Jenna: All right, Phil, I want to hear about a moment in your physical therapy career where you're like, oh, my gosh, why did I choose this profession? That moment when you started doubting whether or not you should have pursued physical therapy in general. And what I mean by that is, we know that you love what you do right now. We know that you do a lot of things. But I think it would be wrong for people to assume that you never had that moment that a lot of people are having right now, where they're like, why did I go into this field instead of PA that makes more money or instead of finance, where you can call out on a nice Wednesday afternoon and play golf? So for you, is there any memory that you had where you were kind of starting to wonder if maybe you made the right choice or not?
Phil: There is one very distinct memory, and it is burned in my brain. And I'm going to get to that. But I think what I want to say, though, is I think it started my...
Phil: All right, Jenna. I know a lot of people are really dissatisfied in their career. It's hard, it's frustrating, and it's an awful feeling, quite frankly. But we've had discussions before about how you've been at that place in physical therapy. But not only have you been at that as a physical therapist, you had a previous career that you kind of had the same feelings. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Jenna: Yeah, so before I was a physical therapist, I was a PE teacher, health and PE for middle school students. And it was a great job, and I loved the people that I was working with, and I even loved what I was doing for the most part. But when I took a step back from it, I distinctly remember this because it was at the time where I was like, "Am I going to go to PT school? Am I going to apply or not?" And when I took a step back and I looked at it, I'm like, yeah, this is good. But I can't see myself just doing this day in...
Jenna: Phil there's a lot of new grad PTs out there right now. So give me if you can think back, give me a big win you remember from early on in your career and give me a big learning item that's from the beginning of your career.
Phil: Wow! That might take a minute to think about. I'll tell you a story on my first patient, though. I bring back my first patient. I literally call back my first patient as a new grad, and he walks up and he's like "So how long have you been doing this?" And I'm like, let's see here. It took you about 10 seconds to walk from the chair to here, so that's about how long. But I played it off as, "Well, if you consider all the training and things like that, it's been about three years, but it's my first day on today's job."
But gosh, big win?
Jenna: And not necessarily like you changed a life, the first one, but where you either felt, okay, this is right.
Phil: I think I need to ask you this question.
Jenna: I'm sorry. I don't know...
Phil: What do you do if you feel like you're stuck in your job and have no room for advancement, but you still love your job and would like to stay there?
Jenna: That's a good question. One, I love that the person loves their job and wants to stay where they're at. That's always a good thing. It can be frustrating, though, if you want more, but it doesn't seem like there is more. Maybe there's no leadership position, or maybe you just don't even really want that leadership position. I think this is where we need to get creative either in our role or what we're doing on a daily basis. So I think you can either maybe expand your role or maybe expand your skills and do so in terms of either what you're interested in or what your strengths are.
For example, if I want to expand my role, like, let's say I am a staff physical therapist, but I do love teaching. Well, maybe then there's an opportunity where you create a...
Phil: All right, Jenna, here's another submitted question."How do you stay in a workplace when your coworkers are always talking negative, and you try so hard to be positive and encouraging in your job, and trying to make a difference?" How do you do that?
Jenna: That's a tough place to be in. It's hard to be the lone positive person. But I have two things with this. So one is if you're in a small clinic and it's you and one other person, that one other person is negative, I think that the only solution to that is to somehow distance yourself from that person and have a good community or support system elsewhere. I still message two of my good friends from grad school when I need that kind of thing. But if you're in a bigger clinic, then I will challenge you because it's usually not only one really positive person and the rest are negative. Usually, it's one positive person, a bunch of neutral people, and then maybe a couple of negative people. So if...
My past self could have desperately benefited from seeing this photo.
Earlier this week, I walked to my favorite cafe down the street from my house and set up shop. I picked the ideal table for productivity and got comfortable knowing I’d be there for a few hours. I opened a text from one of my patients enjoying his first pain-free run in a long time and turned my attention to my computer and cup of coffee.
The text made me smile, as do all of my patients. It was a quick distraction from the residency grading and organizing I was about to do.
And that’s when it hit me. This was one of the moments where you sit back and wonder, “how did I get here?” A moment where you are so fulfilled, happy, and thankful that you can’t believe you ever doubted it would be possible.
And I realized that I wished my past self could see me now. There was a time when I felt like I was going through the motions and would be burnt out forever. There was so much doubt that I...
Are there success stories where people changed their career without changing jobs? Is it possible to create your ideal career without changing jobs?
What if you take the next step in your physical therapy career and it’s the wrong thing? Are you afraid to take the next step because you’re unsure whether or not it will work out? Jenna and Phil discuss those fears and what can happen if you go for it and take the next step.