Landing Your First Job
So, you’ve finally finished your training and are looking for your first job – this should be the easy part, right? Unfortunately, many trainees feel inadequately prepared to handle their first job search. Keep reading for the top 8 things to consider when trying to land your first real job:
1. Promotion opportunities
Whether it’s becoming a partner in a private practice or moving up the academic food chain, you should inquire as to your opportunities to advance your career. If a private practice is offering a partnership track, find out how long the track is (ranges from 1-7 years depending on the group), how much the buy-in is, and time to amortization.
Is your compensation a straight salary, a salary with a bonus structure, or purely productivity based? Often jobs will have you start with a salary plus bonus structure and then move to strict productivity once your practice is more established. If there is a bonus, understand how it is calculated and the likelihood of achieving it.
3. Private Equity
The medical landscape today is rife with private equity groups purchasing private practices. There are pros and cons to this. In a recent survey of retina fellows, most were actively avoiding job opportunities at practices owned by private equity. Be aware of this when you are looking for jobs. Ask your potential employer if they are considering a sale to private equity (though take their response with a grain of salt).
4. Support staff
Are the technicians good? Will you have a scribe? Will you have significant help in administrative tasks? These are very important contributors to your quality of life at work. A recent study found clinic workflow to be an important factor in happiness at work and found the burden of administrative tasks associated with higher rates of physician burnout.
Read your contract closely for the non-compete radius and duration and determine if that is something you can live with. A ‘reasonable’ radius depends on your location. If you’re practicing in Manhattan, a 15 mile radius may exclude you from practicing anywhere in New York City. However, if you live in rural Montana, it’s unlikely to affect your future employment opportunities.
Refer to your attorney for state specific non-compete laws. Do you have satellite offices? Make sure you know if the non-compete applies to those offices as well.
Malpractice insurance covers you for any claims against you while you are employed at that group. Tail insurance needs to be purchased to protect you from claims filed after your employment ends. It is standard for employers to purchase malpractice insurance while you are employed with them. Read your contract closely to see if tail coverage is included, and if not, see if you can negotiate for this.
7. Former employees
Ask if other physicians have left the group recently and if so, find out why. Even better, try to speak with them yourself to get both sides of the story. I have managed to avoid some malignant groups with this tip.
8. Contract review
Find a lawyer who specializes in ophthalmology employment agreements to review your contract. They often are the best resource for what is ‘standard’ in the industry. Make sure to inquire about discounted pricing for fellows or recent grads.
Hopefully, my years of experience and mistakes will help you in your job search. Good luck!
Sabherwal N MD, Dajani O MD, Chaturvedi V MD. Are Graduating Vitreoretinal Surgeons Avoiding Private Equity Jobs? Presented at the 2021 American Society of Retina Specialists
Marcela G. del Carmen, MD, MPH1,2; John Herman, MD3; Sandhya Rao, MD4,5; et al. Trends and Factors Associated With Physician Burnout at a Multispecialty Academic Faculty Practice Organization. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(3):e190554. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.0554Marcela G. del Carmen, MD, MPH1,2; John Herman, MD3; Sandhya Rao, MD4,5; et al. Trends and Factors Associated With Physician Burnout at a Multispecialty Academic Faculty Practice Organization. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(3):e190554. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.0554