It’s not good enough to get a physician job.  The goal is to get the RIGHT job.  That means you need to find a workplace culture that you feel comfortable in.

But you know how it goes — everyone’s on their best behavior during the interview process.  Amidst all of the smiling and hand shaking, you need to look for 3 specific things that will tell you whether or not you’ll REALLY be happy working there:

A work/life balance you can live with

Just because you’re a dedicated physician doesn’t mean that your work has to take over your entire life.  Whether you want to spend time with your kids, devote time to your hobbies, or simply have time to sit back and relax, make sure your potential employer is on the same page.  If you only want to work 40 or 50 hours a week, and your practice expects you to work 70 or 80, you’re going to be miserable from day one.

Values that mesh with yours

If you believe it’s important to answer all of the patient’s questions — no matter how long it takes — but your practice requires that you see ten patients each hour, you’re going to end up in a values standoff.  The same applies if you’re told to prescribe certain drugs simply because your practice has a good relationship with the pharmaceutical rep.

Bottom line — you’re not going to leave your moral compass at home, so make sure the practice you join shares them.

A staff you feel comfortable with

As you get a tour of the practice, take a look around.  How do the staff members look?  Do they seem happy or highly stressed?  Are they friendly with their coworkers, or is there hostility bubbling?

The people you see are going to be your coworkers for 40+ hours each week.  If they’re a miserable bunch, you’re going to be just as miserable working alongside them.