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Epic Career Moves - Step One

September 11, 2009
by Joe Bormel
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The word

epic can mean heroic or grand in scale or character. This weekend, along with several dozen other instructors, I will be presenting at a course for career changers. The personal and professional risks of changing careers is an epic decision. And, as suggested by

the fire extinguisher in the locked box graphic, you need the keys before there's a fire. You cannot start your search for the

keys once you're engulfed in a fire! Same with career management.


conference is SEAK's


th Annual 2009 Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians. (The 2010, 7th Annual conference I cover in Step Five of the series, here:

http://tinyurl.com/248hpgm ) Although directed to physicians, the issues are more universal:

The ... course is designed for ... [people] ... who: (from their web site)

  • Don't enjoy going to work anymore
  • Are ready for new challenges
  • Want to explore their options
  • Are frustrated and dissatisfied with their current career
  • Want to learn how to locate and land lucrative ... positions
  • Are in or near retirement and are looking for additional income/challenges
  • Would like to eliminate the stress and time commitments of their current career and spend more time with their families
  • Are looking to jump start their career transition
  • Are deciding whether to change careers
  • Need a jumping-off point for their career transition

My section, "

Medical Informatics: Non-Clinical Career Options for Physicians," is one of 24 in the main session, which has approximately four days of non-overlapping breadth, delivered over two days, with other materials and networking built in. The support and feedback I've received as a speaker from this organization (seak.com) has been exemplary, including very specific feedback from attendees on exactly what they want and need from my session. The wonders of the Internet in general, and effectively used email in particular! They used a concurrent snail-mail vehicle as well, considering a heterogeneous set of skills in their target audience. And I'm not talking about email use; I'm talking about time management associated with effective email use.

The topic does not fit into a 50-minute time slot aimed at a diverse audience. So, working with my colleague, Tonya Hongsermeier, MD, MBA, we broke this down into two sections, with extensive and clear content on two sets of handouts. With the permission of SEAK and Tonya, I am publishing both sections in this blog. Tonya's great presentation is at the end of this post.

Tonya's section covers the 50,000 foot perspective question,

what are the

"Clinical Informatics Opportunities in Healthcare and Lifesciences."

After I present my section, I will publish "Epic Career Moves - Step Two," containing my runway level perspective on

how to pursue

"Health Informatics: Non-Clinical Career Options for Physicians."

I'm confident that readers will find useful material to "borrow" from both presentations. I'm also confident that my friends, Gwen and Tim, will provide a comment with links to their own

key recommendations!

/Media/BlogTopics/2008 Hongsermeier - Medical Informatics Careers SEAK.pdf

The blog post,

Epic Career Moves - Step Two is here.



Thanks Gwen.

The ORCHID lesson, and that entire first presentation was produced and delivered by Tonya Hongsermeier. Like you, Gwen, Tonya has a knack for figuring out where the world is going and helping her friends along the way.

You'll have to move on to the "Epic Career Moves - Step Two" post to see where I went with her foundation.

I would encourage my audience from SEAK to scan through Gwen and Tim's career skills and guidance in their blog posts on this site.


I've spent some time reviewing your presentation. . . WOW! Fantastic materials. You've obviously followed your passion(s) when making choices for your career I'm sure your enthusiasm is contagious when speaking to a group who are considering a career change. I'd love to sit in on your next session!

Tim's insightful comments line up so well with your presentation's ORCHID lesson on how to line up your career with your personal strengths. Thanks for putting together (and sharing) this excellent resource.


A word about the fire extinguisher in the locked cage. That photo came from the Naval Safety site:


It highlights the absurdity of many unsafe and unwise acts. The pictures there are always amusing, if you give them the caption "Why Women Live Longer Than Men."

My full slide set includes a sampling of these humorous pictures, about every six to eight slides. I've removed them from the attached slide above for size and focus.

Tim, I love your clarity, brevity, consistency and succinctness!


This is great stuff and very much on point given the spotlight on HCIT. Developing a Ready-Shoot-Aim strategy is not the ideal approach to take. Doing an honest assessment of what you like to do and what would energize one to step out of their comfort zone and begin a new career can be a bit nerve-racking but very exciting at the same time. I get back to three key drivers that have served me well over the years.

1. Love what you do. Period. Have a passion for your work and know that your contribution is making a difference beyond any financial gains that you may receive.

2. Find something that challenges you and make sure you are learning something new. To do the same thing over and over — year after year without learning and growing professionally seems a bit monotonous to me. Make a commitment to be in a constant state of learning.

3. Finally, you should wake up every day and look forward to going to work. This is so important to me. I tell people that if you love what you do and feel like you are learning and growing — you probably can't wait to get to work each day. Why do something you hate — right?

I think you need guiding principles before you launch a search to find something new. Re-inventing yourself is a wonderful thing as long as you have the right foundation that ensures you are making the move for the right reasons!