Updated: Jul 6, 2022
A list of all the reasons I ever quit any healthcare job I've had
I was quitting jobs before the great resignation....
I have had several jobs as a PA and as an RN throughout my entire adult life. This does not seem to be the norm when I compare myself to my classmates, some of which who have been at the same job since we graduated PA school. How? I do not know. Over the past 10+ years, I have had 7 different positions all by choice. It's kind of crazy reading that, but I have my reasons and am able to share the benefits of my choice to move around.
I often run into people that think about leaving their job for whatever reason, but ultimately won't leave the comfort of familiarity even if it is at their own detriment. I am going to share the reasons I have left jobs and maybe this will encourage you to do something similar...or at least have less guilt about leaving.
Reason #1 - Treated poorly
I was working 60+ hours per week and had no work-life balance. I would come in as early as I could after getting my kids taken care of and often stayed late. I was down-talked, made to cry, and was trained in a trial-by-fire fashion. I was not valued as an employee. The physician got a kick out of belittling others. I knew I was one incident away from snapping and hurting someone's feelings, so I made my exit.
Time in this position: 1 year, 18 days
Reason #2 - Poor pay
I worked in a specialty where other organizations were paying their PAs/NPs considerably more. I remember several providers brought evidence of this and would leave after their pay was not increased. I applied to another job just to see what they would offer me and it was an additional $7/hr. My attempts to negotiate a higher pay in my current position failed, so I dropped down to zero-assigned hours and worked the new job. Eventually, the old job would do a market adjustment increasing pay.
The real reason companies do not want you to discuss your pay with your colleagues is because they are going to pay people what they want versus what they deserve.
Time in this position: 2 years
Reason #3 - Commute time
I once took a job 1.5 hours away from my home. I did it for the money, not thinking about how much I truly hated driving. I also did not think that I would have to drive in the winter. It was a rough year commuting and buying gas. I worked 12-hour shifts, so each workday was a lot to handle and left nothing in reserves.
Time in this position: 1 year
Reason #4 - Racism
On more than one occasion, I was the only Black provider where I worked. The majority of the time, this did not really impact my experience and patient interactions. Until one day, I worked in this small community as the only Black provider. The complaints that would be submitted were stereotypical, almost parody-like, against me. I had been called every name but a child of God by patients, I was lied on, and even told by one patient how they didn't like Black people because they were lazy. I knew it was time to go when I was asked if I felt I needed a chaperone in my rooms while I saw patients. I felt there was nothing I could do right, even when doing the right thing. I also felt unheard and invalidated.
Time in this position: 2 years 2 months
Reason #5 - No room for advancement
I've always imagined I'd be more than a clinical or beside healthcare provider. I saw myself being involved in administration or a leadership position. What I came to realize is that there is not always a track outside of being a bedside or clinic PA. Oftentimes, those leadership positions would go to nurses, non-clinical people, physicians, but not PAs. Some organizations want you to work for them for over 10-15 years before they promote you. In my experience, you can get a good idea if the organization will promote you as a PA. Look at their current leadership and what their titles are or were.
Time in this position: 2 years 8 months
How has this moving around benefited me?
Depending on the generation you are speaking to, there are varying schools of thought around how long you need to stay at a job. I do get the importance of being vested for retirement purposes or staying put to get public service loan forgiveness. While I admire people that do that, it's no excuse to be stuck in a place that does not make you feel valued.
From changing positions, I have gained a lot of experience in different specialties. This can translate to higher pay. I have increased my salary to making more than double what I made as a new grad in 10 years. Had I stayed at some of these, organizations I would be subject to their pay scales that seem to never move. I know I would not be making as much money as I do now.
Here's to new positions with greater pay, promotions, work-life balance, and opportunity'all!
Dr. Jackie the PA