Episode #4: Do you have transferable skills for a nonclinical job?


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Are you thinking you don’t have the transferable skills to get a nonclinical job? In this podcast, which I refer affectionately to as the “You’re not chopped liver,” episode, you’re going to see that you do indeed have many transferable skills. I’m also going to address the catch-22 of needing experience to land a job but not being able to get a job without experience. And you’ll also hear a funny story about a job I had in a well-known hotel kitchen.

In this episode we’re talking about:

  • Your transferable skills for a nonclinical job
  • The issue with job descriptions wanting experience
  • Not knowing how to do a job when you’re hired
  • On-the-job training for nonclinical jobs
  • What happened to me in that well-known hotel kitchen

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Heather Fork


  1. NJ on November 5, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve been feeling pretty discouraged thinking that all I know how to do is see patients and that I don’t have the skills that these non clinical jobs require. Thank you for the encouragement and ray of hope.

    • Heather Fork on November 5, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      You are so incredibly welcome NJ! My intention for this podcast episode was to help you be able to see you have quite the abundance of skills and personal qualities, not to mention experience that can be used in a myriad of ways. I am very happy that you feel more hopeful! Hope and confidence is 100% warranted!

  2. Yasmine S. Ali, MD on November 5, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    One of the transferable skills I see in the medical writing world that most physicians don’t realize they have is the ability to create PowerPoint presentations. I get asked all the time by recruiters about whether or not I know how to create slide decks. For most of us, we have been doing this since medical school, and taking it for granted. But in the world of medical writing and medical communications, it is a marketable skill! And many medical writers charge the equivalent of an hour of work PER slide!

    • Heather Fork on November 5, 2020 at 5:53 pm

      Dr. Yasmine! This is excellent information about a transferable skill for medical writing! Most of us have had to make PowerPoint presentations along the way and if not, we know how to learn. Thank you for sharing your own valuable experience and also giving guidance on compensation! And an hour a slide, that is fantastic! I heard through the grapevine that you’re making an intro course for physicians on getting into Medical Writing. Be sure to let us know when this is available.

  3. Dr. Jerry Wehr on November 6, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks for the breath of fresh air! After listening to your podcast, I opened my “physician window” to rediscover my vast skill set.
    You are right, Heather! We are highly-skilled, smart, passionate, people-centered physicians and not “just another provider”
    that so many want us to believe! I like this breeze now, so I think that I will keep the window open for a bit longer!

  4. Modupe Oladeinde, MD on November 7, 2020 at 2:06 am

    Those were two great stories Heather that truly emphasize the idea that we as physicians all have many transferrable skills, and yes, many of the non clinical jobs know that they have to train for their positions. We just need to jump in there with our resumes and believe in ourselves!
    PS.. I wish you’d said something to those 2 ladies you overheard talking about you in the bathroom 🙂

    • Heather Fork on November 7, 2020 at 2:25 am

      Thank you so much Dr. Mo!! I wish I had said something too. Oh well. Next time..lol!! I have to say, your story on Podcast Episode # 3 has been inspiring to a lot of physicians. They see how you went bravely into the unknown, planned your work, and worked your plan. Having faith in ourselves is key. We have what it takes and you are living proof!

  5. Debra E Blaine, MD on November 28, 2020 at 4:49 am

    I love this podcast. It’s so important for us to be reminded of the many resources we already have and that we can dig ourselves out of a rut by seeing how our skills apply to other areas. I especially love your point that if the job is a perfect fit, it’s wrong, because it’s time to be promoted. Confidence makes such a difference in how we present, and in the current medical milieu, it seems corporations excel at beating us down. I think people would rather hire someone they connect with, even if they require training, than hire someone who knows the job inside out but is tough to work with.

    I also wish you had found a clever morsel for the two in the ladies’ room! But really, it just confirmed that you were meant for better. Thank you for all you to give to us!

Leave a Comment

Tim O

The coaching I have had with you has been life changing."

You helped me find the courage to seek out leadership positions and become a medical director as well as a physician advisor. I am grateful we crossed paths and am a different person because of it. You have inspired me to "believe" in spite of my inner skeptic. I consider you one of my most important mentors and am proud to also call you a friend. This says a lot given the apprehension I felt when I took a chance with our first coaching session. Even though I have already made a successful transition, I still value your ongoing mentorship and can enthusiastically attest that the value of your services is tremendous!

- Tim Owolabi, MD

Family Medicine
Lynette Charity

“I was at a crossroads in my medical career. I asked myself, "Do I stay or do I go?" 

I met Heather at the SEAK conference. She and I revisited this question.  Did I want to quit being medicine completely? She helped me to identify my needs, wants, and my vision for my FUTURE, not just in medicine, but in life!!!

She was able to listen to my "ramblings" about becoming a stand-up comic, lounge singer and voice-over actor and translate them into action steps.  I chose to become a composite of all of these. Now I am a more confident, healthier, happier person. I credit this in its entirety to the tutelage I have received and continue to receive from Heather.  She cares. She listens. She was there for ME.  She will be there for YOU!

- Lynette Charity, MD

Gail Miller

“I am forever grateful to Heather for helping me to recognize, I am more than just my M.D." 

Heather helped me understand that I am more than just a doctor and that my experiences in clinical medicine are valuable in so many arenas.  As a result I realized that there are other ways to use my background, still be able to help people and continue to challenge myself and grow.  To that end I discovered coaching - specifically health coaching.  I am on my journey becoming a health coach and truly loving it!

- Gail Miller, MD

OB/Gyn physician

“Thank you, Heather, for helping me transform my career, my faith and my life."

What started out as an initial thirty-minute consultation call turned into an amazing four-year journey that transformed my life, personally, spiritually and professionally. 

Heather helped me to discover my passions...by doing so, I discovered I still had a calling for medicine but it now came from a place of truth...

Today...my wife and I are opening our first concierge medicine clinic in a community we love. I’m actually excited to have the opportunity to practice medicine the way I believe it’s meant to be, with a focus on the doctor-patient relationship and an emphasis on faith. I know if I had not reached out to Dr. Fork, my life would not be where it is at today.

- Steve Lapke, MD

Papillion, NE
Sue Zimmermann

“Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart."

She is incredibly knowledgeable about the range of careers available to physicians and provided me with advice and connections which I would not have found on my own.  From the start she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I was laid off unexpectedly in early 2017, and Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart and making decisions based on trust, not fear.  Now I am enjoying working part-time in a clinical setting in addition to teaching and writing.

- Sue Zimmermann, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon
Devki Patel

After months of struggling to find a non-clinical career that matched my values and passion, I stumbled upon Heather's website which truly changed my life."

Heather's insightful and personalized approach to career coaching made me think outside the box since she took the time to evaluate my personality, values, interests, and preferred lifestyle.

Through her encouragement, practical advice, and professional connections, I was able to find a non-clinical position at a state Medicaid agency that aligned with my passion for population health and serving low-income communities. In addition to her coaching sessions, Heather has built a community of like-minded physicians through her blog, and I feel honored to recommend her to friends and colleagues who seek to make positive changes in their professional and personal lives.

- Devki Patel, MD

Jay Macregor

Working with Heather ultimately helped me leave my job in corporate healthcare and find a path that was much more fulfilling."

My career was going reasonably well but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling I could do better; or at least find a better long-term career fit.  

I was able to find a surgery job that better aligned with my goals and professional interests.  Additionally, Heather helped me start a consulting business which has allowed me to pursue a true passion: helping medical students, residents, and attendings surgeons navigate the challenges of high-stakes standardized exams.    

If you are reading this as a “Type A” surgeon who doesn’t think coaching is for you, I would encourage you to give Heather a shot.  I’m very glad I did!

- Jay MacGregor, MD

Colorectal Surgeon

“I gained the confidence in myself to develop an action plan that blended the best parts of my experiences and interests into a cohesive career." 

Through our work, I learned to trust myself to make good decisions for my own future – something I hadn’t realized I was struggling with because as an emergency physician, I make life-changing decisions with patients every day. 

By feeding my creativity and interests in other realms of my professional life, I’ve found renewed compassion for my patients and myself, making every shift an opportunity to actually care for people. Thank you Heather. I really couldn’t have made these changes without your help!

- Liz McMurtry, DO

Emergency Medicine Physician

The simple truth is - Heather Fork totally helped me change my life."

I never would have had the courage to make the changes I’ve made without her unwavering support, wealth of knowledge and commitment. 

When I first started working with Heather, I was downtrodden...I’d been practicing medicine for 20+ years and yet had never quite found my place.  During the first year I worked with Heather, I left the practice I’d been working at, and recreated an entirely new professional purpose.

I’m now an executive and leadership coach, a university professor, and a Brené Brown Daring Way facilitator, and I have never looked back.  I love what I am doing more than at any other time in my professional life and I credit Heather with seeing in me what I was never able to see in myself, until now.

Don’t hesitate, don’t doubt yourself, schedule your time with Heather as soon as possible- she can help you reconnect to your purpose and reinvent your life.

- Amie Langbein, DO

Family Physician
Untitled design

"After 30 years in academic medicine, I wanted a career change but had no idea where to start. Medicine was all I knew."

I signed up for coaching with Heather and it transformed my life. She helped me get clear on what I wanted my life to look like. We reviewed my skills, values, and strengths. She instilled hope in me that change IS possible after 50 years! 

The outcome is that I have created a life I love! I practice endocrinology part-time and own a life coaching business! Coaching with Heather is one of the best investments I have made in my life. 

- Karen Barnard, MBBCh, MPH

Endocrinologist and Life Coach

"Heather’s approach was great! She would listen to me and helped me appreciate who I am."

I remember when she said ‘do your resume before our next meeting’, I was about to push back but she gently nudged me along and I’m glad I did exactly what she wanted me to do. We also did interview prep via Zoom and I was offered a great job in UM. She has continued to follow up even after I was offered this job, helping me with pointers about negotiating. I will totally recommend the Doctors Crossing and Heather to anyone feeling stuck like me and looking for a great coach! Thank you Heather!

- Modupe Oladeinde, MD

Family Medicine