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I am thinking of adding a non-clinical string to my portfolio career but don't know quite where to start. What options might be available to me?

Dear Doctor,

In answer to your question 'What options might be available to me?', the answer is my usual ­ how many options do you want? Three, 30,300? No, actually what people generally want is to define for themselves what it is they are missing from their life, week, self-actualisation pathway etc ­ rather than what your phrase implies 'pick a career off a shelf', ie off a list given to you.

There are various ways to define options open to an individual and they all pretty much depend on the make-up of the individual. What is open to one person (even with the same qualifications) will not always be open or of interest to another.

As I know nothing about you, this is impossible to say with any degree of accuracy. For example, I could say become a pharmaceutical industry adviser and you might say 'Ah well, I have got a problem with their ethics' or I might say try medical journalism and you then say 'Ah, I have been a well-compensated dyslexic all my life'.

The key with making any new career decision is to take stock of the current situation, how you got there, the past etc ­ but also of your values, personality, skills, motivations, financial needs and more.

At Medical Forum we give careers advice after our workbook (34 pages!) is filled in because after reading this we know a lot about the author and thus can avoid giving suggestions like those I mention above.

Dr Sonia Hutton-Taylor

is the founder of Medical Forum Career Management, www.medicalforum.com which provides e-mail career coaching

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