During COVID, practice closures, lay-offs, and temping were typical reasons why Dental Assistants had multiple short term employment stints on their resume.
When a Dental Assistant has numerous employers each lasting a year or less that are unrelated to the pandemic, I wonder if some of these professionals could benefit from coaching that’s designed to guide them toward positions that are the right fit for them, thereby preventing the early exits.
Environment Is Everything
You may indeed be fantastic at what you do. But it is important to work somewhere that allows you to become the most talented professional that you can be—a place that supports your growth that you can call home for a meaningful amount of time. You need enough time on a job so that you can hone your skills and develop your resiliency and flexibility muscles.
In my experience, staying with a position has more to do with what you do before you sign on the dotted line, not after. Just as some of us love blue cheese dressing and some of us do not like it does not mean there is anything inherently wrong with blue cheese dressing. On its own, it is neutral. The same can be said for our places of employment. What some folks consider a dream job, others consider a nightmare. The key is to determine which environment is right for you.
How to Find What’s Right for You
Below are 11 tips that will help you find your perfect fit.
1. Look Toward the Future
How long do you want to work here? Consider life changes that may crop up that will make it necessary for you to stay at the job longer than you’d planned. Or, is this job temporary, a place to work until you enroll in school or land a different position? If that’s the case, I recommend temp work. This way you avoid having too little time at a job on your resumé. I do not recommend taking a permanent position with the goal that you will leave soon unless the employer is aware of your intentions. This matters for future references.
2. Know Yourself
Do a personal inventory. Do you like large, bustling practices or small, intimate ones? What type of patient demographic do you prefer—children or adults? Do you like clear instruction, or do you prefer to be more autonomous? Do you want a long chain of command, or just one person to report to? Are you generally flexible or rigid? Knowing yourself will draw you to positions that you’ll be more likely to stick with.
3. Looks Aren’t Everything
Looks aren’t everything: Some people assume that if an office is new, modern, and upscale that it’s a worthy place to work. While having a certain aesthetic can boost mood and confidence, a practice is better assessed by the people who inhabit it. The look of an office rarely has anything meaningful to do with the people who own it, run it, and work there. The exception is cleanliness and modern equipment, which should always be factored in.
4. Take Former Employee Experiences with a Grain of Salt
Again, I’ll use the blue cheese dressing analogy. While previous employee feedback is helpful and I recommend it, do not always assume that because someone did or did not like working in a certain practice that you will feel the same way. Personalities, preferences, and tastes can be quirky. You should gather more than two opinions about an office if possible.
5. Look at Patient Reviews
Read patient reviews online prior to accepting a position. If there is a long, robust pattern of unhappy patients, that is a red flag.
6. Don’t Ignore Your Intuition
When you have an interview, try to imagine yourself coming into the practice each day, for years. Is that a pleasant thought, or does the thought depress you or make you nervous? Listen to your gut.
7. Keep Coworker Expectations Realistic
You should never work with folks who make you unhappy. By the same token, do not expect your teammates to complete you. You should generally like, respect, and work productively with your teammates. You should be comfortable around them, have positive encounters, and the occasional healthy conflict. Beyond that, let go of the assumption that teammates will satisfy all your emotional needs. That is not what they or you are there to do.
8. Money Isn’t Everything
If you love most things about an office but they offer you less than your ideal salary, it may be worth taking the position anyway. Remember, things like pay can change. Practice revenue may increase. You may get a raise in the future or have growth potential. Things that don’t usually change are the location, the practice owners, and their philosophies. Starting pay is not the most important factor in deciding where to work.
9. Get Back to Basics
Do not downplay the mundane. Is the practice too far a commute every day? Is the local cost of living out of your reach? Are the hours realistic for you and your family? Can you realistically work every Saturday? Think about what is down the road, not just around the next bend.
10. Do Some Research
I often talk with applicants whose previous employment did not work out for very avoidable reasons. The hours were not as expected. The pay periods didn’t fall on the expected days. The medical insurance was not affordable or not offered with the number of hours worked. Just as you would have a house inspected before taking out a mortgage, ensure you know the details before you accept a position.
11. Be Honest
Tell employers what you’re looking for in terms of pay, hours, growth, and benefits. In many cases, practices can be flexible on some items if you’re the right person for the position. If they cannot, it’s better to know that ahead of time.
Having too many positions in too little time is not only a resume killer, it can inhibit your professional growth and have long-reaching personal financial security consequences. There is no substitute for proper planning. By doing a little homework, you can ensure that your next employment home is just that—home.
At Apex Dental Partners, we are always looking for exceptional individuals to join our talented family of Dental Assistants. To find out more information about our current opportunities, please click the button below.