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Career Coach

Shadowing

Published February 20, 2013 3:20 PM by Renee Dahring
Have you received a job offer but you just aren't sure you are ready to accept? Maybe you feel a little rushed, maybe you didn't get all your questions answered. This happens more often than you think. 

I always tell job seekers that getting a job offer is a bit like receiving a marriage proposal. It's very flattering to know that you are wanted. But sometimes we can find ourselves so overwhelmed by the notion that someone truly desires us that we forget to consider whether the feeling is mutual. 

And like a marriage, committing to a new job is big step and shouldn't be left to one's emotions, because once done, it's not easy to undo. It's one of life's ironies (or jokes) that getting out of a bad relationship can be much more complicated than entering into one. I am asked by clinicians more often than you might imagine for advice about how they can end their employment. (We will leave that topic for another blog!)

So for those of you looking to begin a new job and to avoid a messy divorce I recommend you consider a longer engagement. Before you think I have completely gone off the rails let me explain. 

Ask for a "shadow" day. This has become more and more common in recent years. Requesting to spend a shift or two with one of their current providers, "shadowing" is a good way for both parties to get to know each other better. 

As a clinician, you will get a clearer idea of not only the job duties and patient flow but also the personality of the practice. Remember, an interview lasts usually no more than an hour and it's relatively easy for everyone to be on their best behavior. It's a little harder to hide dysfunction for an entire day. If there is an undercurrent of tension or disorganization you are going to pick up on it. 

So what's in it for the employer? A good fit, that's what employers get out of the shadow. Employers are just as eager to find an employee who fits in with their practice culture as you are to find a practice that fits you. A happy employee is a long term employee.  As I have said many times before, clinicians rarely leave jobs where they are happy even if they can make better money elsewhere. Great pay and benefits aren't enough for happiness. Now that I think about it, that is the case for many marriages as well. 

1 comments

Excellent post. I have recommended shadowing to others, & done so myself, prior to accepting job offers. I would emphasize the importance of reflection after the shadow event. Take a day or 2, or longer if needed, to listen to your gut. Are there little pink flags...or more ominous red road blocks?  

It's been my experience that red flags were waving right before my eyes when I found myself in disastrous job situations. In retrospect, I think, like many healthcare providers, I thought, "it will be different with me" or "I can help make it better" or even, "the money makes it worth it". None of which proved true.

Thank you again for your great posts.

Gayle, PA-C April 21, 2013 10:44 AM
MI

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    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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