It is really easy - if ones career is not bringing joy - to view career planning with great suspicion.
How could it possibly make any difference to a drifting or stalling trainee or a plateau after CCST or partnership.
However, attitude to career planning is key here.
First and foremost career planning should be an enjoyable activity that one looks forward to doing from which one gets results that take one closer to where one would like to go.
It is vital that one maintains this attitude and realises that whilst you may be welded to your own idea of what a career in medicine should be - the scenery and systems change so fast that adaptability is fast becoming the top medical career planning skill.
People don't career plan for a number of reasons
They assume they can't change things
They feel trapped
They are exhausted and or with no time in which to do it
They think it means leaving what one has achieved behind
They feel it is financially unwise
They don't know where to start
They think it is somehow "not nice" to do so
However, well supported career planning addresses all of these concerns and encourages ways around them, attitudinal expansion and plenty of risk management. It is never ever about leaping into the blue yonder without a parachute.
By the time some people reach out to Medical Forum they can be quite sceptical about career planning - such is their disillusionment with where they are right now.
If there is a dissonance between where you are and where you expected to be - there is bound to be some dissatisfaction. However it can be even worse if you never had clear expectations and clear career goals in the first place. If the latter is the case - how on earth can one think one could end up somewhere that meets needs and matches what one wanst when one never defined these? It sounds such an obvious thing to say yet it seems many people step onto what they think is a training conveyor belt and hope that will take them to where they want to go.
You can take 100 trainees in the same specialty and not all of them will end up with the same careers. Far from it. The difficulty lies with lack of time being put to career planning, lack of training, lack of culture that s
"but I am planning to take my MRCP - that's planning"
Well yes and no
MRCP is a hurdle
A stage along the pathway
But it is not strictly career planning - it is about 5% of a career plan.
Doctors need far more help in steering through the career maze , defining their own particular blend of talents and how best to use these.
When I set up Medical Forum 27 years ago - everyone said "but doctors do not need career guidance".
The current burgeoning of career coaching and career conferences I think finally has proven me right.
But we were the first - by some margin!! (sorry but I think a wee trumpet blow is called for there).
What are your reasons for working?
The answer to this question ... apart from 'to earn money'
will be different for different people
To gain status will be important for some and bottom if the list for others
For others camaraderie/ belonging
For others independence
For some.,..solitude or to spend as much time as possible in nature
For stimulation/ challenges
For a worthwhile purpose
For a good pension/ provide for family
To experience learning
It is worth taking some time to think about your own personal reasons for working and if all the above apply - which are the most important.
And what are my reasons for working?
To experience passion and build / contribute something worthwhile