Create a Goal Hierarchy
Once we had a more distinct and clear idea of what fulfillment would look like in our lives, we then began to deconstruct it into it’s various pieces. What component parts would be required, or helpful, in achieving the life we dreamt for ourselves? We looked at financial factors, places we wanted to travel to, how many weeks a year we want to work for, what clinical settings were the most satisfying for us to work in, etc.
Having that established, we were then able to create a hierarchy. We ranked, loosely, our goals in whatever order suited us best at that time (you will do this almost constantly over your life, both as a traveler and not, so don’t feel like you are locked in to one particular order.) That way we could easily discern between a job in an exciting location versus a position that paid super high but was in the middle of nowhere. Also, it helped to identify what we were willing to concede in order to satisfy a higher ranking factor. When we found ourselves in some unforeseen financial problems Ellen took a high paying position in a podunk town hours away from anything interesting (I had another month to finish on a contract elsewhere), but close enough that we could meet on the weekends. It was by no means an ideal situation, but we were able to continue on towards our financial goals, and knowing that it was just short term it did not have negative impacts on our relationship.
Using our priority list, or goal hierarchy, we were able to streamline our decision making process and weed out positions that might be great for some people, just not for us.
Therapists tend to migrate to travel therapy for a variety of reasons; adventure, higher pay, flexible contracts, etc. Having a clear idea of how you value each component will be exceedingly helpful when it comes time to look at potential job opportunities. There are hundreds of physical therapy jobs available to travelers in every location and setting imaginable. It can definitely get overwhelming without a goal hierarchy to help guide the process.
written by: Stephen Stockhausen
Call for comments: What are some of your goals? In life or as a clinician?