“Be careful. You’re taking a big risk.”
I had just officially resigned and informed my editor that I was leaving to pursue a new venture with a considerably smaller operation. She cautioned me that leaving a stable job in publishing — an industry marred by instability — to work for a two-year-old company might not be the best career move.
But to me, passing up my dream job sounded like a much bigger risk.
Despite my married name, I’m actually not much of a gambler. However, I’ve always believed that staying in any situation simply because it’s comfortable is no way to live, and that when a great opportunity presents itself, you should seize it.
When I joined the staff of healthsystemCIO.com one year ago today, on the surface, it probably seemed like I was rolling the dice. I had a job that offered benefits, and I was up for a review that would likely result in a raise. Not something you usually walk away from when you’re two months pregnant.
But when you dig a little deeper, you see that it wasn’t much of a bet. At the company I worked for, my department was understaffed and overworked. Everyone seemed to be at the breaking point — as more projects rolled in and we got busier, efforts to acquire more staff got pushed to the backburner. [Note to supervisors everywhere: when you’re too busy to hire and train someone new, it’s a problem. Turn off the conveyor belt and right the situation.]
We were constantly being told it was going to slow down, but telling people things are going to get better isn’t enough — you have to demonstrate that you’re taking steps to make improvements.
And that wasn’t happening.
So when I was approached by Anthony about coming on board full-time, I was absolutely thrilled. It was time for a change — but that was only part of it. I didn’t want just any job — I had a job. I wanted a situation where I was given a certain amount of latitude, where I could provide input on editorial matters, and where I worked with someone I respect. The position at healthsystemCIO.com offered all of those things. I knew that Anthony had complete trust in me, and knowing that only makes me work harder.
It’s funny — when you leave a position, the assumption much of the time is that salary is the biggest factor. But in fact, there are a number of reasons why people search for new opportunities. They might be seeking a new challenge, a change of pace, a change of scenery, or in some cases, all of the above.
Many of the CIOs we’ve spoken to during the past year have left their comfort zones to seek out new opportunities.
Mark Hulse, CIO at Moffitt Cancer Center, said he left North Shore Medical Center after six years in search of a new challenge — and a warmer climate.
Mary Alice Annecharico saw a tremendous opportunity for growth when she made the move across Lake Erie from University Hospitals in Cleveland — where she oversaw a major system upgrade — to Henry Ford Health System.
Seeking to dip his toes into academic medicine, Daniel Barchi left Carilion Clinic, a $1.5 billion community health system, to lead Yale New Haven Health System through a large-scale Epic implementation, and is now reaping the benefits of being close to New York City.
And there are those like John Kenagy of Legacy Health and John Lynch of Greater Hudson Valley Health System, who were thrust back into the job market as a result of organizational changes, but ended up finding great new opportunities.
Sometimes a change — even one that wasn’t planned — can result in a positive outcome. And no matter what the reason for leaving, there’s always a risk in seeking a new challenge, and there’s always a learning curve. It may seem easier just to stay in the comfort zone, but in doing that, you could miss out on something more rewarding.
I’m very grateful that I chose to seek out a new challenge last January when I joined the staff of healthsystemCIO.com, and I’m extremely glad that Nancy Wilcox (our new director of sales and marketing) did the same this week. I look forward to working with her again and getting to know her even better, and I applaud her courage in deciding to take a risk.