How to discuss work/life balance with your employer

August 2, 2022
Having the right work/life balance can be important to you as you seek a new position. AOAExcel spoke to an experienced OD on the best way to approach the topic.
Man sitting on scale with Work on one side and Life on the other

For doctors of optometry, work/life balance can mean different things.  What might be important to an experienced OD heading towards retirement can be completely different from an OD just starting their career.  If having a good work/life balance is one of your primary objectives, it’s something you may want to bring up while searching for a position.

What’s the best way to approach this subject with a potential employer during the interview process?  We spoke with AOA Secretary-Treasurer Jacquie Bowen, O.D. for her thoughts on this topic. As a former practice owner, she offers the perspective from both sides of the fence.

For job seekers, she suggests that you tell a potential employer what is important to you and ask how to accomplish it. Dr. Bowen explains, “For instance, if you belong to a running club, explain how that helps you to be a better doctor and how it can also help build the practice. You can suggest that you’d like to see patients a little later on club mornings.”

She adds that you should also clarify very specifically about your expectations outside of the exam room. “Ask for regular evaluations and feedback about what you can do better. It could potentially help your work/life balance, plus I promise it will make you stand out among other candidates!”

Your interests outside of the workplace can also be used as a selling point when seeking a position. “Make sure you tell your potential employer what you can offer beyond clinical skills” Dr. Bowen advises. “Every OD can do an eye exam. How can you demonstrate that you have special interests and commitments that will help grow your patient base?”

In conclusion, Dr. Bowen emphasizes that OD’s work and home life don’t have to be at the opposite sides of the scale. She says, “The two sides should complement and enhance each other — one would not be as good without the other. It’s a subtle difference but the change in perspective changes how you feel”.

Finding the right mix of work/life balance is determined by many moving parts but finding the right balance for your lifestyle can be beneficial for your home life and professional career.

Visit the AOAExcel Career Center to find a position that fits your idea of a work/life balance.

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