No job lasts forever, but many of us are not prepared for the possibility of having our position eliminated, being demoted or even fired. Health system CIOs have been vulnerable for many years. Management and Board changes, lack of funding for IT, merging or acquisition, and reorganization can lead to a change in leadership. Certain signs and signals can alert you to possible issues. Sometimes you have to listen to your intuition, especially if you are not skipping through the door every day to work. Losing a job is stressful and can lead to other issues. Being proactive can help.
Writing on the wall
We have seen many turbulent times in healthcare IT when leadership changes happened around new technology and growth in the industry. We are experiencing it now, and perhaps at a faster pace. What has happened at your organization that might cause your position as CIO to be in jeopardy? Here are some scenarios from actual health systems that caused a CIO change or firing:
- CEO change and new management team
- New reporting structure
- Lack of IT funding
- Physician involvement with IT
- IT not viewed as a service department
- Merger with another health system
- Failure of EMR-CPOE implementation
- Recommendations from outside consultants
Here are some helpful tactics to prepare you for the possibility of a job loss. Contact a labor and employment attorney if you need help with non-compete, non-disclosure or severance agreements. Look into COBRA coverage for medical insurance and retirement plan continuation. Some other important action steps include:
- Write a stellar resume
- Contact executive recruiters
- Build a Personal website
- Update your LinkedIn profile
- File for unemployment
- Network with old employers, employees, friends, etc.
- Join or update associations membership
- Review executive job boards
- Become a consultant
- Set up meetings with key people
- Change direction and do something different
As a recruiter for the last 12 years, I have been on the receiving end of calls and emails from CIOs who have experienced sudden or unexpected job loss. I feel it is important to be there as a listening board and offer suggestions and recommendations. Hopefully, many of you will not experience job loss, but in these times, I would caution you to still be prepared. I wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.