When my little brother Dave does something, I pay attention.
Not just to what he does, but HOW he does it.
I remember watching him use two garbage cans and a pole to learn how to ride a unicycle.
I remember watching him learn how to build bicycles by taking them apart and putting them back together.
Last month I spoke at his wedding and revealed to the guests how my dear brother, a physicist and engineer, found the love of his life.
Today I’m sharing Dave’s approach to finding love because there are great parallels to finding a job/career that you love.
Step One – Get clear on what you want
Before he started dating, Dave made a list of what was important to him in a relationship and a partner. He’d been married once before, so he had some perspective.
He also wrote an online profile where he described the woman he was looking for – not her appearance, but her qualities and values. He included a funny and true description of himself and what he offered as a partner. (He shared the profile with me the other day and it gave me goosebumps. He had perfectly described the two of them!)
Before applying to jobs or considering different career directions, write down everything you can think of that you want and prioritize the list. Think about what’s working and not working in your current job and any past jobs, to inform your list.
Write out a vision of what you want this job to be like. The more specific you can be with details, even down to the emotions you want to feel on the job, the better. You don’t have to know exactly what kind of work you’ll be doing to do this exercise.
Make sure to include what you bring to the table and have to offer. This is your value proposition and helps you know your worth – so you don’t settle.
Step Two – Do some research
Dave told me about how he did a lot of reading about the science behind human attraction and chemistry. He got into the biological underpinnings of mate selection… There was talk about pheromones and sweaty T-shirts and way more than I can remember. I had to remind myself, my brother makes his living doing research and he likes being well-prepared.
When it comes to a different job or career direction, research often involves networking. Finding people who work in a specific job or career sector you’re interested in is a great way to learn if it would be a good fit for you. Physician FaceBook Groups, LinkedIn, conferences, blogs, podcasts, and good old Google are great resources.
Step Three – Get out there and date/interview
Dave said that when he started dating, he made the commitment to go on two dates a week until he found “The One.” He said, “I knew I’d have to kiss a lot of frogs, but I was up for it.”
He also revealed that he had a…….. Can you guess?? A spreadsheet! We were talking on the phone when he told me this, and I could tell he was searching his computer for it. I was soooooo curious what was on it. But no luck. It was gone. It had served its purpose to keep track of his dates.
I suggest to my clients to create a spreadsheet when they’re interviewing for jobs. On the spreadsheet are all the things they’re looking for in a job. After the interviews, they rate each company on the criteria they selected, as well as their current company.
When interviewing for a job, don’t forget they’re not the only ones doing the interviewing. You‘re interviewing them as well.
You’re trying to find out if they are a good match for you.
The information on your spreadsheet can help you be strategic in asking questions that will help you figure out if they are the one for you.
Step Four – Evaluate your true feelings
Dave’s first date with Lynne sounded so romantic. They met at a French restaurant near a train stop on the Caltrain line. Like out of a movie, she is this gorgeous, effervescent, redheaded gal with beautiful green eyes. At dinner, they hold hands across the table. She’s a doctor. Smart, fun, funny.
He said he just knew there was something special about Lynne.
And… he also had the benefit of getting to go on more dates.
Unfortunately, after the interviews are over, we don’t get to “go on more dates.” If we get a job offer, we have to make a decision.
When you’re on the fence about a job and it’s not an obvious YES, go back to your spreadsheet.
If being passionate about your work is at or near the top, you do want to be feeling really excited about the work you’re going to be doing.
If having flexibility and benefits are at or near the top of the list, you don’t have to be head over heels in love with the job. It first and foremost needs to have the structure and compensation package that works for you. On the spreadsheet, see how your current job compares with the new opportunity.
Do you deserve to love your job?
Another factor can be less obvious, but still at play. It’s believing you deserve what you want and it’s OK to want it.
I hear physicians say sometimes, “But who likes their job anyway? Isn’t that why they call it work?” Or, “I feel like I’m just whining about my job. Other people are working even harder than me.”
To find that special love, you have to believe it’s possible. (My brother initially said he wasn’t getting married again.)
To find that job you love, you have to believe it’s possible.
And know you deserve it.
And trust me, you do! Give yourself the time and resources to take whatever steps you need to enjoy your work and life. Life’s too short to be kissing too many frogs, or feeling like one.
On July 10th I’m featuring our brand new member of the Physician Career Transition Posse!!
A special thank you to my brother Dave for sharing his story of finding Lynne and for being such an inspiration to me in so many ways.