One of the most dreaded job interview questions is this: “What is your biggest fear?” Like a deer caught in headlights, many job candidates don’t know how to answer such a question—should you admit your real fear or should you turn it into a “positive” and skim over it all?
Even if you aren’t job hunting right now, the question, “What is your biggest fear?” is an excellent way to assess your career hopes and plans. Figuring out your underlying dissatisfaction and what areas you are most concerned about can help jolt you into taking action to overcome your biggest concern.
What’s you career fear?
I am not getting anywhere.
After years of being in the same role, it’s easy to assume your chances for advancement are limited. If you are unhappy with your role, it’s time to rethink your career path. Do you want a supervisory role or are you looking for more responsibility in your job duties? Do you want to move from one area of nursing to another? Deciding where you want to go is often the first step in achieving your goal. I am expendable.
Many nurses, at one time or another, feel like their jobs aren’t secure. They aren’t off base—layoffs happen and nurses are often the first target in a hospital staff reduction. They key is to make your presence well-known, well-established, and valuable to your unit and to your whole organization. Always do your best, and go above and beyond your job requirements. Read up on the latest research in your specialty so you’re current with cutting-edge developments. Learn to become the expert on new equipment in your unit. But don’t just do your job and go home. Join a committee within your organization and make an effort to help facilitate change or boost engagement for all employees. I don’t have the qualifications I need for the job I want.
You can’t fake experience. If you need more qualifications to get the job you want, you have to start somewhere, and you might as well start now. But don’t assume you need another degree. Consider the role you want and see what other people in that role have for qualifications. Would more certification help you? What about a switch to experience in a different department or even another area of the country? Qualifications come in many forms, so decide where your need to boost yours and get started on it.
I could do better than this job, these benefits, this organization.
Feeling dissatisfied is a huge red flag that it’s time for a change. What is the root of your concern? Is your organization in financial or ethical trouble? Maybe it’s time to actively open up your own job search. Is your salary below that of other nurses with your education and experience? It might be, but consider all the other factors that play into your salary total and work-life balance. Would a salary boost require a much longer commute? Is your benefits package more generous than most? Being properly compensated for the job you do is essential, so make sure you consider all the factors surrounding your whole benefits/salary/work-life combination. If you are truly underpaid, it’s time to gather hard evidence and talk to your manager or human resources. And if that fails, a new organization might be your next step. Confronting your biggest job fear isn’t a fun task, but it’s one that can get you out of a rut and on the road to a career you want.
Nurses today enjoy excellent career prospects with high job demand and nursing jobs opening up in many specialties. But nursing jobs tend to blossom in regions and if your region isn’t one of them, you might not be feeling a lot of job security.
If your position seems a little perilous, what’s your best plan? Always be prepared. Even if rumors of layoffs and reduced hours are just rumors, the stress they inspire in a staff cannot be understated. If you’re one of those nurses, the daily worry about if you’ll have a job or even enough hours to keep you gainfully employed is exhausting and can negatively impact your job performance.
Throughout your career, the best thing you can ever do is be ready for a job change. And that’s not always because you expect something bad to happen. You could also have an unexpected and fantastic job opportunity arise. In that case, you shouldn’t have to scramble to get your resume and your LinkedIn profile updated while also preparing for an interview panel.
Here’s how to always be ready for a change – expected or not.
1.Update Your Resume, Even If You’re Not Job Hunting
Keeping your resume and your LinkedIn pages updated and current is just smart business practice. You cannot predict what’s going to happen next, so you want to be ready for anything. And if you update everything as you go, you won’t forget a project or a skill that could be important enough to trigger an interview request.
2. Keep Learning
You might have the same job you had 10 years ago, but your skill set is different. With new technology, additional seminars, and on-the-job training, you have learned more. As a nurse, if your skills aren’t constantly refreshed, you’re falling behind. Don’t let that happen. Actively pursue an additional degree, even if it is one class at a time. Go for certifications in your specialty or a specialty you’d like to move into. Being ready for any opportunity increases your chances of success.
3. Network Every Chance You Get
When you’re actively looking for a job, networking will help you. The more networking you do, the more chances you’ll have to find a good match. But even if you aren’t looking, keeping up with others in the industry keeps your name, skills, and capabilities front and center. Someone might ask you to join a committee or to help spearhead a new campaign. Saying yes and working with peers opens up your nursing career.
4. Stay on Your Toes
Don’t get lazy when you aren’t directly working with patients and on patient care. When you’re at work or at an event with people from work, keep your professional attitude. Be someone who can make excellent and authentic small talk with everyone—from the person who delivers the packages to your floor to the CNO—and then do it.
5. Boost Other Nurses
Be the person who champions nurses and helps others understand all the things nurses do. Spread the word about nursing as a career. Enthusiasm is contagious and others will join you. You might not get a job offer, but you’ll get a great reputation as someone who is a positive force in the world of nursing.
So whether you’re wondering about layoffs or happy in your job, there are some things you should do as routine career maintenance. Being prepared helps your career whether you’re just starting out or 40 years in. And if you are worried about a career change, you’ll know you’re ready for anything.
Nurse entrepreneurship is a growing segment of the health care industry right now. If starting your own business or expanding your nursing talents into an innovative new product is something you’re interested in, now is a good time to start.
As a previous post mentioned, there are many courses, seminars, and certificate programs for nurses who are serious about entrepreneurship. But if you aren’t sure if now’s the time to leave your current nursing job to go it on your own, what can you do to get the process started?
Get a Thick Skin
Learn to accept criticism. If you’re going to try your hand at an entrepreneurial venture, you need to know people are going to poke holes in your foundation. Learn from what your critics say because they may be pointing out some valuable and potentially career-saving vulnerabilities. Do not react to negativity—learn from it.
Before you spend any time or money on a new product or new idea, start reading everything you can about nurses who run their own companies and what it’s like to start your own business. Learn about the education or training they received, the financial investment they made, the return on investment they received, and the time commitment it all took.
Assess Your Strengths
As you gather information, start to turn a critical eye toward your own skill set. What do you think would make you succeed at this kind of venture? Are you especially passionate about fixing a problem you have identified? Do you have the time in your own life to devote the sometimes extraordinary hours to start a business? What are you especially good at? Whether your specialty is patient care, financial work, organization, or a specific health issue, this is a good avenue to explore.
If, after gathering information and assessing if you can take on this kind of work, go out and talk with people who know how to do it. Just as you wouldn’t buy a car without some investigating, you should never start your own business without some outside perspective. Associations like the National Nurses in Business Association is an excellent resource for nurses interested in business as well. Experts here can help guide you in everything from legal to presentation perspectives.
Once you have made the commitment toward innovation, you need to get some kind of training. Take seminars and classes and find a nearby certificate program on innovation and entrepreneurship. If you can find one specifically for nurses, it will be that much more relevant, but if you can’t, see what else is out that that most closely matches what you’re seeking.
Investigate the Market
A formal course or seminar will teach you how to investigate the market for what you have in mind. You might have a great idea, but if it is not something the market will support, you won’t have much of a chance at success.
A lot of factors come together to make a nurse entrepreneur successful. You won’t ever know until you try, so don’t be dissuaded by naysayers. But don’t tackle entrepreneurship completely without information either. There are lots of resources to help get you started—use them.
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