Which Gig Should You Accept, Doctor?

Which Gig Should You Accept, Doctor?

Which Gig Should You Accept, Doctor?

Problem statement: Dr Jones presently is the CMO of a startup with a generous compensation package. However, his CEO has asked him to send a revised job description.

Should Dr. Jones say yes?

If you a healthcare professional looking for a non-clinical gig and have done your homework, clients will start asking you to work with or for them, or, the people who you presently advise or consult to will want to modify your job and/or your compensation arrangement because, inevitably, circumstances will change. In other words: we didn't get that investor money after all , or , you didn't meet our expectations.

Then, you will have to decide whether you want to include them in your client portfolio or not. So, how should you make that decision? Which gig is it, doctor?

Answer: Do the cost / benefit analysis. In other words, on a legal pad with a line down the middle, list the tangible and intangible benefits and costs of your participation and decide the value of the engagement to you and your potential client.

HINT: Asymmetries between the value of saying yes to you and your value to a potential client is a red flag. It should be a win-win.

The tangible benefits are typically compensation and any other perks and the costs are the time and effort to fulfil the scope of work.

But, don't overlook the intangible benefits that, in the long run, might be even more valuable than money or goodies. These are:

  1. Networks that can connect you to other opportunities
  2. Education about a domain or industry where you have knowledge, skills, abilities and competency gaps
  3. Leadership, emotional intelligence and team building experience
  4. Potential mentors
  5. Building personal brand equity
  6. Creating synergies with other people you know or have as clients
  7. Satisfying mission or purpose
  8. Getting an idea that is important to you to patients or other stakeholders 
  9. Satisfying your intrinsic motivation driven by a personal need or circumstance
  10. Giving you something worthwhile to do while you are locked in your house during COVID-19 getting on your spouse or partner's nerves.
  11. Challenging you to meet stretch goals
  12. Getting the chance to pass it forward

Like all the choices we make, we buy emotionally and justify rationally. Your intuition about the intangibles should be an important part of your decision about whether and how to ladder your career portfolio. If you decide to say no, do it amicably. The world is a small, round place.

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  • Jax Hubbuck


  • Ross Tiller

    Wake up doctors ! Lead by example.

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org. He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at www.bridgehealth.com and www.cliexa.com and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at www.globalminded.org, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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