These unicorn job positions are created intentionally, carved out at the intersection of what the employer and practice needs and what you are passionate about and skilled in.
So, at this point you’re like “YES” I want a job that is financially providing for the needs of my family, is fulfilling and with a schedule that doesn’t leave me wrung out and working all the time.
This post will help you to identify what qualities, values, schedule, setting and specialty or area of medicine you could thrive in. Here’s how to do that – you have to find your sweet spot.
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Unicorn Position Sweet Spot
Your sweet spot is where your skills, experience, and interest overlap with what the market has a need for. There is a place out there with a need for someone just like you where you can do work that you are truly passionate about.
Let’s break down the elements of your sweet spot and then dive deeper into each one:
- Skills & Experience
- Schedule & Values
- Income Potential & Financial Needs
- Passion & Interest
1. Skills & Interest
This is where you look deeply, without modesty, at your own abilities. What are you great at? Where do you excel? It’s time to leverage that knowledge, competency, background and your unique experience.
Now, do not get hung up on the fact that your Unicorn position might be in a position, specialty or situation you’ve never been in before. There are skills and abilities that you’ve developed that are applicable in new and exciting situations.
We all have skills and unique and awesome abilities and that includes YOU.
In the future that you see for yourself in healthcare and medicine, how do you see yourself adding value?
As you think about this value add and your unique skills and interests, it’s important to remember where you started. Whether that was as a high school student, undergraduate or graduate student or all the things you’ve learned since graduating, there are so many areas where you’ve grown.
Think beyond your skills that are simply clinical. Are you great at solving problems or thinking outside the box? Do you excel at procedures or difficult patient conversations?
Have you enjoyed higher or lower acuity? Do you want to make a change from the setting in which you’ve been practicing?
The things that may seem to be a regular, humdrum part of your practice and skills can be super valuable assets and can be leveraged in both similar and different practice settings.
Your Unicorn position will allow a robust use of your skills and be in a specialty that is interesting to you. Don’t pigen-hole yourself into a position that shows many similarities to where you’ve practiced in the past. Keep an open mind.
Be generous when you think about your skills. You are great at many things. These are skills that will prove useful in your future position.
Having a hard time? Ask your classmates, colleagues, and nursing team. Seek insight from your collaborating physician. Those who know you well inside and outside of work can offer positive reminders of the areas that you excel and how they’ve seen you thrive in those areas in the past.
2. Ideal Schedule & Your Personal Values
Your Unicorn position is going to be a great fit for you when it has an ideal schedule. Be creative and open-minded when it comes to your schedule.
I bet that the words “no nights, no weekends and no call” just popped into your mind, am I right?
Or maybe it’s working at night so that you can be home when your little ones get on and off the bus. Possibly it’s sporadic shifts. Or maybe it’s a regular clinic schedule with 2 days a week where you see patients 9-3 while your elementary school kids are at school.
The ideal schedule is going to change depending on what your physiology is – what you enjoy doing and how you enjoy spending your time outside of work.
In order to carve out a position with this ideal schedule, you have to be clear on what that best schedule is.
Now, your values. If you haven’t already taken time to do the Core Value Curator, download it now. It’s a 3-step process to identify your deeply held values. Knowing your values is integral to knowing what type of position makes a unicorn for you.
There is a certain way that you believe medicine should be practiced and patients should be treated. Finding a job where your values line up with the mission, vision and values of the organization you work for is a key piece to that job being a Unicorn.
Truly, we do not give this values piece enough credit. We get distracted by the flash of specialty and salary and we forget that working at a place with values that align with ours, who actually value us as a provider, matters most of all.
You cannot find a position that lines up with your values if you do not know what those values are. Take the time to figure out yours so that you can create a target Unicorn job that shares those same values.
It’s OK to prioritize certain values during certain seasons of life! Things will shift and move. Unlike your personal deeply held values, there may be changes to the most important values at work as time passes.
3. Income Potential & Financial Needs
Here’s the practice part of designing and going about the business of creating your unique unicorn position. It has to pay enough.
Now that last word – enough – is such an important one. Do you know your enough point? Do you have a handle on your finances well enough to know how much money is enough for your family to live comfortably?
Oftentimes we are chasing more and more and more without having paused and asked ourselves, what is enough?
If your enough point is making less than you are right now, and you love everything about your job but the hours, would you be able to cut back the hours and willingly suggest a reduction in your pay so that you have more time outside of work and fewer hours at the office or hospital?
Are you chasing a lifestyle that is stressing you out? If your monthly expenses leave you stressed out or scrambling at the end of the month, how can you reduce those?
There is a season of life where money is the priority. Whether it’s paying off student loans, getting ready to purchase a house, or aggressively saving for retirement, there will be times when earning more matters most. But, then there are seasons where time simply matters more.
I realize this is a luxury and a privilege that not everyone has access too, but if you’ve tipped over from a season where money is your currency to time being your currency, take that into account when you think about the ideal time commitment and compensation for your Unicorn job.
Knowing how much income is “enough” and having that enough set point in your mind can help you be open to different opportunities and get creative with schedule and compensation.
4. Passion & Interests
This last piece, passion and interest, is something that is worth more than the income you earn or the time spent outside of work.
Having your unicorn position be something that you truly care about and are interested in is imperative.
In life and in your career you are not going to have one true love, one specialty, or one singular passion. This mindset puts too much pressure on your job to be the be all end all perfect specialty, perfect position that you are incredibly, ridiculously passionate about.
You Unicorn job doesn’t need to be your one true love or passion. But it does have to be something that you’re excited to do.
A situation where you are eager to learn and take care of patients inside the bounds of the position. You don’t have to know exactly what you’ll do within that specialty, but it has to be something that you like with patients that you can see yourself caring about.
Let’s face it – even Unicorn positions have hard times – no positions is literally unicorns pooping rainbows every day. There will be challenging times and patients in each and every position.
What matters here is that, even when things are tough, that you are enthusiastic enough to make it through those times.
The True Unicorn Job
When your Unicorn position checks all the boxes, has some element of all four quadrants, that’s the sweet spot, baby. You’ll be on fire, thriving, with a life and work that flow, blend and integrate. A position where you can spread your wings, do the things you love, and still have a schedule that is sustainable to you and your family.
Now that you’ve identified your sweet spot – don’t stop there. Look for opportunities in your current position to make it more unicorn-esque. Yes, I am aware that unicorn esque is not technically a word that is officially a part of the english language yet, but roll with it.
What elements about that dream position can you start to create where you are?
Also – what adjacent specialties or positions might exist that you could mold into the unicorn job of your dreams?
Unicorn positions are rarely listed as so on their Indeed or LinkedIn or WorkDay job description. They are an opportunity to get into a new position that, over time, can become your Unicorn position, or that, once you get an offer from, can be molded into what you want and keep you in that sweet spot.
Over the course of your career, there may be many unicorn positions in your culture. There’s not one single unicorn position out there for you. There are many! The possibilities for making the positions you get in the future more like a unicorn are endless.
You get to choose what’s next in your career – whether changes in your current position or a new position in a new organization or department – but the bottom line is that unless you know what you’re searching for, it’s hard to know when you’ve found the opportunity that you can craft into that Unicorn.