As most of you know, I did a total plot change from graduation from residency in 2014 to now. My transition feels like the Family Circus cartoon where I have jumped, ran, hopped and skipped around to many places.
Here’s the summary: I was a full 1.0 FTE outpatient family medicine physician managing cradle to grave from newborn exams, nursing home visits, hospice home visits, school athletic physicals and everything in between. Then gave up a nursing home then rearranged my schedule to have a “full day off.” Next, tried going down to a 0.6 FTE working M-W-F but continued Q3wk call (we did eventually get some tremendous help with getting nursing support at the call center, HUGE relief). At the end of a 3 year contract, I walked away instead of resigning then transitioned to a rural Emergency Department working 8-12 twelve hour shifts a month. Most recently, I dropped the ED and started working from home with coaching, consulting and telemed.
And I’m sure that I’m not done yet as far as transitioning. So I’ve had several exit plans and several times where I have doubted myself and my decisions. So that’s the preface for this blog, “What do you do when your newer, happier path doesn’t seem to be working out!?!”
Here’s my thoughts and my counter-thoughts on digging into my own situation that I hope is helpful to yours!
“Holy shit, I’m not making close to the money I thought I would or previously did!”
Are the bills being paid?
Have you changed your spending habits?
Do you have a budget? Are you doing it?
How much is your time worth to you?
How much is this new schedule, freedom, availability worth?
How much more is your family growing in a loving place rather than avoiding mom?
What is joy and happiness worth in your life?
If it’s actual dollars not coming in, are you asking for clients or actually selling your products? Are you undercharging and overdelivering?
“I’m starting to feel the flickers of burnout again”
What about this feels similar to before?
Where in your life and practice have you slipped back into old habits that contributed to your burnout?
Did you really make changes or was it just a change of scenery?
In what areas do you need to make changes now?
“I’m somewhat happier but it’s not turned out like I thought it would.”
Are you focusing on the negative?
Identify where the new happiness is.
Did you have realistic expectations for your change?
Is more coming but you are being impatient?
Is it time to change again?
So a couple of options you have:
Turn tail and go back. Return to what you were doing before
Pivot to something new. Maybe an adjustment
Pause. Look around and see what’s happening
Continue forward. Stay the course and give it a bit more time
Sit with these options. What resonates with you? What turns you away?
We can seek guidance but ultimately no one can tell you your course to happiness in and with your life. So keep exploring, keep going and know that you are not alone!