No Jobs (coping with the fact)

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-14-2013
No Jobs (coping with the fact)
Mon, 05-26-2014 - 10:25pm

I'm a healthcare support assistant, i.e. receptionist, and am currently working for an optometrist. I've been with this optometrist for nearly 8 months now. I get paid a decent wage $13/HR and my employer covers my medical insurance at 100%. (I pay for dental and receive vision dicounts.) I don't receive any other benefits such as PTO (paid time off) sick days, vacation time, and retirement (401K). I landed this job after I left coroporate dentistry and had been unemployed for 9 months so I was happy to be employed again. However, I crave more benefits and a more normal work schedule (I work Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM - 8 PM, Fridays from 10 AM - 6 PM, Saturdays from 9 AM - 4 PM and am off Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays). Not to mention, the optometrist I'm currently working for is experiencing some financial woes. If he's not breaking even, he's in the red. He hasn't taken a salary for quite some time. In fact, his son is about to join the practice and he's worrying about how he's going to pay his son. The fact he has a lot of financial woes doesn't sit well for me. It's the main reason why I want to bail for another job.

I've been aggressively looking for another job, but there just aren't any other jobs to apply to. I haven't been on an interview for about 2½ months now.

I'm quite frustrated at the fact jobs have dried up.

I've worked in the healthcare field as a receptionist for 9 years and have worked extremely hard to get to where I am. I started out part-time, minimum wage. I'm a very qualified person and have no doubts I can move on to something better provided the jobs were there.

Is anyone else out there wishing to make a career move and frustrated at the fact jobs have seemingly dried up? If so, how have you been coping with it?

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 05-26-2014 - 11:57pm

You are a receptionist, which is not a skilled position.  You are working in the healthcare industry, which is predominatly small business, owner/operator, with few employees.  Unless you are working for a LARGE corporation, there are no benefits, and today, even some of them are cutting back on benefits.

Hours for a healthcare provider revolve around when the patients are available, which means nights and weekends.    Most employees today do not have the luxury of taking off work in the middle of the day for dr appointments--and honestly, few ever did.  Providers do not have the luxury of working  9-5 hours, which, if you have worked in healthcare for 9 years, you should realize.  Your complaints are unrealistic.

Unemployment is still high.  Employers have the ability to offer less, and still have a lot of potential employees to choose from, especially when looking for unskilled labor.  You have ONLY worked for this employer for 8 months, and were unemployed for 9 months prior to that, and appear to be looking for benefits that few employers offer.  This all makes you less than an ideal candidate. Employeers will assume you will continually be job-shopping, and are not interested in team building, and the long haul. 

Stay where you are till the job disappears, IF that happens.  A little more stick-to-it, and a more realisitic outlook will help your search.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-14-2013
Tue, 05-27-2014 - 1:47am

I somewhat diasgree with the comment that being a receptionist isn't a skilled position. Most of the ads I see now reflect the fact employers want a skilled receptionist, a receptionist with experience especially one who has a good grasp of EHRs (electronic health records) and many of them are really specific in their ads as to what EHR they want the applicants to have a working knowledge of. While some positions are low paying, between $9 and $11 an hour, most practitioners have no problems paying $12 an hour or more to the right candidates which tells me they definitely want skilled individuals otherwise they wouldn't be paying a person that much money.

As for a lack of benefits, I've found that many well-off practitioners have no problems offering benefits. Surgeons, Dermatologists and Chiropractors are all actually quite generous when it comes to offering benefits tot heir full-time employers. They offer everything from PTO (paid time off) to sick days to vacation time and retirement (401K). I've even found other specialists like Gastroenterologists and Ophthalmologists are also willing to do the same. Competative pay and benefits is becoming a more common phrase in job ads.

That said, the practitioner I currently work for wanted me to take on a project for him. He was thinking of re-evaluating his hours of operation so he had me check other optometry and ophthalmology offices within a 5 or so mile radius to see when their hours of operation were so he could close earlier during the week and on the weekend if other offices weren't staying open as late as he was. My research uncovered that very few poffices are open as late as he is. Most practices are close between 5 and 6:30 PM during the week, between 3 and 5 PM on Friday, and between noon (12 PM) and 3 PM on Saturdays. I've never worked at an office that went so late at night nor have I worked weekends. I was always off by 5 PM at the latest and I never worked longer than 9 hours in one day. From what I've been able to gather and from past jobs I've had, this guy is somewhat of an anomology when it comes to these hours of operation.

That said Sabrtooth, you either don't know the industry like you think you do or things are different with practitioners where you live.

On the contrary, I realize I need some good job stability in my life right now, which is why I told the optometrist I wanted somewhere I could be long-term. It worked to my advantage because he also wanted someowne who was willing to stay put for awhile so we ended up being on the same page.

For the record, I have every intention of staying put. I can't afford to be unemployed and this is the best I've ever had it in terms of pay.  Not to mention, he pays 100% of my medical insurance. It takes a great burden off my shoulder given how expensive it's become thanks to Obamacare. I also realize the longer I stay employed with this optometrist, the greater my chances of moving on and moving on to something better.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-14-2013
Tue, 05-27-2014 - 2:04am

My only real concern with continuing to stay with this optometrist is that he has a lot of financial woes going on. He isn't taking a salary, is worried about how to pay his son, is having trouble making payroll, and is throwing his money away on really stupid things. His office is disorganized, mismanged and dysfunctional. I've never worked or have been a patient in such a disorganized, mismanaged and dysfunctional office as this. Nor have I worked or been a patient in an office that sees this many complaints from patients. The complaints are non-stop every single day of operation. Most are regarding customer service and how it takes a back seat and doesn't mean much to the doctor. I keep finding myself apologizing a lot, way too much if you ask me. This isn't a very good working environment for me to be in nor anyone one else for that matter. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was walking into to when I accepted the job offer. And as for the woman I ended up replacing, he says she quit. However, there's evidence that she was fired and he's not telling the whole story especially when unemplpyment ended up calling him. While I want out and in the worst way possible, I also realize I need this job and can't afford to walk away.

I just keep hoping and praying the job situation turns around... and soon.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Tue, 05-27-2014 - 11:49am

You mention a career move, but what have you done to prepare yourself for that?  Do you have any formal education, certifications, etc.?  Have you seen jobs for which you are not qualified due to lack of education (but not lack of skills)?  Do you eventually want to become an office manager in the healthcare field?  Seems like you've had the same type of job for many years, and the reason why there aren't as many of these types of jobs available could be because small offices want people who can multitask and do more.  Do you do any kind of medical billing in the position you have now, or do you just do scheduling? 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Tue, 05-27-2014 - 2:23pm

I am in the Chicago area.  I was a Registered Dental Hygienist for 20 years, until I retired 8 months ago, and worked in group health insurance for 20 years before that.  I know precisely what an EHR is, and what a receptionist does, as opposed to what an insurance coder and biller, or an office manager does.  I was working 10-7 weekdays, and 8-2 Saturdays when I retired.  I also am well aware of what hours my friends in the industry are working, as well as the hours my own doctors, dentist, optometrist, etc are working.  I am well aware of the benefits that a small business owner is able to offer.  I doubt there has been a sea change in the last 8 months. 

As Itchick mentioned, you would be far better served by using the days you have off, to obtain an education.  Even starting with just getting certificates in various expanded office functions, would make you more "saleable".

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Thu, 05-29-2014 - 6:44am

What I know to be true:

1)You are always more employable when employed.

You've been working your current position for less than a year. Try to stick it out at least 12 months before relaunching your job search. Potential employers are right to be wary of someone who is "job shopping" with just a few months at their current position. They'll assume if you'll jump ship on your current employer after a few months, you'll do the same thing to them. (It costs money to hire and train new staff.)

2)Attitude is everything at your current job and for any job for which you apply. You come off as ungrateful and disgruntled about your current position. That telegraphs in your job hunt. Work on doing your current job with excellence and enthusiasm and you'll discover a new level of satisfaction in your work. The reality is ALOT of people don't have a M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, every weekend off, and a "full" benefit package. Potential employers want positive people on their team. Grumpy attitudes spell trouble: would you hire yourself? For the record, I will not hire anyone who presents a negative attitude. I don't want them poisoning my team.

3)Think transferable skills vs. "job title." Too many people spend their job hunt looking for a specific  job title, i.e. "medical receptionist" vs. a job that fits their skills. You are more than your job title. Spend some time learning how to identify your transferable skills and look beyond your current job title for new and different opportunities. Yes, it's a challenge to explain how you may be valuable to another employer in a different field but it's more than possible. 

4)Never stop learning. This is the best advice I ever got and it came from my father who barely graduated from h.s. Show your current employer you're willing to expand your skills either through online courses, community college classes, or other ways to make yourself more valuable to him. This may be computer classes, a course in time management or even a certificate in an area which would add value to your skill set and your employability.

Finally, I think you need to recognize your current employer is offering you the most affordable compensation package he can for the size and scope of his practice. He's mandated by law to provide health insurance and the fact he's paying 100% of it tells me he values the position you currently occupy. (I haven't had 100% employer sponsored health insurance since 1986. It's a very, very rare employer who will pick up the whole tab for their employee.) The tradeoff is he can't afford to give you PTO or a 401K. If you think you are worthy of such benefits, see my points above. Your employer is also paying payroll taxes on your behalf, malpractice insurance (which is VERY expensive), and has to cover overhead such as rent/mortgage on his office, property taxes, city code fees, and many, many other expenses you may not be privy to know about. So don't bash your current employer. He's a small business struggling to make it just like you.

If you believe you are truly worth more and should have better benefits - do what it takes to make yourself more attractive to another employer (again, see above comments) and look higher up the food chain. As long as you "settle" for what you have now but expect to be paid more, you'll continue to be frustrated.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-18-2014
Fri, 07-18-2014 - 7:06am

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