On November 30, 2012, I decided it was time to find a new job. That was the day I was told very clearly that I and my midwife colleagues provided little value to our practice. It was a difficult thing to hear, but it was something I already knew in my heart. Hearing the words spoken just reinforced my need to leave the practice.

But leaving a job isn’t as easy as it may seem; at least it wasn’t for me. That is obviously quite apparent since that sad day in 2012 was more than 2½ years ago. However, it is just now that I am ending my time with that practice and about to begin a new career endeavor with a new practice.

Although I knew that I wasn’t valued, though I was feeling overworked and underappreciated, it still took me time to gather the courage to actively seek another job. I realize now that I spent a long time looking for excuses to stay with the practice because I was comfortable. I was afraid of leaving that comfort zone despite my growing unhappiness.

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There is something to be said for comfort in a job. I’ve been with this practice since I was a student midwife. I know the people, the paperwork, and the policies. Quite honestly, I am fond of most of the midwives, nurses, physicians, and support staff. Familiarity with the work and the people makes it easier to stay in a position, even when you know it is time to go.

I was also wary of running away from something, rather than running toward a better opportunity. It was certainly possible that I could end up in a worse position if I left this job solely for the sake of leaving.  So I found excuses to stay: “But I love the actual work that I do,” “But the nurses are so great,” or “What will my patients do without me?”

So I waited. I kept my eyes and ears open for the right position. I listened to the growing concerns of friends and family that my job was making me miserable. I watched with interest as a midwife colleague—equally dissatisfied—interviewed first for a job with a practice that sounded awful and then eventually left for her dream position.

Right after she left, I decided it was time for me to find my own dream position. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I knew what it wasn’t. Fairly quickly, I found a position that seemed like a good fit. I knew it was the right one when after months of complacency, I was suddenly desperate to start anew.

More than three months later, I am about to end my tenure with my current practice and embark on a new journey. I’m excited, and also nervous, to start in my new position. I anticipate growing pains and discomfort as I settle into new routines and work with new people and new record-keeping systems. It isn’t easy to go from being an expert to a novice, and in many ways that’s exactly what I will be doing.  

For anyone who is unhappy in his or her job, I offer this advice: don’t wait. Start looking today. But don’t run from one bad situation to another. The amount of paperwork involved in changing jobs as a mid-level practitioner is staggering, especially if you are moving your practice to another state. Rather, if you have the luxury of patience, polish your CV, wait until you find that position you must have, and then do everything you can to get that job.

Robyn Carlisle, MSN, CNM, WHNP, is currently working as a full-scope midwife at University Doctors and Kennedy Hospital in Sewell, N.J., but will soon be embarking on a new and exciting career.