Part 1 – When a doctor loses their sublease – Reprinted originally in 2013

Doctors attending CE to keep their skills up
Attentive doctors

Doctors attending CE to keep their skills up

Doctors attending CE to keep their skills up

One of the most traumatic periods in an optometrist’s life is losing their lease or job. It hurts. It doesn’t matter whether it was the first time or not. Or whether it was expected or not. It will always hurt.

How fast you can recover from this hurt will speed your recovery for looking or performing in your next job. Each hurt that you feel leaves you that much more insecure in your interviews, job performance and confidence. It’s almost impossible to disguise such insecurity with false bravado. Insecurity is so profound in job losses that its written and studied repeatedly.

In fact, job loss is a critical driver for depression and cardiovascular disease (Gallo et al, 2006 and Gallo et al. 2006). It breeds insecurity that cannot be easily erased and can lead to poor organizational citizenship or deviant workplace behavior (Tsai et al, 2010 and Reisel et al, 2010). Even the level and depth of the pain of job loss can be quantified (O’Connor, 2013). In every way imaginable, the loss of a lease/job for an optometrist is like any other job loss by any one else. It hurts and continues to hurt.

As optometrists try to recover from a job or lease loss, some will do better than others. Those who do better often plan for their transition well before they are terminated. Trained job coaches, attorneys and even therapists are necessary to reset an optometrists mental view in order to bring the enthusiasm that was once possessed and now lost.

In the next installment, the staff of CareerLand will pose a model for recovery that won’t eliminate the hurt pain and of a job or lease loss, but it will prepare any optometrist to move more quickly to the next step.

References

Gallo, W., Bradley, E., Dubin, J., Jones, R., Falba, T., Teng, H., & Kasl, S. (2006). The persistence of depressive symptoms in older workers who experience involuntary job loss: results from the Health and Retirement Survey. Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences, 61B(4), S221–8.
Gallo, W., Teng, H., Falba, T., Kasl, S., Krumholz, H., & Bradley, E. (2006). The impact of late career job loss on myocardial infarction and stroke: a 10 year follow up using the health and retirement survey. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 63(10), 683–687.
O¿Connor, T. (2013). The pain of job change or loss. Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand, 19(4), 11–12.
Reisel, W. D., Probst, T. M., Swee-Lim Chia, Maloles, C. M., & König, C. J. (2010). The Effects of Job Insecurity on Job Satisfaction, Organizational Citizenship Behavior, Deviant Behavior, and Negative Emotions of Employees. International Studies of Management & Organization, 40(1), 74–91. doi:10.2753/IMO0020-8825400105
Tsai, Y., & Wu, S. (2010). The relationships between organisational citizenship behaviour, job satisfaction and turnover intention. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19(23/24), 3564–3574. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03375.x

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of Dr. Hom and not medical, legal or financial advice. It is designed for entertainment or education. He is also a licensed life, health and disability agent in California, License # 0I18299.

© Copyright 2013 Richard Hom OD MPA aka “Tips4EyeDocs”

There are no disclosures for this post.

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month

Don’t leave your family in the “cold”. You probably heard of that sage advice at one time or another. It might have come from an insurance agent or a parent. In either case, it’s not taken seriously until life develops and you have loved ones.

In today’s world, waiting to get loved ones is conventional advice, but is it wise. Life insurance is more affordable at an earlier age just because you’re healthier and the you have many more years to accumulate funds in an insurance policy.  Yet, people still wait until they have a family before purchasing insurance.

Despite the sage advice of naysayers, purchasing life insurance is worth it. First, it provides protection of loved ones where financial security when you’re gone is a more likely outcome.  Even if you’re single, you may consider life insurance if you’re in business with a partner where your absence might cripple a company or partnership.

It’s also noteworthy that life insurance comes in many forms. Some policies give pure insurance protection but do not accumulate “savings”.  Other policies provide protection and a “savings” element. which can be helpful in certain situations or when funding is needed by the family.

In summary, the single best reason to buy life insurance is to protect and provide for the financial security of loved ones.  They depend upon you and it’s part of the family financial planning plan to include them. Make it an easy decision and call your local life insurance professional for more information.

Selected references:
  • Editors. (2014, January). When Should You Buy?-Kiplinger. Retrieved September 14, 2014, from http://bit.ly/1q2xW8i
  • Prince, R. (2013, November 21). There’s Only ONE Undisputable Reason To Buy Life Insurance. Retrieved September 14, 2014, from http://onforb.es/1s1TfZm
  • Williams, G. (2014, February 27). 3 Ill-Advised Reasons Not to Buy Life Insurance – US News. Retrieved September 14, 2014, from http://bit.ly/X0e5zQ

Disclaimer: This is not a solicitation and are the personal opinions of Dr. Hom and not medical, legal or financial advice. It is designed for entertainment or education. He is also a licensed life, health and disability agent in California, License # 0I18299.

© Copyright 2013 Richard Hom OD MPA aka “Tips4EyeDocs”

Richard Hom
CareerLand Coach and Management Consultant

Vicki Concepcion

CFE Certified Financial Educator®

http://www.lifehappens.org/videos/legacy-of-love/

 

An untapped market: home eye safety

Two pairs of safety glasses weren’t on my mind when I finished examining a 50 year old who was a carpenter by day. He so loved his craft that he created ( “do-It-yourself”, “DIY”) his own furniture and acted as his own handy man.  He wore his safety glasses day and night and wanted two safety glasses. I also discovered that his two children also helped him a lot in his carpentry. For the typical doctor, it’s a feat to think of one, maybe even two,  but at the end of the visit, he ordered a total of five; two for himself, two for his oldest son and one for his younger daughter.

I hadn’t thought about it much but the home safety market place is as important as the workplace. In fact, the incidence of home eye injuries has surpassed that of the workplace. In the home, the injuries are as injurious with some results more tragic with safety equipment being less common in the home.

Admittedly, the safety frame sale isn’t a glamorous one. The frames must be certified as “safety” as well as the lenses themselves. Not all styles of progressive might come in polycarbonate, the acknowledged standard for resistance to shatter for safety lenses. For children, the average safety frame may not fit.

However, the temptation to use a “dress” frame for DIY projects is tempting with some saying that “any kind of protection” is better than none.  That argument, however well intended, isn’t a valid rationale for true protection. “Dress” frames should never be condoned as a duplicate for industrial-level eye safety. They aren’t the same.

In summary, I learned that the DIY worker comes in all kinds and shapes, all ages and occupations. Whichever and whatever a doctor’s first impression might be, tapping into the passion of DIY, it might result in a multiple pair sale.

Selected Bibliography:
  1. Bhoqal, G., Tomlins, P. J., & Murray, P. I. (2007). Penetrating ocular injurieds in the home. Journal Public Health, 29(1), 72–4.
  2. Gordon, K. (2012). The incidence of eye injuries in Canada. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, 47(4), 351–3.
  3. May, D., Kuhn, F., Witherspoon, C., Danis, R., Matthews, G., & Mann, L. (1999). The epidemiology of serious eye injuries from the United States Eye Injury Registry. Graefe’s Archvie of Clinical Experiminal Ophthalmology, (238), 153–157.

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of Dr. Hom and not medical, legal or financial advice. It is designed for entertainment or education. He is also a licensed life, health and disability agent in California, License # 0I18299. © Copyright 2014 Richard Hom OD MPA aka “Tips4EyeDocs” There are no disclosures for this post.

The summer between classes….

Philadelphia on a summer night

Philadelphia on a summer night

The summer between the official academic school year is one of travel or relaxation. Some will pursue these options. Others, who are more forward thinking will pursue endeavors or avocations that actually will expand their capabilities or their attractiveness to future employers. Whichever alternative a student pursues is of value.

First, the vacation or leisure approach is a “safety valve” to the intensity and anxiety of studying. It can also be an excellent alternative to pursue a leisure activity that won’t be available after graduation either because of time or other circumstance. For instance, travel is common and is often either forgotten or sacrificed the year after graduation.

Second, the “learning” approach includes learning a foreign language or acquiring key business skill such as sales or operations. Either of these two aren’t in the usual syllabus of an optometry program, yet will enhance the résumé or portfolio of any graduating student when they look for employment or business optometry anywhere in the United States.

Lastly, the period between the academic year may include and externship of one kind or another. While externships are chosen for a variety of reasons, they can be leveraged to learn about a specialty, learn under a well-known preceptor or even familiarize one’s self about a potential place of residency. Key is going away. Staying in the same location to get your experience may be quick or price wise, but in the long run, it will always create that sense that all alternatives were never pursued or investigated.

In summary, the summer between your academic years should be planned and be relevant to your career.  Don’t take this for granted. Your competition is hoping that you will.

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of Dr. Hom and not medical, legal or financial advice. It is designed for entertainment or education. He is also a licensed life, health and disability agent in California, License # 0I18299.

For a private consultation, go to http://careerland.biz and complete a contact form and a consultant will contact you.

© Copyright 2014 Richard Hom OD MPA aka “Tips4EyeDocs”

There are no disclosures for this post.

What does optometry mean to you?

What does optometry mean to you?

What does optometry mean to you?

At least once in an optometrist’s career will the question arise “what does optometry mean to you?” I draw a parallel when I photographed this flower and asked some readers what this flower meant to them? What meaning does it have?

Without pondering the many responses from that exercise, I thought about optometry. It’s the same kind of question and for some, it is a necessary reminder to help doctors survive or tolerate the obstacles that befall them throughout their professional career.

For some, optometry is a “helping” or medically inclined profession. This class of professions in American society holds them above other non-medical jobs and occupations. The greater sense of purpose is a strong elixir that makes the daily problems of the profession tolerable or even trivial. Of course, there are financial rewards and a sense of security that if one looked long enough, there would always be a job.

Second, optometry may also be a vehicle for avocation or leisure.  Doctors see optometry as a “means to an end” and enjoy more of their avocation than their chosen profession. In today’s job market, the “employed optometrist” has become a larger proportion than independent private practice, once the lure of all graduates.

Lastly, there are those who abhor optometry and dwell on the variable pay, variable respect, and the perceived intrusiveness of third parties into the profession. They are unhappy and this unhappiness steadily worsens as time progresses. Frequently, lack of fulfillment and amount of dissatisfaction leads to frustration and eventually despair.

In summary, optometry means different things to different doctors. There is no agreement among optometrists that each should perceive optometry exactly like one and another. However, the disparate appeal and perception of optometry may be the seed that defines and splinters the profession into “haves” and “have nots”.  Regretfully, it will be difficult to pursue a singular public policy that will appeal to each optometrist if there is no understanding that such differences exist and that optometry means something to someone and something else completely to another.

For you, the question to ponder is “what does optometry mean to you?”

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of Dr. Hom and not medical, legal or financial advice. It is designed for entertainment or education. He is also a licensed life, health and disability agent in California, License # 0I18299.

© Copyright 2014 Richard Hom OD MPA aka “Tips4EyeDocs” and “CareerLand”

There are no disclosures for this post.

What next after graduation? – Options for the optometry graduate

What's next after graduation

What’s next after graduation?

Four years and you will soon graduate with an optometry doctorate or other professional degree. What’s next after graduation.

For about a third of this year’s graduates, there is an extra year of study in either one of the several optometry residency programs or another graduate degree. For the remaining, there is a mixture of certainty and uncertainty, hope and anxiety or even optimism and pessimism.  Which are you?

For those who are less certain of their futures, the career paths are many. First, the most sought after positions had been private practice but increasingly over the past 10 years or so, the treasure is now employed practice. In many respects, the path past graduation is much broader than ever before.

The traditional venue of corporate or affiliated employment is still a vibrant marketplace. If you did observe or even extern prior to graduation, new doctors can enter this career space with more familiarity and less trepidation.  The affiliated path frees doctors from administration, the bane of many who just “want to be doctors”. Of course, the financial and professional rewards may vary by place and doctors must still use professional interviewing and job search techniques (CareerLand consultants are available at http://careerland.biz) to snag the best opportunities.

Second, employed practice with optometrists and ophthalmologists with little prospect to buy in (if available) are still an active job market. Positions open up continuously as job holders either retire or seek other opportunities. The appeal of this job market is the additional exposure to administration and professional practice that can round out a new doctor’s skills that may eventually lead to independent private practice.

Lastly, there are a few intrepid doctors who will open an independent private practice. The allure continues as this kind of practice remains as the sole avenue for rapid income and professional satisfaction. Since the income is wholly related to the effort of a doctor, the prospect for financial security rests on effort and motivation. The more you work the greater your likelihood of success.

In summary, path after graduation is still broad. There is life after “what’s next after graduation”.

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of Dr. Hom and not medical, legal or financial advice. It is designed for entertainment or education. He is also a licensed life, health and disability agent in California, License # 0I18299.

© Copyright 2013 Richard Hom OD MPA aka “Tips4EyeDocs” and “CareerLand”

There are no disclosures for this post.

Equipment Financing – A Guest Blog

Retinal Photo

Whether it is starting your own practice from the ground up, or sub-leasing space, it is both exciting and overwhelming. Buying the latest and greatest new equipment with all the bells and whistles is attractive, but carry the highest costs. Used equipment are much more affordable, but usually do not have warranties. Another consideration is certified pre-owned, where used equipment has been inspected by the manufacturer and has a limited warranty. Once decided, should you finance? Or should you lease? Some of options look more attractive when revenue has not been generated, so it is imperative to know the differences.

Financing new equipment has several advantages over leasing. Most financial institutions will lend for a defined term of 5, 7, or ten years with a fixed rate, which may range from 5%-10%. Initially the monthly payments maybe higher than leasing, but they are fixed and you will own the equipment once the term is up. Banks also lend money to all parts of your practice allowing consolidation of other costs and debts into one payment. You do not have the option for purchasing used equipment with financing only new and certified pre-owned equipment because of the manufacturer’s warranty. Banks also will offer financial solutions to all aspects of your business, not just for equipment.

Leasing equipment can be extremely attractive when starting your practice. Usually manufacturers or third parties offer an introductory rate where monthly payments are lower, but increases after the introductory term ends. Fixed rates are not common with leases and usually carry prepayment penalties if paid early. Just like leasing a car, buyouts are specified at the end of the term and need to be paid to have ownership. However, unlike financing, you may lease used equipment, which would minimize monthly payments, but does not come with a manufacturer’s warranty unless it is certified pre-owned.

Dr. Rogoff is an independent corporate and private practice consultant specializing in best healthcare, business, and clinical operations practices.  He also current acts as the Partnerships & Marketing Liaison for the Maryland Optometric Association.  Contact information: www. eye-exec.com

Curiosity

The career seeker of yesteryear had it easy. Generally, the candidate only had to compete with other local candidates. Today, candidate pool has increased substantially. Even if a candidate were to be so fortunate in reaching the second or later stage of an interview, the competition is fierce .

For many clinicians, the interview process is formidable and forbidding. Unless, the clinician is a household name, the traditional candidate is immediately at a disadvantage. In today’s world, the communication skills of yesteryear are insufficient in carrying a candidate to success.

The single most crucial talent gap is curiosity. Throughout the job hunt, the candidate is so busy listing and even boasting how good they are that is often wasted on a hiring manager who is seeking someone to fill a need. If a candidate is not curious enough to find out the hiring manager’s needs, it is unlikely that the interview will go well.

In summary, curiosity is the new job skill that can make or break a candidate.

My Road to Diplomate, Public Health and Environmental Vision

While at the 2012 American Academy of Optometry (“Academy”) meeting in Phoenix, AZ, I ran across a friends and colleagues who had either attained their Fellowship or their Diplomate status.  Coincidentally, I, too, had waited several years after graduation before pursuing my Fellowship and hadn’t even thought about a Diplomate.  Of course, I have always had “too many things on my plate”.   I still do do many other things, but I now  thought a Diplomate in Public Health and Environmental Vision would positively impact my current work.

I knew that the Diplomate was a level above the Fellowship in both interest and even competency. Now, being a generalist wasn’t good enough.  The Diplomate forced me to evaluate what would be my main body of interest.  With my Masters in Public Administration and seven years of county and local governmental service, it dawned upon me that I had swerved slightly away from “one-patient-at-a-time” mindset to population-based. It is subtle, but slowly I began to view the world of optometry of not necessarily taking care of a single patient, but engaging optometry in the context of caring for the most number of people with the constraint of limited time and financial resources. That’s a shift.

In private practice, the model drives optometrists to consider one patient-at-a-time and that there be a fee associated with each clinical episode.  The capacity to see patients were bound not by interest, but by the available professional time and funds.  Because health care and for that matter eye care had become increasingly too expensive for the vast number of people,  groups of patients under the umbrella of a vision or medical benefits plan, but this model falls short because again, it’s tied to taking care of one patient at a time. It is also constrained by either the member affording the premiums or the employer having to foot the bill.

A population-based approach focuses on a bunch of people on the other hand models health care around the goal of  “spreading”  the wealth around all the while making eye care accessible to as many people for an ideal cost. Admittedly, population-based eye care faces hurdles from other eye care professionals and even within optometry itself, but in this current economic and political environment, it must be considered as a significant and high priority.

In conclusion, the Diplomate in Public Health and Environmental Vision isn’t a master’s degree. It is not required by anybody. But like the Fellowship, it is my achievement and my recognition of my professional interests. From time to time, I’ll write about my travels to Diplomate in Public Health and Environmental Vision, a journey expected to take two to five years hence.

 

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of Dr. Hom and not medical, legal or financial advice. It is designed for entertainment or education. He is also a licensed life, health and disability agent in California, License # 0I18299.

© Copyright 2013 Richard Hom OD MPA aka “Tips4EyeDocs” and “CareerLand”

There are no disclosures for this post.

Social media channels and optometry

Indianapolis_Night

Social media is here to stay and it is the media of today’s optometrists.  While there are traditional email list serves and member-only forums, the immediate success of Facebook groups and blog sites is unmistakable.  As an observer of all the varieties of channels, the shift has occurred.

While the current crop of social media sites of “ODs on Facebook“; “Optometry and Technology” and CareerLand have claimed prominent audience, the traditional channels of email list serves (Optcomlist) and forums (ODWire) still have significant relevance.  Much of the difference between the two channels of social media is the perceived degree of confidentiality and anonymity between the two. Social media channels are porous with participation by the general  public more likely with confidentiality less stringent.  Member-only list serves and forums seem to have better confidentiality and control of wayward users.   This differentiation is crucial in encouraging frank discussions on a variety of subjects.

But the rise of the social medial sites means that the audience will be fragmented. Rightly or wrongly, the audience will choose as they will seek out the channel (Facebook or email list server/forum) that best suits them.  Interestingly, there is greater control by the poster on content on a forum, and little control with the list serve. In between are the Facebook Groups and sites.

Overall, all of the sites don’t have the kind of confidentiality or control that most posters are really seeking. In fact, there is common wisdom that what you post on any channel should be done with care and that it is likely that a non-group member or non-eye care professional will see it.

In summary, the rise of social media sites doesn’t mean that Optcomlist or ODWire are irrelevant. With a long history of optometric involvement (Optcomlist claims well over 15,000 members and ODWire nearly 15,000), their reach is still greater than any of the Facebook Groups. Since Optcomlist and ODWire collect sponsorship or advertising revenue, their business models are robust and their survival is unquestioned.  While Facebook may limit the kind of advertising and sponsorship revenue, it is relatively easy to participate and that’s the key differentiation between the two kinds of media channels.

I think supporting all channels is helpful to the profession. Let’s all contribute to as many channels as we can.

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of Dr. Hom and not medical, legal or financial advice. It is designed for entertainment or education. He is also a licensed life, health and disability agent in California, License # 0I18299.

© Copyright 2013 Richard Hom OD MPA aka “Tips4EyeDocs”

There are no disclosures for this post.