When looking for a job, we often focused on a few major factors: monetary compensation, location, and benefits.
And although a fat paycheck and dental can go a long way, they do very little to make our day to day work life enjoyable.
Have you ever realized immediately upon starting a new job that you’ve made a terrible choice?
You were so excited when you accepted the new ophthalmic technician here! How did this happen?!
When looking for a new job, remember that you are interviewing an employer just as much as they’re interviewing you, so don’t hesitate to be inquisitive, and make sure to take note of red flags that may be signs of a bad work environment. Here are a few things you should keep an eye out for that can be indicators of a good, and awful, office workplace.
Do people look happy?
I can remember going into an office for an interview where the front desk receptionists looked beyond miserable. I found out later, that they, and the rest of the staff, were in constant fear of getting yelled at by an absolutely insufferable office manager/doctor.
This seems obvious, but when we’re at an interview, we’re often too distracted by our own appearance, or nerves, to look at other people. Ask the front desk how they’re doing, and really listen to the answer.
You may be thinking, “What if the person I speak to is just a miserable person in general, and the job really isn’t that bad?”
Well, remember that you’re going to have to work with that miserable person; the two are not mutually exclusive.
Does the doctor or manager speak highly of the other employees?
Have you ever seen a manager roll their eyes when they needed to step in and help one of their own employees?
You can practically hear them saying “Where would you be without me? You stupid, stupid underling.”
Do you think it ever occurs to that manager that they hired-- and then trained-- that person and the ‘incompetence’ of said employee is a direct reflection of their own? Probably not, but it shouldn’t be lost on you.
You want to work in a place with people who are respected by their superiors. Ideally, what you would hear would be an employer looking to add another excellent member to their team, not fill a bunch of gaps in efficiency or make up for shortcomings.
If you wanted to become increasingly certified, would they help you?
I once had a doctor tell me that I didn’t need to go for my next level of certification because they “weren’t that kind of office.” What he meant was, I think, that they were private practice, and didn’t mandate the education of their staff members and also, they were not going to pay for me to get certified.
What I heard was “It’s totally fine to do the bare minimum.”
Great work environments support the education of their employees. They should encourage you to become certified or increase your level of certification.
If they don’t value educated workers enough to contribute to your certification or offer guaranteed pay increases with additional certification, don’t bother.
How do they expect you to manage your time?
Despite my love of velvet capes and rabbits, I am not a magician. I can’t make more hours in my day, or split myself in half to do two jobs.
It was once suggested to me that I should bring charts home to prep them, so I would more time during the day to do other tasks “because that’s what the last girl did”. I had to have a conversation about time management… and HIPPA.
A lot of an ophthalmic technician’s job can be non-clinic related. Does your work schedule allow for extra time for activities like refilling electronic prescriptions, writing letters, ordering supplies, and cleaning exam rooms, or does your employer expect you to do all those things while simultaneously seeing patients? Those kinds of expectations can show a disconnect between management and workers.
Who’s the boss?
Thanks to a parade of terribly run offices, I have a rule to never work for a doctor who is also the office manager.
There can be many excuses as to why that happens, but the fact is, those are two full-time jobs, and I guarantee eventually something is going to suffer, and it’ll probably be your happiness. Of course, the opposite can be true.
How many managers are there? Although it’s important that someone other than the doctor to go to for guidance, a glut of administration can mean excessive measuring of efficiency and constant criticism. You should have more co-workers than bosses. Look for a work environment that thinks highly enough of the staff not to micromanage you to death.
Appreciate the small stuff.
I’ve been told that benefits should account for 30% of your salary, and although that’s a great looking number, not everything I love about my job comes with a dollar figure attached.
Some things take time appreciate, like an office manager who brings in your favorite cake on your birthday or random bagels in the break room, but keep those things in mind when considering leaving for a different position.
- Don’t disregard the little things that make everyday work better.
- Do they have a dedicated workstation for you?
- What about a space for breaks and lunch?
I once worked for a place that told me they had a ‘kitchen’ which turned out to be a mini fridge in a supply closet. An employer who doesn’t even value their workers enough to give them a space to relax during lunch isn’t putting thought into caring for their workers.