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Looking On the Other Side of the Fence...

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

One of my favorite TED Talks is Simon Sinek talking about the need to identify your “WHY” – what’s your purpose, what drives you, what inspires you to be great? We have all met those individuals that seem to have *the perfect job* and it makes us think – “I want a job like theirs!” But why do you feel that person’s job would be perfect for you? Is it the company or team they work with, the energy they bring to their job, is it the service that job provides for others, is it because they make a lot of money…? What’s their WHY? What makes you think the grass is greener on their side of the fence?

As you navigate your career, it’s natural to look for your next step…as a matter of fact, one of my favorite interview questions is – “What job do you want next?” For me, this question differentiates individuals with BIG dreams and aspirations for achievement and growth. Those of us that have grown up in the lab, we encounter a variety of roles from hospital administration; vendor-provided personnel - sales, clinical, and technical support; and the temporary support through traveling RNs and techs, to name a few. It’s the interactions with individuals in these roles that enamor or repel us and those experiences that shape our view of the roles.

So how can you find your “Big Dreams” in the confines of lab? How do you know what your next step will be? Well…it takes effort, it takes self-reflection, it takes time to learn your current job so you know how it’s preparing you for the next step. Before I stepped out of the lab, I didn’t even know that my last three jobs were “a thing.” I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone to find my passion, my WHY – and it was hard. Below are the points I have considered when looking on the other side of the fence.


  • Ask yourself what you love about your current job (or past jobs).

  • Identify what makes you unhappy in a job.

  • Evaluate how the culture or a team influenced what you appreciated or disliked about your current or past experiences.

What Do You Need to Learn?

  • Pinpoint the skills you need to develop for your dream job.

  • Look for opportunities to stretch yourself in new ways in your current situation – start a case review group or join an industry forum, for example.

  • Become certified – look at the credentials and certificates that are important for your current and/or future roles.

Preparing for Your Next Step

  • Take the time to ask lots of questions of those in roles that you *think* might be interesting.

  • Attend external training events either supported by your hospital, or on your own – invest in your own development.

  • Do research on who you would be working for and with – evaluate the culture and the team, if possible.

Taking the steps to steer your professional journey will help point you in the right direction. Connect with the groups that will help guide you along the way. Don’t assume that the individual on the other side of the fence has your perfect job, but don’t count them out as a great mentor for you as you traverse your own path. The grass is not always greener on the other side, but you might find some paths where you can pick some flowers along your way to find your WHY!

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