The economic impact of COVID-19 has left many people who remain employed feeling grateful for their jobs, even if those jobs are ones they had previously considered leaving. The complex nature of evaluating job satisfaction during an economic downturn is perhaps even more convoluted in healthcare. People working in medicine now have new issues to contend with - whether those be exposure to an unexpected virus, facing furlough, or contending with new technology or administrative issues.
Regardless of if you were unhappy in your job before the pandemic or are just now reconsidering your specific job or your entire career, here are 3 things to consider before choosing your next step.
- How does your job affect your home life? Perhaps the most important feature of any job is that it improves your life overall and does not diminish its quality. If your work frustrates you, scares you, or simply does not satisfy you, you are likely to feel unhappy or anxious even when you’re not at work. If you recognize that your overall outlook is negatively impacted by your job, you may want to begin by addressing whether it is possible to change the nature of your job such that its psychological impact on you becomes positive. However, if it’s unlikely that you will become a happier person in your current role, it may be time to move on.
- Is your work environment supportive? No matter how interesting or rewarding a particular role, if a work environment is toxic, your satisfaction with the job has an expiration date. The plus side of the importance of a supportive working environment is that being surrounded by colleagues who have your best interest in mind and who willingly and effectively collaborate with you, even otherwise mundane or even highly stressful jobs can become much more bearable and even highly satisfying. In addition, time with supportive colleagues helps to build relationships that could be fruitful in your future career endeavors.
- Do you spend most of your time deploying your expertise and pursuing your interests? One of the most troubling aspects of healthcare today is the time that many healthcare professionals spend on tasks that are unrelated to their training, expertise, and interests. This issue has been regularly cited as a contributing factor to burnout and reduction in overall job satisfaction in medicine. While some amount of tedious or seemingly irrelevant work may be unavoidable in any healthcare role, it is important to consider your level of frustration over the way your time is used throughout the day and how to reduce any relevant frustration. There may be other positions or roles that would allow you to focus more of your attention on the parts of healthcare that you imagined pursuing when you chose to work in this field.
Takeaway: While there is no perfect formula for determining if a specific job is a good fit for you, the way you feel while working, while interacting with colleagues, and even while at home can help you evaluate whether it is worth staying in your current position. Income too is of course an important contributor to comfort and happiness, so it must be incorporated into your overall assessment of the value of your job. If the economic circumstances of today reduce the likelihood that you can find an alternative job, this may be a good time to work on beefing up your resume so that you can move on when the time is right.