Today we have a very special guest post interview with founder of Doctor’s Crossing and MD career coach Dr. Heather Fork.
Heather Fork, MD, CPCC, is an ICF certified coach, she works with physicians who are seeking to renew and reinvigorate their careers and avoid burnout.
She helps doctors tap into their natural abilities to identify new and inspiring opportunities. These opportunities may exist within clinical medicine or even in non-clinical physician careers. She recognized that too many physicians are suffering from stress and burnout, Dr. Fork is dedicated to improving physician well-being collectively, as well as individually.
After practicing for 9 years in her own successful dermatology practice, she made the difficult decision to leave her practice and pursue a calling to serve others in a different way. Having gone through her own career transition, she is able to integrate her experience, training, and abiding interest in her work to help other physicians find happiness, success and fulfillment in their own lives and careers.
In 2012, Medscape interviewed Dr. Fork for what would become one of their most viewed articles of the year. This popular article, Tired of Being a Doctor? Choices for Opting Out of Medicine, seemed to resonate with a lot of practitioners and still does.
I help physicians who are seeking to renew and reinvigorate their careers and avoid burnout. In a coaching program, clients have a chance to reflect on what is most important to them and gain clarity through the exploration of core values, interests, skills and work preferences. This include a personality assessment as well as custom tailored exercises that explores hidden talents as well as natural abilities and potential career areas.
Once the “big picture” of the individual is completed, we focus on specific career guidance. We dig deep to explore potential career paths based on innate and sometimes buried strengths.
2. What are some of the biggest challenges that your clients face when seeking a career change?
One of the big challenges I see comes from the fact that there are many non-clinical career options and no well-defined path to reach any of them. The path to become a doctor, while arduous, is clearly laid out and very linear. A doctor can have difficulty knowing which non-clinical careers might be a possibility for them, and then also have trouble knowing how to make the transition. We work together to find clarity and to develop a plan to start them on their journey.
A quote I like to share with my clients is one by Dr. Martin Luther King:
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
3. Why is entrepreneurship important to you?
I believe that America is a great place to start a business! Entrepreneurship, however, may not be for everyone. There is a certain degree of risk involved and there is an element of having faith in the unknown.
If you are the type of person that prefers a stable paycheck or needs a lot of direction to be productive, then the entrepreneurial lifestyle may not be for you. However, if you are able to accept the risk, and are willing to “do what it takes” to be successful, you have a good chance of
being able to live your dream and have autonomy.
You can build your business around your lifestyle instead of the other way around.
4. When you left dermatology to pursue your current career path, what was your biggest fear?
I knew when I left my practice that I needed a change, I had been working as a dermatologist in private practice for 9 years. I took a chance on myself and was fortunate enough to be able to allow myself time to gain some clarity on the type of life that I wanted to lead.
I left dermatology not knowing exactly what I needed, but willing to “let the dust settle” before continuing on my career path. I spent that time living a very simplified life, volunteering was most important to me as I searched for a new path that would make a difference in the world. I know it sounds strange, but I don’t recall having any fear. The most palpable emotion I felt was that I knew I had to do something different, if there was anything I was afraid of, it was of continuing in a situation that I didn’t want to be in.
5. What advice would you give to the pharmacist who is headed down the path to burnout?
First, do some soul searching. Ask yourself “What isn’t working?” It may be a less than optimal job situation that could be fixed by cutting back hours, changing positions internally in the company or improving your current setting in some way. It is also important to look at all the elements of your life and lifestyle, and see what you can do to take better care of yourself. If you are not eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep or finding support in your relationships, you are greater risk for burnout.
Second, consider changing settings. Such as going from retail to hospital to reinvigorate your career. Maybe you would even consider moving to a new location that would better suit your lifestyle.
Lastly, identify your skills and abilities and think about what service you would like to bring forth to the world. This may mean pursuing a teaching opportunity or even starting a new career in medical writing. Exploring more opportunities will help provide options and expose you to new ideas.
When I left medicine to become a certified career coach, I was taking a chance on myself. I wanted to help other practitioners find meaning and purpose in their work and experience the joy of finding their passion.
I want to thank Dr. Fork for sharing her story with the “Pharmapreneur” community. She continues to inspire doctors to take charge of their journey, providing faith and guidance along the way. You can find more information about Dr. Fork’s work on her website.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to get all of our blog posts delivered directly to your inbox, join our Newsletter!
If you are interesting with working with me contact me here.