6 steps to fast-track your career, huh? It sounds cheesy. But I’m going to put this into context. In short: My career started out terribly- to the point of being within a mark of failing some medical school exams. Then it improved. I managed to be a better clinician and a better academic by following a few simple steps that enabled me to work on better projects:
First, find great people to work with.
Actively. Do whatever you need to do: Talk to people. Join a collaborative organisation. Use technology- MedAll.org is a platform run a specifically to match you with great people to work with on great projects.
Second, do your homework on people (regardless of how senior they are) who offer you a “great project.”
What have they done before? Have they been successful? Have they published with their FY2, their medical student or their registrar before?
As much as you are trusting the person who is giving you the project, they are trusting you to keep your side of the bargain. If you do a great job you’re much more likely to be given an even better piece of work by them next time.
Fourth, be nice.
Sometimes it can tempting to be cut-throat in cutting people out of papers, or to argue viciously about who should be 4th and who should be 5th (or 1st and 2nd more likely!) authors. Be fair. Be kind. Be honest. Be a team player. And you will build a reputation beyond a single paper.
The more you work on great projects, the more people will recognise you as a great person to work with. Soon you’ll be attracting offers of great projects- remember points 2, 3 and 4- choose wisely what you invest your time in, do it well and be a good person. And then it’s a cycle of accumulation. You’ll soon be a professor.
Finally, do it for the right reasons.
Papers and achievements for the sake of it are meaningless. Do it for a purpose. Do you want to change patient care? Do you care passionately about a specific disease area? Do want to see advances in access to care and opportunities? By holding onto the reason you are doing something will help you get through the setback of papers being rejected (don’t worry- they’ll be accepted somewhere, but that’s a different blog post!), the late nights working on statistics and the inevitable disappointing results from some of your work.
Find great people. Do your homework. Deliver. Be nice. Accumulate. Do it for a purpose.
And you will, for sure, improve your chances of finding great projects to work on, fast-track your career, and more importantly: contribute to improving care.
I’d love to hear your thoughts: hello@MedAll.org or @MedAllApp
You can sign up at MedAll.org, and once verified can post a project you need help with, or find someone great to work with on their project.