopped hanging out in your office – when the questions change from, “I’d like your input on this,” to, “and, just what are you focusing on now…?” 

You need these three words: Focus, Plan, Process.


As you’ve been enjoying the honeymoon period, and you certainly should, use it as an intelligence gathering time. When you’re new, you can ask just about any question and poke you nose just about anywhere. Use this time to learn about the critical objectives of the organization, of your division, product area, etc… Find out what’s working as well as what isn’t. Learn the past, about disappointing failures and relished successes. Then ask yourself, what can I accomplish? In what area am I uniquely qualified to take a leadership role and achieve a success?  

After you have at least two or three critical issues/areas in which you see yourself being able to take a leadership role, share them with the person or people who decide if you stay or leave – your corporate significant others (CSO). See if they agree with your focus or if they want to modify your focus or add/detract to/from it. Discuss timing with them. If you’re very early in your tenure, it may be suggested you continue in your honeymoon focus of getting acquainted with the people and the organization – hold this “higher” focus for a bit. That’s fine. It only allows you to further investigate in a non-threatening way and develop your plan. 


Once you and the significant others around you are comfortable with your focus, develop your plan. Now you’re moving into waters that are more familiar. Treat your plan development the same way you’d treat a patient. Examine the subjective, the objective and build an assessment – then the plan. You’ve done this thousands of times. Corporate problems, challenges, goals and objectives are no different from patient problems… 

As you develop your plan, again, share it with your “corporate significant others.” Build agreement and use their knowledge to fuel the information you need. 


Now that you have focus and a plan, it’s time to begin implementing. Create at least weekly checkpoints for yourself, and report your activities to your CSO. Just like managing a patient, chart what you do. The more you approach your non-clinical role in a clinical fashion, the more successful you’ll be. 


Although not part of the original grouping of “words,” flexibility is essential in your non-clinical post. Just as patients die, so do projects and the definition of what’s important in corporate positions. Don’t become so wedded to your focus, your plan or your process, you can’t maintain objectivity in its importance and overall role in your organization. People who anticipate and see change and respond appropriately are most valuable. When your patient codes during an appendectomy, it’s time to shift your focus.

If you're reading this and saying to yourself... Great.... this is exactly what I've been doing. You're off to a great start. But, if you're saying to yourself, I'd better get up to speed quickly... just give me a call (720-339-3585), text or email. Or, use my Contact Page. I'll help you get and stay on the right path.