Friday, May 8, 2015

How to Professionally Resign from a Position

So, I feel like this is a topic that may seem like it is common sense knowledge, but I recently had a less-than-stellar situation at work. So, I thought perhaps I should write about it in hopes that someone would read it and maybe think twice before acting (a fool).

You land your dream job and everything seems like it couldn't be more perfect. But, what happens when you realize that what you thought would be a good fit really isn't? Sometimes life isn't perfect and you need to re-evaluate and do what is best for yourself. And I'm talking about what is best for yourself in both a professional and personal manner.

One thing that I think is so important is that you never want to burn any bridges or lose any connections. Especially in certain geographical areas where the physical therapy community is small. A lot of times people know people who know people who know people who... you get the picture. If you need to resign from a position it is of utmost importance to do so graciously, and with your reputation still intact.

So, what is the "professional" way to resign?

1. First, talk with your supervisor

  • Nothing stings more than a complete blind side. If you are struggling in your position, talk to your supervisor or mentor (if you have one). Sometimes your supervisor may not even be aware there is a problem and if it is one that can be rectified the first step is letting them know.

2. Provide your own suggestions on ways to improve your employment situation

  • If you are overwhelmed, stressed about scheduling, don't like a certain policy, etc. come prepared with some suggestions on how to fix the situation. Nothing stinks more than having someone say, "This sucks" with no ideas on how they would like to fix the situation. 

3. Carefully consider the pros/cons

  • Once you've discussed your issues and you've come up with some potential "fixes" decide if this is going to truly work for you. I am a big proponent of keeping a pros/cons list to help yourself see outside of the emotions.

4. Once you've made your decision, create a resignation letter

  • There are plenty of resources available online to help you create a professional resignation letter. 

5. Give at least 2-4 weeks notice.

  • I know most companies have a policy, so you should follow it. Under no circumstance should you ever disappear and leave your caseload with no therapist to treat. Four weeks gives your employer (and yourself) time to assess the situation, find a replacement and get your caseload in order to take over.

6. Discuss your decision (calmly) with your supervisor

  • Take the time to discuss your decision with your supervisor in person. Although the professional relationship is not going to work out, they still gave you a position and you owe them the respect to discuss your decision. Again, don't burn bridges- you never know where you may go and who may know someone you worked with before!

7. Move on and keep your lips sealed!

  • You've done it! You made it through your resignation notice and now you are free. Be proud that you did what was right for you. But, please keep your lips sealed when it comes to your prior employer. No matter how awful the situation was, you never want to badmouth a former employer. It just plain looks bad on you. It will never reflect poorly on the company. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy One Year Anniversary (to me)!

Today marks a special day in my physical therapy career... I have been my company for one full year! I cannot even believe that I have been a practicing physical therapist for ONE YEAR! I often think back on my time in school and praise the Lord above I am no longer in classes. Right now, if I were in school, I would be in neuro class.

I feel like I have learned a lot in one year and that I have a lot more to learn as I grow as a physical therapist. Working for my company has been great and stressful all at the same time. But, I'm looking forward to what the future will bring.

Here are ten things I've learned in the past year:

1. When you get a straight forward patient case, be thankful; they do NOT come often.

2. No matter how much you try to get "buy in" there are just some patients that aren't going to buy what you are selling, and that doesn't make you a bad physical therapist

3. You will get people better that you thought you could never get better; and vice versa... You will not get people better that you thought you could get better.

4. You'll find that the most rewarding part of your job is when you can laugh with a patient.

5. Your coworkers will drive you insane from time to time; it's not always sunshine and happiness.

6. You will learn to love the patients that are difficult to love.

7. When you think that you cannot do one more thing, you'll do ten more and impress yourself with your own multi-tasking skills.

8. You may want to quit, and that's OK, everyone has job related stresses.

9. You will learn that it is finally OK to take care of yourself and have hobbies, instead of reading your notes all night.

10. You will learn that yes, after all the questions and doubts, you did make the right choice!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Guess what?

We are engaged! 

After almost 8 years of dating, he finally popped the question last night. And, of course, 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Setting Career Goals Early

Something that I feel very passionate about, is not becoming complacent in life. I feel this way with both my personal and professional life, which is why I think it's so important to set career goals early and re-evaluate those goals frequently. I try to keep thinking about goals in terms of 6 months, 1 year and 5 years. By doing this, it helps keep me motivated to work hard in the present and by checking in on my goals I keep myself in check for moving forward in the future.

Before I graduated, one of our professors gave us an assignment that I think every PT school should make their students do and it was called a "Professional Development Plan". It forced every single one of my classmates to think about what they wanted to accomplish, professionally, in the next 3-7 years. I feel like when you're in PT school, the end goal is graduation. The end goal is to get that DPT. The end goal is to survive. Right? Well, I found myself, after graduating and passing the boards, having a short moment of, "Now what?" For the past 4-5 years I had been so focused on setting goals of going back to school to take pre-reqs, getting accepted, getting through school, passing the boards, and landing a job that I hadn't spent much time thinking BEYOND that point. 

So, I was actually really glad that one of my professors forced me to think about life beyond that first job, and then to record down some goals in WRITTEN FORMAT, to hold myself accountable. And, now that I'm roughly 6-7 months into my first position and things are starting to normalize, I feel that I've been thinking a lot more about "the future" and what my next steps should be to get there. 

For this reason, I wanted to post the thought process that my professor enstiled in me, and the thought process that I currently use when I'm thinking about the future and what moves to make next. 

Here is a somewhat simple five step process to make your own professional development plan that is actually more than just saying, "Someday I'd like to..." (Underneath each step, I am going to share with you, one of my personal goals as an example.)

Step 1: Choose a goal that is something you'd like to do and choose a TIMEFRAME to achieve this goal
  • Become a successful clinical instructor at my place of employment (Summer 2016)

Step 2: Consider what your reasoning is for this and what the potential benefits could be
  • Important to the continuation of this profession
  • Valuable learning experience for the student and myself
  • Background and interest in education

 Step 3: What strategies are you going to utilize to get to this goal... specifically?
  •  When interviewing, discuss opportunities for becoming a clinical instructor, the guidelines that the company employs and how to meet those guidelines
  • Observe colleagues that are clinical instructors to gain knowledge
  • Continuously practice in a professional and ethical manner
  • Complete the APTA Clinical Instructor Education and Credentialing Course

 Step 4: What resources and support are necessary for you to meet this goal?
  •   Lecture from Principles of Practice V (my course at school) regarding becoming a clinical instructor
  • Information available on the APTA website
  • Continuing education courses from APTA on clinical instruction
  • Using colleagues that are currently clinical instructors as a resource

 Step 5: What challenges or problems may occur that would impede reaching the goal?
  •  Ensuring that I find a place of employment that will support me in this goal and help me achieve my goal in a timely manner
  • Being able to manage time effectively with the additional requirements that will be required with taking on a student
  • Receiving appropriate preparation and resources from place of employment and academic institution

By placing this much thought into a goal, it turns that goal into a plan rather than a wish. And when you have a plan, and you have a guideline and you have thought about what you may encounter en-route to your goal, then, in my opinion, you are more likely to succeed and reach that goal. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Wow, a lot has changed!

I just looked back through my blog to around this time last year (and then the year before) and, wow. I have come a LONG way! I can't believe that it's 2014 and I'm a licensed PT working on my 5th month of rightful employment. ;) I remember when I first decided to go back to school for physical therapy and how daunting and impossible everything seemed... and even reading my blog from July 2013 and July 2012, I realized how far I've come... This time last year I was in my last semester of classes in PT school. I was working on writing my systematic review for graduation and learning about some more specialty-type areas of PT (including aquatic therapy and burn care.) The year before that, I was just about to start my very first clinical experience. Holy moley... I remember being so worried about my first clinical experience, and it has turned out to be an invaluable experience that, to this day, I still cherish. (And still use information from that clinical... well, the nuggets that stuck with me!)

I'd love to say time flies when  you're having fun, but I don't really consider PT school "fun". Yes, there were many laughs and good memories, but it was a lot of work and there were a LOT of times I considered quitting. Now that I'm working, I'm so glad I stuck with it... Everything fell into place so well for me and now I'm getting ready to embark on a bigger adventure with my current company. I'm actually going to be able to to continue to be passionate about cardiopulmonary causes and work towards getting patients the preventative care they need. I would have never believed myself (or anyone) if they had told me that I was going to get to work with such a special patient population, and still work on my orthopedic skills at the same time. I've been really blessed with a first job that is diverse and with a coworker that is a fabulous mentor (although is challenging to work with at times).

It seems like years ago (and let's be honest... it really was... it's been 7 years since I graduated with my education degree) that I was embarking upon a teaching career, or rather trying to, never knowing where I would be 7 years later... Life is funny.

It's days like these when I can sit back and reflect a little and realize that I did it... Classroom to Clinic. I did it, even though there were people who probably doubted me, there were people who didn't understand why I "gave up teaching". I had a supportive family and boyfriend that got me through it. And I'm a doctor now! :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just plugging along...

So, here I am still plugging along. Another weekend passed, and gearing up for a shortened work week this week! (I looooove holidays!) I'm looking forward to making a move in my current company, as I had an opportunity present itself to me not long after I posted on this blog last. It was sort of a serendipitous type of thing... I was feeling a overwhelmed, over worked and a little hopeless. And then opportunity came, saving me. Ha.

Eh, the funny thing about life is sometimes when you think you can't push any further and that no one has noticed you've been busting your tail, every once in awhile someone has been paying attention and then good things happen.

I'm looking forward to the move within my current company to give me a bit of freedom (although I've only been there since February, since I was a student there, I had a slight head start on the happenings) and more motivation to continue pursuing my interests with the cardiopulmonary aspect of physical therapy.

And, when a good opportunity comes to further your career, you've got to take it... So, I am. I'm going to be moving to a different office location to help form an agreement with my current company and  a company that is going to be opening some breathing disorder centers. It's a great time to jump head first into being the PT that's interested in cardiopulmonary in our company because no one fills that area, and who knows where it will lead. Maybe nowhere, but maybe somewhere. All I know is that I needed something to come along before I got so burnt out that I made a rash decision, and it came all on its own.

Two. Thumbs. Up.

I hate being vague on here, but I don't like giving too much information that is personal. But, I am very excited for this opportunity and I love my cardiopulmonary patients! :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The New Grad Blues

Ok, so... Here it goes... I have the new grad blues. I think this is normal... Or at least, I keep meeting with my former advisor from PT school (what a great opportunity that she can continue to be my mentor!) and she makes me feel this way. I had all these aspirations and "life will be so much better when..." moments, so to be honest I feel a little let down. Things aren't really panning out the way I had foreseen in my dreams.

Without sounding like a big baby, just take this with a grain of salt. The reason (well not the only one...) that I chose the job I did was because I had a clinical rotation there and it wasn't overly busy. The environment was slower than most OP clinics and of course, the pulmonary and cardiac rehab was a huge pull for me... However, since I started we have been blowing the doors off the clinic with so many new referrals. In fact, in April I saw the most patients a PT has seen *ever* in one month at the clinic. This is great for experience, great for keeping the day moving fast, but awful for my personal health. I am literally being run into the ground, sometimes needing to stay until 9pm at night to finish everything that I need to do... It's like I'm starting to get burnt out and I have literally just begun.

I know that OP clinics are busy, I get it. (Like I said, not trying to be a baby... although, this is my blog so I can say what I want!) But, I wouldn't be in OP if it wasn't for this particular company and their cardiopulmonary aspect. I'm starting to worry that perhaps this isn't the setting for me. I know that if I were to leave my current position (as in some day, like when I'm ready to move forward with my career) I wouldn't really want to take my base knowledge of orthopedics and head to another OP clinic. It's just not me. There are plenty of people who love ortho and that is fantastic. And I am loving the well-rounded experience I am getting right now, but it's not something I'm going to specialize in later on in my career. Additionally, I am a bit worried about my base knowledge I'm gaining in cardiopulmonary. This is something I have great interest in but I am trying to be realistic about my options for moving forward in this specialized area. I'm not so sure that there are that many opportunities for someone who wants to focus purely on cardiopulmonary.

So, this newfound doubt plus the overwhelming stress of literally doing nothing but work/sleep has me feeling blue. In fact, it has me feeling like maybe I shouldn't have gone to PT school at all. I love my patients and I love patient care and I love most things about my job, but the stress is too much. I just feel like I am being pushed so much for being a new grad. I mean, I'm seeing as many (and sometimes more!) patients a day as my mentor/boss who has almost 20 years of experience. It's just daunting. I'm not asking someone to pat me on the back and baby me, but for crying out loud - I. Am. Exhausted.