Population health director: Learning from every job
Sarah, a population health director for a large NY hospital system, talks about the importance of learning from every job and seeking constructive criticism.
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I think especially at the beginning of my professional career after college, you know, I had zero idea what I wanted to do. I only knew what I liked to do. With every job I've taken since, none of them have been like this perfect designed for me dream job that I, you know, drew up on the chalkboard one day and said, "Ah, this is it. "This is my job." I think it's really daunting to look for jobs when you don't have a really clear sense of what you want to do because there are just so many options out there. It's hard to know where to start searching, and even when you find something, you know, you don't really know exactly how it'll turn out, but I think what's worked well for me is going with my gut, taking jobs that feel right with the person I'm interviewing with and getting a sense of the culture of the place, like knowing that I can be happy here, and I can be functional and add value here, and I think, too, like if you can focus on just two or three skills or things that you really want to learn, you know, at that point in your career, so for instance, when I decided to take the role in the consulting firm, I knew I wanted to build skills in delivering presentations and putting together analysis. I knew I could get that out of that job, and that was enough. Like, once I got that out of it, I would give myself permission to move on. I think if you're looking for something that's gonna be perfect, it's too hard. I also think feedback is so important. Someone told me once that feedback is a gift, and even if it's constructive or negative, if the intention is kind and the person wants to help you, then really, it is a gift, and I think a lot of times we get defensive, but it's great if we can take that feedback and, you know, really think like even if I didn't mean to, say, come off that way, it was perceived that way, so what can I do to work better with that person or with others next time? I think also, you know, we don't tend to seek out feedback, but if you can get comfortable with doing that, you'll grow so much faster, so I set up quarterly check-ins with my manager. I get direct feedback from her about what's going well and what's not. I asked her to ask the people I work with how I'm doing, and I also ask people I work with directly how I'm doing. At first, they don't want to tell you if things aren't going well, but you know, if you continue asking and assure them that you're just trying to work better with them, you would be amazed at what you can learn through just asking for that perspective.