Your employer has criteria for evaluating you; do you have criteria for evaluating them?
I see questions about evaluating job offers SO often – and it usually centers primarily on the dollar amount. At the same time, I hear a frequent refrain among clinicians that we need to “know our worth” – as if there is some magic dollar amount that is going to make us so very satisfied in our jobs, that will prevent burnout and moral injury in the workplace, that will make us feel valued and empowered, that will offset all of the time that is spent outside of the patient-facing hours we put in each week.
I can’t stand that phrase, and I loathe the sentiment behind it even more.
It’s trite, it’s simplistic, and it’s misleading. (I think it’s also a way for people to sound like they know what they’re talking about while they’ve got their heads buried in the sand, but that’s a topic for another week.)
Here’s what I propose instead: know what you value.
Know what’s important to you. Know your boundaries. Know your dealbreakers. If you were on a first date with someone and they chewed with their mouth open, would you be okay with that? Using the same approach to evaluate your workplace is totally valid.
One of the biggest takeaways that I got while working on my Masters in Public Health was an offhand comment. My professor (Thom Walsh, PhD), started his lecture by asking us to stop. To appreciate that when we come together, we have this opportunity to THINK. He pointed out how much this contrasted with our professional realities - the majority of our cohort was established in their career…and there were a lot of clinicians, so you can do the math.
That comment stopped me in my tracks. I don’t even remember what the lecture was about, I only remember that comment. And it has stuck with me. It’s one of my dealbreakers.
What’s this got to do with “knowing your worth”? Easy. You have to have time to THINK. You have to think about where your boundaries lie, and you have to think about whether a potential suitor – oops, I mean employer – is going to fit with those boundaries. You need to think about what you want, what you need, where you are willing to compromise, and where you absolutely will not compromise.
I’m dipping my toes into the podcasting thing (currently available on Spotify and YouTube), and I put together a short series that explores this and gives you tips for questions to ask. Even if you are not currently in the market for a new job, it’s worth the time to think about where you stand and how your current situation fits (or doesn’t). Grab a cup of something, and give it a whirl.
Evaluate your employer, current or potential. They’ve got criteria for evaluating you; do you have criteria for evaluating them?
originally published February 24, 2023