Your Career: Keep Your Job While You Look

A leader unhappy at work wants to move on, but time constraints prohibit an aggressive search. Quitting isn’t the best choice, our consultant says.

Q I am currently in a leadership role where I am extremely unhappy. While the organization is quite stable and I have been in this role for four years, we have experienced a change in upper leadership, and I don’t feel they value my experience and track record. I am considering leaving the position but I can’t launch an aggressive job search given the number of hours I currently work. I can’t help but feel disengaged, and I am concerned that I will eventually get fired. Should I quit now and begin looking for a new opportunity? Or should I continue my job search with the understanding that the process may be a bit slower because of my time constraints?

A I frequently tell physicians in your situation that finding a new job is much easier when you are employed. I tested this theory while speaking to a colleague who specializes in physician recruiting, and I was told that most recruiters will work only with currently employed physicians.


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Only you can determine how unpleasant your current environment is. While you should certainly leave on your own terms, I encourage you to increase your focus on your job search while still employed. This might mean some of your extracurricular activities will have to be put on hold during your job search.

You will need to approach the search process like a job, where you set aside time daily to dedicate to tasks associated with a job search.

Make sure your résumé or CV has been updated, identify networking opportunities, prepare yourself for the interview and identify the best sources for job listings in your area of interest. If necessary, engage with a well-respected recruiter. Perhaps most important: Become very clear on your employment goals. Doing so will allow you to begin a focused and effective search.

If you believe your current environment is the catalyst for delivering poor patient care or compromising your physical or mental health, then it might be best to leave before landing another job. Should this be the case, ask for a letter of recommendation and make your best effort to leave on positive terms.

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