Get a career boost (when you’re stuck in a rut)

A Physio’s urge for a career boost kicks in around 5 years after graduation, or 5 years after working at the same place.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the place where you’re working, it’s just that we’re naturally wired to seek out challenges. After 5 years of refining your work processes, your current set up might feel like it’s running on autopilot and the excitement is gone.

This is one of the big contributors to the VERY short average career duration for Physiotherapists. It might surprise you but after years of hard work and study, the average Physio career lasts less than 7 years!!

So how can you get a career boost and keep Physio challenging?

Research has shown that the best way to maintain your enthusiasm for Physio is job satisfaction! So here are some proven strategies to reinvigorate your career and get past the 5 year itch!

Using Physio CPD for a career boost

CPD isn’t just something Physio’s should tick off each year to maintain their registration. Your CPD is a perfect opportunity to steer your clinical knowledge and career towards stuff that interests you.

There’s no harm in attending a conference that’s outside your current scope – I once attended a Podiatry conference in Sydney. Sure, I didn’t get half of the foot jokes, but it was a great insight into how Podiatrist’s operate and where their field of research it heading.

You can sign up to a course that explores an area of interest, even if you don’t currently see those types of patients (see our next point about a 2nd job).

Or you can use your CPD time to explore peripheral content that relates to your Physio job, without being Physio content. This might be an online course into mental health, or management strategies, or nutrition. It’s not Physio, but it’ll certainly make you a better Physio. See our post about recommended online courses for Physios (and they’re FREE!)

2nd job to broaden skills and enjoyment

There are plenty of reasons for taking on a 2nd job – not enough hours at your current work is the one that most people think of.

But a 2nd job can enhance your career in so many ways. It might be a chance to explore a different type of caseload within the same area of Physio, like older or younger populations within the musculoskeletal field.

It’s also a chance to try a different area of Physio altogether. Just because you work in a private practice that focuses on brain injury doesn’t mean that you can’t get a 2nd Physio job in women’s health.

You can explore any field as a 2nd Physio job, and still have the safety of your main job to retreat to if it’s not for you. If you’re keen to explore a 2nd job, and you’re after something specific, head over to our anonymous job matching service. It finds matches between your ideal conditions and new Physio jobs on the market in Sydney, and it’s completely anonymous so your current boss doesn’t find out you’re exploring employment options.

New job to continue challenge and rewards

Sometimes your current workplace is part of the issue. It might be that it lacks stimulation, or management isn’t supportive, or CPD has been forgotten. If that’s the case, a fresh start might be your best option.

Before you jump ship from Physio altogether, it’s worth salvaging your years of study by finding a workplace that is stimulating and challenging, with supportive management and a killer CPD program. Rather than quitting and signing up to the next job ad that pops up, why not get head-hunted by a clinic that values your skills?

Our job match service will put you in touch with clinics that are after your specific skill set and are offering your ideal job conditions. We can do this by asking about your ideal position, your preferred salary, caseload, hours… everything (except your name, as it’s anonymous).

Then we ask employers the same questions about what they’re offering. If it aligns, you get their details and the rest is up to you. We don’t tell them anything about you to maintain confidentiality. So if you’re worried about your boss finding out, you’re protected.

If this sounds a little too good to be true (being head-hunted that is, not about getting another job), it’s actually quite common in other industries. And it works well for everyone – Physios get a career boost and find their perfect job while employers find their perfect match.

Management/ops roles

If you need to change up your role within Physio and seek out challenges in the industry you know best, it might be worth exploring a management or operational role.

For this, you’ll need at least 5 years experience (preferably 10 years) and good people skills. You’ll also need some qualifications or experience in management – you can get that via an online course or further study. Just make sure the course is relevant to your position. For example, an MBA looks awesome in your CV but it won’t really give you any insight into running a small Physio clinic with two staff.

It’s also a big advantage if you have a post-graduate Masters in a Physio field, as it indicates that you’ll probably be good at providing CPD to junior Physios.

Still not convinced?

If the above options just aren’t the career boost that you’re looking for, maybe it’s time to explore life beyond Physio. As much as it hurts to devalue all those years of study, you need to chase happiness and satisfaction more than anything.

Check out our comparison of the salary of other professions, some non-Clinical roles that Physios can pursue or some side hustles that can help boost your Physio income and provide an insight into non-Physio work.