The Nurse Becoming Podcast 

#060 Does the Perfect Job Exist?

Does the Perfect Job exist?

My answer? Yes… and no… and yes… 

I think we can get caught up in the search for the perfect job, to the point where we don’t appreciate or see the positive opportunities that can come with jobs that we wouldn’t define as “perfect”.

And I pass no judgement on us or anyone in search of the perfect job either. I’ve been there and working is where we spend a lot of our time… But here’s the thing,

We have more control over our happiness than we think, even when it comes to our job satisfaction… HOWEVER…

… When I read that the US Bureau of labor statistics reported that the “average person will have 12 jobs over the span of their working career”, it brought up a few things for me that I felt called to share with you now.

So today’s podcast is all about perfectionism and how it can show up in your job search, at your workplace and even, within yourself.

I’m covering:

  • How to apply the Prevention Framework to avoid hating your future or current job
  • Job Search Perfectionism – What it is and how to avoid it
  • This ONE thing that holds you back from the job you really want (New Grads, pay attention to this part!)
  • Why viewing your job like a long term relationship can help improve overall job satisfaction
  • Self reflection questions to help shift your mindset when things get tough at work
  • The different “types” of jobs you will experience in your career journey (and why they are all important)

 

LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED TODAY: 

Listen to more episodes here!

 

The “Perfect” NP Job… Does It Exist?

Read On To Learn…

  • How to apply the Prevention Framework to avoid hating your future or current job
  • Job Search Perfectionism – What it is and how to avoid it
  • This ONE thing that holds you back from the job you really want (New Grads, pay attention to this part!)
  • Why viewing your job like a long term relationship can help improve overall job satisfaction
  • Self reflection questions to help shift your mindset when things get tough at work
  • The different “types” of jobs you will experience in your career journey (and why they are all important)


If you are ready to become the NP you always wanted to be, then NP Society membership is the place for you. This is a community that is designed for Nurse Practitioners (and students) to thrive beyond the clinical setting. Head to www.thenpsociety.com to choose your membership level today!

 

Using the Prevention Framework to Avoid Hating Your Job

Remember the Health Care Prevention Framework from nursing school? Well, you can also apply this analogy in the job world, or in the career world. Let’s use it now.

Primary Prevention are the activities that you do during your job search, or even before searching, to help you screen for the right job for you.

Here are a couple Primary Prevention activities you can do to help you find your “perfect” job:

  • Conduct a self examination – Figure out what type of practice setting or schedule works best for you and use this clarity in your decision making.

  • Notice (and acknowledge) red flags – During your interview or shadow day, be cognizant to stay aware of anything that you feel could eventually become something you do not like.

Secondary Prevention, on the other hand, are the activities and actions that you take while already in the job to help prevent yourself from not liking it later on. 

One Secondary Prevention activity you can always keep in mind is to…

  • Look for solutions early – If there is an aspect of your job that you don’t like or enjoy, what are you going to do to change the situation? How are you going to make it so that things don’t continue down the potential path of you hating your job?

Lastly, there is Tertiary Prevention, which is damage control. This is when you’ve gone past the point of no return. In this case, Tertiary Prevention actions look like any actions that you will take to prevent further damage and ultimately help you move on to another position without repeating the same cycle, ideally. 

For a more indepth look at how to apply this framework to your job, I highly recommend that you listen to Episode 33.

 

So what about searching for the perfect job? 

I’m going to use some statistics. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the average person will have 12 jobs over the span of their working career. 

Obviously, this isn’t specific to the health, nurse or or NP profession. This is just in general. But still, we are certainly part of that. That group and 12 jobs is a fair amount of jobs in your working career. And I’ll say anecdotally, I’ve been an NP for 10 years now, and I only know one person who is still in the same job that they took when they graduated. That’s one person from my graduating class of 80-90 people. If you round up to 100, that’s a 1% chance of someone becoming a “lifer” with one employer. So I’d like to normalize that it’s absolutely normal to have more than one job, especially as an NP.

 

Watch out for “Job Search Perfectionism”…

I think that what often happens is we can get caught up in the search for the perfect job to the point where we don’t appreciate or see the opportunities that can come with jobs that we don’t think are perfect.

Here’s a question, is the search for the perfect job really about that job? Or is it a symptom of something else? 

Perhaps fear, or lack of competence, or imposter syndrome might be coming up. So in general, I think that we can get into trouble with the idea of perfectionism. If you identify as a perfectionist, just know that I’m not speaking with any judgement. I am one too. (I actually call myself a “recovering perfectionist”.) Dr. Brene Brown has great definition of perfectionism that I want you to read:

“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of blame, judgment and shame.”

– Brene Brown

Pretty powerful statement. My interpretation is that people who seek perfection in the things that they do, are not doing those things, for the sake of the activity, but rather to avoid the painful feelings of blame, judgment and shame. Sometimes we are perfectionists to avoid sitting in discomfort and to avoid being uncomfortable or avoid doing new things that can actually help us grow and be better. And in this attempt to avoid blame, judgment and shame, we lose out on the opportunities of growth… Sometimes we lose big opportunities.

 

How Perfectionism Holds You Back From Achieving What You Want

Personally, I’ve seen perfectionism show up in so many aspects of job searching, and career advancement, especially among nurses and nurse practitioners. 

For example, I have seen NP’s not apply for a job that they would LOVE only because their resume is never “perfect enough”. Rather than actually applying for the job, they unfortunately get caught up in this cycle of obsessing over margins and verbs and descriptive words. (As an aside, if you want to hear my REAL thoughts about why your resume isn’t as important as you think, go ahead and listen to Episode 3.) 

I’ve also seen new grad NP’s be so paralyzed by imposter syndrome, which I think is perfectionism’s close cousin, that they even START their NP careers because of the fear of being a novice again. But that’s not what they identify as the problem. Usually it’s other external factors that get blamed for why they aren’t starting the NP job, or why they either aren’t getting interviews or not getting offers, or there are no jobs to even apply for… These end up becoming perceived as logical “reasons”, when in actuality, it’s this fear of being seen starting out as a newbie that is keeping them from taking the right actions. And if these same NP’s were to just start with who they are, where they are and with what they have, that will bring them the result that they’re working towards! 😃

All this to say, you don’t have to be perfect. It is a gift to yourself and to the world if you give yourself permission to be imperfect.

If you’re either in the job market right now, or if you will be in the future, or if you’re in a job right now and you will be switching jobs. I don’t want you to keep jumping from job to job simply because you think that the perfect one exists…

 

Thinking Of Your Job As A Relationship

… When I was a teenager, I used to believe in soulmates and there was one pre-determined person that we were meant to be partnered with and live happily ever after. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve shifted my opinion a bit. Now I believe that there are people who come into our lives for a period of time, and that we can learn from relationships that aren’t forever. And just because they aren’t forever doesn’t invalidate the relationship or prevent it from having meaning in your life. 

Personally, I’ve been happily married for more than eight years. And our relationship requires an ongoing commitment of choosing each other every day. When we have disagreements or challenges, we are committed to doing what we need to do to work through the issues. Not every disagreement is a sign of a doomed relationship. And in the same vein, this is how I feel about jobs. Granted, the level of commitment is different and definitely not marriage level… But there are still opportunities to choose and be committed to the success of the job relationship. 

I think that if we go through our careers with the expectation of these challenges, and understand that there are opportunities to improve our relationships with our jobs, or with our employer, it can help our overall professional satisfaction. It’s easy to complain when management changes the operating hours of the clinic, or the diagnoses seen by your service team in the hospital. But can you evolve beyond complaining and quickly move on to solutions? THAT is the kind of higher level question that I’m posing here. And sometimes, that’s not to say that you must always turn lemons into lemonade. But you at least deserve the opportunity to evaluate and ask,

  • “How can I turn it into a situation that is better for me?” 
  • “How can I change how I feel about the situation?” 
  • “How can I move out of this dwelling and move into a realm of possibility?”

 

The Different Kind Of Jobs You Will Likely Have Throughout Your Career Lifetime 

I know that I talk a lot about dream jobs, but I don’t ever want to give the impression that there’s only one dream job out there and that you should always be in pursuit of it. There can be dream jobs for now, dream jobs for later, stepping stone opportunities, and even survival mode jobs too. There are aksi opportunities that sometimes we need to experience, not because of the professional game, but because of what they give to us or teach us personally. 

There was a time when I went from rotating shifts in the ER to working straight nights, not because working straight nights gave me any sort of professional edge of anything. It actually kind of disconnected me from leadership opportunities. But it was what I needed to do for my family in order for me to keep working full time without going out of my mind and maintaining my sanity at home and at work. So that was a survival mode period of time for me and that’s okay, it served its purpose. Experiencing this chapter in my life helped me get through what I needed to get me through. 

 

Final Thoughts, 

I want to encourage you to feel empowered and in control of your thoughts, feelings and actions surrounding your career. You may not be able to control your circumstances, or the thoughts, feelings and actions of others, but that’s okay. Stay focused on YOU. Having this level of maturity and emotional intelligence will bring you FAR in your career and in your life!

I hope that this resonated with you. Until next time, I’m rooting for you.