I think even the term “chaos” cannot accurately describe this past summer, in which I wrapped up my education and grad school experience while starting life as an employee all at the same time. Maybe “dichotomy” is more descriptive, but not in the “yin and yang” sense. It was more of a juxtaposition, or even irony. My life looked calm as still water on the surface, but if you looked closer, it felt more like Hurricane Sandy. Looking back on it I guess it could not be compared to anything more aggressive than high tide, but at the time I honestly didn’t know what my life would look like come fall.
I thought I would have so much extra time this summer, especially to just hang out with friends as if I were on a real break, because I only had two classes that met twice a week. What with finishing up research, driving to the city for class, studying and looking for jobs, I felt like I was drowning. I think the job search made it all the more stressful because I just did not know what job to pick, and what would be right for me. Yes, that is correct. I just said “what job to pick.” Meaning I had options. Here’s the thing- I read somewhere that for every graduating OT, there are 12 jobs. YAY! Awesome! If jobs also thrived via “survival of the fittest,” there would practically be not other jobs in the world other than OT by 2030. (No, that was not quoted in any article about jobs in healthcare.) However, this means that you really have to know what you are looking for, what comprises you are willing to make, and what else other than the job description are important to you. For example, is mentorship when you start important? What about the availability of CEUs?
Even after I accepted a job offer, I kept receiving phone calls/emails about other jobs, and I just did not know if I made the right decision, especially because some of the other jobs that don’t offer much mentorship or CEU opportunity paid really well, which is a big deal. In the end, however, I think I did a good job of looking at the bigger picture instead of only salary.
I knew that I wanted to work in a position where I would learn the most as a new graduate, meaning I would get enough mentorship to make sense of the everyday problem solving I had to go through with each patient as well as meaning I would have to work in a practice setting that I have always perceived as being difficult, ie acute care. I ‘m really happy with my choice- my manager has been great about making sure I feel comfortable at work and with different diagnoses, and I am learning so much regarding medical management.
Tips to remember when looking for a job:
- know if you want to work in a hospital, clinic, nursing home, school or staffing agency
- know what practice area you want to work in
- know what demographic you want to work with
- know how much mentorship you want
- know if you are to work weekends
- know if holidays are included in your time off (otherwise you will think you have a lot more days off than you actually do)
- compare the salary you are being offered with others’ by comparing norms for years of experience and practice setting using the 2010 Workforce Compensation Survey (you have to be a member to access this.)
I’ll be following up with posts sharing my actual experiences and the things I’ve learned :).