As I sit in a pizza shop trying to organize my thoughts, I'm not quite sure where to begin. This blog may ramble on. It's been a crazy 5 months and I'm trying, as I imagine many New Professionals are, to appreciate what I've accomplished in my time since PT school as well as to assess what I can still do with my remaining year and half of 'newbie' status.
Many salient quotes come to mind:
"What we have to remember is that we are really, very young. We have time to recreate ourselves as professionals many times over at this point." ~James Spencer
"You have 30 days to make this website happen." ~Steve Wolf, regarding a project I proposed in February [note: it hasn't happened yet]
"I'm pushing really hard to get approval for another Level 3 position to open up. If it does, I think you should be one of several people to interview for it. [read: You want a carrot? Who's a good boy? Carrot? Carrot? Roll over. Roll over.]" ~my boss
"Systems are rarely disrupted from within the silo. Generally, innovation happens at the intersections of multiple disciplines by upstarts with novel ideas." ~paraphrased from Clayton Christensen in pretty much everything he's ever written about Disruptive Innovation
I guess a part of what I'm struggling with here is the desire to step out of the mainstream. The fear, of course, is getting swept in the wrong direction or being a failure. Escalators aside, it's not in my nature to be a risk taker, so getting swept away looms large in my list of activities to avoid. There is a point in life, however, when I think someone has to decide to risk sinking, abysmally, or 'stay in line' in perpetuity.
For most New Professionals it's just not in the cards to take significant risks. This problem will only get worse as PT school continues to become more expensive and as available health care reimbursement dollars decline. While it makes leaving the mainstream more difficult, this may be the best thing that's ever happened for Physical Therapy. Back in February, I listed as an 'inspirational thought' the idea that payment is a "shrinking pie" (fewer available dollars, smaller pieces to go around, etcetera). I ask, what could be better for an evidence-based, articulate group of Professionals than a resource war?
But I digress, this Blog is about..., ..., knowing when to change directions in your first 5 years. In keeping with my quote theme, it's immediately apparent that I'm not meting Ghandi's call to "Be the change you want to see in the world." (Darn Indian philosophers and their tall orders!) We are on the receiving end of so much information and subject to so many masters, decision making can be very difficult. Stepping back to survey the situation, and, even more intimidating, stepping out on our own is daunting.
I hope that my next few blogs will reflect the thought process of one new professional trying to do just that. Come what may, I plan to document the thoughts, discussions, negotiations, and possibly a resignation that follow. I hope you guys will read along!