As the Healthcare Technology Management field continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, upward mobility and career moves are pervasive throughout the industry. With this, individuals are facing the challenges of changing positions more frequently and earlier than they have historically. With the average biomedical engineer spending less time in each position, HTM professionals are being challenged to accomplish more within their shorter time at each position.
Undoubtedly, the first year in any position is a strong indicator of one’s potential success in that position. Within the first year, colleagues, staff and executive leadership formulate perspective on your performance that can define your tenure within the organization – whether good or bad. In any new role, challenges will occur within the first year that can make your 12-month stint exhausting. Moving past the first year, it can be difficult to avoid the “sophomore slump” by plateauing with regards to performance – this is particularly true for individuals who set a very high standard within their first year. HTM professionals can leverage four simple tips to avoid burnout while re-tooling their skill set in order to effectively manage performance in their second year and beyond within a position.
Redefine Your Boundaries
The first year in any tenure can feel like a full throttle race to the finish line. Because of the fast-paced nature of the healthcare industry, it can be nearly impossible to define your boundaries. After your first year in a position, it is an opportune time to re-evaluate your quality of work versus quality of life and realign your priorities and boundaries. Around the 13-month mark in my first management role, I found myself to the point of exhaustion – both physically and mentally. While this was a tough time for me, I utilized it as an opportunity to objectively evaluate what I needed to strike a better balance at work. The next day I had a discussion with my boss that laid the foundation to establish a better balance between work hours and the level of assignments that I was responsible for. While this may not be the most comfortable discussion to have, it is necessary to reassess your work environment and balance on a periodic basis. This also will provide you with an opportunity to assess tasks that you can delegate to other staff members in order to offer them “reach” roles to help develop their professional acumen. Vice versa, if you have been previously unwilling to take on special assignments or work additional hours, it could be an opportune time to approach your boss and let them know you are ready to step into a different role at work.
Sort Through the Criticism
The healthcare and technology industries are full of a wide variety of personalities with an equally diverse range of opinions. No matter what organization you are in, what role you play or your personality profile you will receive feedback that can be positive or negative. No doubt, your first year will be filled with supporters as well as detractors. To be successful, you need to be adept and objective when receiving both praise and criticism. Assess the situation, ask for feedback, keep what’s useful and toss the rest. Allowing yourself to get hung up on unwarranted criticism or praise will consume your attention away from productivity. I once had an intern who spent some time rotating through my office. One afternoon, I went to assign them something and found them crying on their desk. When I asked what was wrong, they explained that they had been three minutes late to a meeting and were upset that they had been asked to leave since they couldn’t arrive on time. In discussing with them, I told them to take it as a lesson and be on time moving forward and to move on. If this was something that induced a slumped over, desk-crying tantrum they should probably search for a different profession. At the end of the day, our job is dealing with issues and tough situations with high pressure – there will always be more criticism than praise.
Let go of your grudge against “that guy”
We all work (or have worked) with that person who induces an eye-rolling, cringe-worthy reaction as soon as they open their mouths. Whether they roam halls shaking hands, discussing their golf game while nonchalantly stumbling into meetings 20 minutes late or they claim to have been hired as “professional managers” and admit to lacking the technical skills their position requires – these people know exactly what to do to push your buttons. The amount of time, energy and effort that you spend loathing this person for one reason or another is distracting you from your work and the time adds up. I’m not saying that you should drop everything and become best friends with this person, but allowing yourself to let go of your grudge against them will make you feel better. You can avoid negative feelings at work and that will make you more productive in the long-run.
It goes without saying that in a rapidly evolving field one must stay current with their education. Take the time to establish a continuing education plan for yourself. Prioritize at least two weeks of training, whether professional or technical, each year to ensure you are updating your skills in targeted areas. Additionally, challenge yourself to seek out at least one certification or certificate a year. Interested in IT? Take the Network + certification you’ve been putting off. Want to get into leadership eventually? Find a sponsor and pursue your FACHE. Set an annual goal and push yourself to stick with it.
While we all face dynamic challenges within the workplace, there are milestones within any position that lend themselves to change and reflection. The year mark is a critical milestone where one’s trajectory within an organization can be catapulted or flounder. Make sure you are prepared to take the next step.
*By entering your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding TechNation Magazine, Webinars, and Exclusive Promos.
© 2021, TechNation Magazine. Site designed by MD Publishing, Inc.