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I have had four different jobs in less than 10 years. I need to work, but I am not sure what I really want to do. Any advice for me?

Wednesday May 8, 2013
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I have been an RN since 1990 and I have an MSN. I have worked as a staff nurse and also as a coordinator for several programs. I have had four different jobs in less than 10 years. I can't seem to find one that I really like enough and one where I have a good relationship with my supervisor. I am a good worker, but I don't know if I have been happy in any of the positions I have had. I really do not want to go back to school — I can't afford it and I don't have the time. So I feel stuck. I do like nursing, but also I like working Monday to Friday, no weekends and holidays and no off shifts. I have a young family and I have taken huge pay cuts over the past few years. I need to work, but I am not sure what I really want to do. Any advice for me?

Not Sure What I Want

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Not Sure What I Want,

Four jobs in 10 years is not so unusual. Nurses change jobs more often these days than in the past. I always changed jobs every two to four years, mostly because I got bored easily. The old idea of finding a niche is a myth. It works for some, but not for all. Read “How to find your forte” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Forte).

Some nurses jump from job to job without doing much research or giving it much thought. You need to explore the specialty, work setting and the particular employer, as well as the unit/department, before making a decision. Read “How to change specialties” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Change-Specialties).

You may need a nontraditional position. You may even be an entrepreneur at heart or at least need a position that is more intrapreneurial (an employee who works like an entrepreneur regarding autonomy, creativity, initiation/management of products/services). Consider attending my upcoming “Career Alternatives for Nurses” and “How to Start Your Own Business or Consulting Practice” seminars. You’d be a perfect candidate for these, especially the former. See where I'll be http://www.Nurse.com/Events/CE-seminars/.

My book, “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career,” chapter three walks you step by step through the process of where to go from here and how to get there. Find out more at www.Nurse.com/CE/7250.

Before making your next move, take some time and some steps, such as those suggested above, including the ones in the referenced articles — to better get to know yourself, the job market and what your options are. Then you can take a more informed and enlightened next step and be happy in your nursing career. It will be worth the time and effort.

Best wishes,
Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.