Timing the Next Move in a Mid Seniority Role
Some details of my situation are fairly specific, but I think the central point of the question can be generalised to others in mid-seniority technical industry roles. I don't think there is a single answer, but I am interested in the comments from the experienced forum members.
I am a clinician with a background in research (PhD +productive postdoc). Within the last 18 months I completed my clinical training and achieved the highest level of clinical qualification in my field. Currently I work full time in private practice. I enjoy many elements of my current job and I need longer to cement my clinical skills.
However, I do not feel that this is the right role for me in the long term, for the following reasons. First, the work can be physically punishing (lack of sleep, in particular) and I do not want to/cannot continue into my late forties at this pace. Second, I do not get the same satisfaction as a clinician as I did in research. I have some simple research projects underway but it is unlikely that these could become more substantive this environment. Third, I would like to find a role where my clinical and research skills are utilised and rewarded accordingly. The importance of saving for retirement after many years as a trainee has come into sharp focus.
If remained in my current role, I think I could continue to learn and become more proficient until the day I retired. I imagine the same could be said for someone in a technical role in industry. However, there must be a point when the curve flattens and the rate of learning slows. In other words, there must be a point where you become reasonably proficient by your own standards and the standards of others.
My specific question is, what are the clues that this inflexion point is about to arrive? Can one anticipate the right time to move on?
First it would be good if you generated a name like the rest of the forum, makes conversation a bit more personal.
As for your question, that point of inflection, in my experience you answered it yourself. You know you're proficient and others know it too. And I guess you know when you've arrive when one day you wake up and realize that you are.
Some signs will be, what took you 2 hours in the past, now takes you 15 minutes. That is, you move a lot faster and with high, if not higher quality and accuracy, as the old saying goes, don't pay me for my 15 minutes of work, pay me for the years building experience, expertise and knowledge so that one can have a item delivered in 15 mintues vs. 2 hours. or what ever time frame.
And it can be a good place to be, you're an expert in something, maybe even become an authority in some circle and one can enjoy the ride for a bit.
And as far as moving on, simple: When you get bored. When you are no longer energized and when being the expert no longer satisfies you..move on. When paycheck, team, training, boss, even if you like them all, no longer is satisfactory to you, and all things considered your efforst to compartmentalize such in your personal life is no longer balancing...move on.
You can apply that to any age and stage of career, be it early on when you've mastered a job and time for a new rold, or later in life, if one wants to transition to a new career, i.e. employee to entrepreneur etc. and so and so on.
Do pay attention to your personal life as that can also heavily weight in terms of how you balance your feelings/motivation and energy. Time with family tends to be a refresher and hobbies/activities that take you mind away from work does the same as well.