Creating your dream job isn’t easy. In the last four weeks you have examined your values, discussed them with knowledgeable others, investigated different environments, and aligned your needs and theirs. You’ve done a lot of hard work.
Now the work gets even harder. Time to get down and dirty. Action plan?
- Identify Specifics
- Communicate Effectively—one step at a time
- Negotiate well
Identify specifics. Your list of specifics will depend on the type of job, your values, the environment and their needs. Make sure you have all the documents you need that will impact your position (policies, procedures, promotion and tenure guidelines, etc).
In no particular order of importance these are the top 5 areas you need to include:
- Schedule—time in direct patient care/research/education/administration, conference leave, vacation, call responsibilities, and all other claims on your time.
- Economics—base salary, incentives, bonuses, raises, expense sharing.
- Benefits—health, pension, disability, life insurance, parental leave, society memberships, journal subscriptions, and the like.
- Career advancement—time to partnership, time to tenure, governance, and opportunities for leadership in the organization.
- Resources—equipment (medical, surgical and office), office space, support staff (medical and clerical), help with licensing, medical staff privileges, signing onto contracts for third party payers.
Communicate Effectively. How you communicate the specifics is going to depend on what the feedback has been thus far. Each situation will present special circumstances. My advice: be direct, consistent, and complete as possible. Use multiple modalities of communication—face-to-face, written, and phone conversations all have their time and place.
Take your time to work out each detail. Do not expect to “bang out an agreement” after one or two meetings or phone conversations. Building effective communication takes time and patience and will set the stage for future substantive discussions in all areas of the relationship. And remember, if you don’t ask for it, no one will know that you want it, whatever it may be.
Negotiate Well. Women are not always as skilled in negotiating as they would like to be. Gender stereotyping further handicaps our abilities as effective negotiators. Research has shown that women in the business world who negotiate are less likely to be hired as they are seen as difficult, demanding and aggressive.
If you think you need help, engage a coach who can help you to prioritize and articulate your needs and desires in a positive and effective manner.
Speaking of help, you will want to consult an attorney. Written documents, such as contracts or letters of intent, protect both parties. Attorneys can sometimes be useful in helping you develop the framework (your specific needs), advising on style and mode for communication, and in negotiating skillfully. In my experience, a good attorney will not be front and center, but help you behind the scenes until the near final draft of the document needs to be reviewed.
So there you have it. A crash course in creating your dream job. Here’s to your success!
Ask Linda is a forum in which you can pose questions of interest about women in today’s world. Though I am first and foremost an “expert” on the gender gap for women in medicine (physicians and patients alike), I am prepared to answer other relevant questions about medicine, the challenges women face in life and parenting. If I do not know the answer, I will try to find someone who can. Ask Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org.