Transitioning from Trainee to Faculty

Wish I had know this before when starting in Academia. Really starting your career after all the training you’ve been through, a real challenge. How to start of on the new job.

Important strategies from the medical literature, management practices and hands on experience for “on-boarding”:

  • Start early, meaning getting toknow your organisation before your start date. You won’t be able to do it once started, finding the patient, your way around the hospital etc.
  • Minimize distractions. Be sure everything like housing, daycare options, installment of your Internet connection is taken care for before you start or organize it to be taken care of. You won’t be able to do it once started. Set up your office and get to know hospital systems before you start and minimize distractions from inside and outside.
  • Identify key stakeholders. Learn from the organizational chart the important people, meet them individually and ask them who else you should see.
  • Manage yourself. Learn your future goals and responsibilities, ask mentors and colleagues to help clarify your interests and the expectations of the job.
  • Start with investing your energy into projects that will produce early wins
  • Get to know your boss, what goals does he or she have, what are his strength and weaknesses, working style.
  • Identify the True (of “hidden”) Organizational Culture
    . It will take usually 3-6 months before you get to know the real culture of the organization. To get to know the real culture ask the following questions: What are the successful ways in which my colleagues get work completed? How is time valued and managed? How is information shared? How are decisions truly made? How do ideas get adopted? What is valued by the program versus the institution? How are my colleagues held accountable for their actions? Who is the source of information regarding available resources? What are the territorial issues?
  • If necessary adjust your own goals after having identified the real culture within the organization
  • Pick and use your mentor carefully. Who says you can’t have several?

My advice would be to remember that if you end up not loving your job, just remember that you can always change it. Either way, you will have learned new and valuable skills, met new people/contacts, and probably opened up new doors (without even realizing it).
Gustin, J., & Tulsky, J. (2010). Effective “On-Boarding”: Transitioning from Trainee to Faculty Journal of Palliative Medicine, 13 (10), 1279-1283 DOI: 10.1089/jpm.2010.0123