For those of you that are just starting out in your careers, or will be graduating in 2021 and getting into practice, or even for those in practice looking to make a move professionally (so basically everyone), I’ll offer an unsolicited suggestion: 

Start a list of all of the actions you have taken that demonstrate how you have gone “Above and Beyond” the demands of your role.

If you need to, go back and read your job description to know what the written expectations are. If you’re a newbie or will be soon enough, make sure you read and reread your job descriptions and contract agreements. Also think about the unwritten rules, such as what being a solid team member looks and feels like. If you’re in practice, then think about the last year, and write down any examples that clearly demonstrate how you are doing more than is required, AKA going “Above and Beyond”.

How do you prove that you are going above and beyond at your job?
Little known fact: Above and Beyond is a town in rural Iowa.

Here are some possible examples that could serve as actions to list:

  • Stayed late on 6/4/2020 to allow other provider to attend meeting.
  • Arrived 30 or more minutes early to each shift to ensure understanding of the day ahead, maximizing productivity of morning huddles.
  • Did home visit for elderly patient on 4/13/2020 due to lack of transportation.
  • Worked Christmas Eve, Black Friday, Memorial Day to allow others to take the time off.
  • Volunteered at COVID call center.
  • Created and presented “5 Solutions for Burnout” powerpoint to office members.
  • Came in on days off (5/13/2020, 10/13/2020) to cover for other provider.
  • Joined Strategic Planning committee June 2020.

The more specific you can be, the better, and try to include dates for a stronger argument. “An argument for what?” you ask. Well, for a promotion, raise, request to drop back to part-time, or maybe even to keep in your pocket for that upcoming job interview. This “Above and Beyond” list can serve as a tool to demonstrate some of your best attributes and are specific enough examples to set you apart from the rest. These actions can potentially give you some leverage to negotiate for what you want because you will potentially be seen as indispensable and invaluable.

Does this work? Well, yes. At least it did for me.

Back at my first job, I spent the first year trying to get my footing with the art and science of practicing medicine, while also appreciating that with being the rookie, I was low in the pecking order. So, I watched for opportunities to demonstrate my value, and jumped on these to go “Above and Beyond“, without making myself some sort of martyr. This included staying late, letting colleagues leave early due to weather conditions, covering for them while they were on vacation, and even holding a few Q+A sessions for our patients about topics such as diabetes. My colleagues and patients thought I was ambitious and a team player, which I am, but what they didn’t know was that I was writing all of this down, should I need to prove my value (keep in mind this could also be necessary in bad times, should your employer have to decide who to furlough or let go). 

Fast forward to 1 year after my start date, to a meeting for my annual evaluation with the office manager: I received my feedback, asked some questions on how I could improve, and then presented my case for a 10% raise. Armed with data that included patient satisfaction scores, RVU productivity, self-created reviews from colleagues, and of course, my neatly typed “Above and Beyond” list, I argued my case for the raise and subsequently became one of the highest-paid APPs in the organization. Within 1 year of work, I had done enough to prove my value and asked for what I thought I deserved and was rewarded.  (I’d also like to point out the fact that most organizations will ask you about your previous salary and base their offers on that, so all of my subsequent offers were influenced by the raise I got after my first year.) Even if I didn’t get the raise, that list was coming with me wherever I applied next, as it did a lot to demonstrate to the potential employer what they should expect by hiring me.

The things listed on your list may seem trivial or are actions you take because you “just like to be helpful“. If so, then you’re a good 🥚 and your colleagues are lucky to have you around, but you should still keep a running tab of these items. This doesn’t mean that you are disingenuous or are a manipulative psychopath, just think of it as character insurance that you just might have to cash in at some point.

Did you know that Above and Beyond is the name of a British band? Well, I didn’t either, prior to my Google search for stock photos of “Above and Beyond”. Are they any good?

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) There are no conflicts of interest to report. 3) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read.

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