Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Summer 2020 - 75

Practice Management

Corners of the PCSO

Thoughts on Transitions

Dr. Michelle Mian
Los Angeles, CA

We all tread together in uncertain waters as the
COVID-19 pandemic unfolds around us. I find
myself anxious for what the coming days, weeks,
and months will bring. A career transition may be
the last thing on your mind, but it is something
that nearly all of us will face at some point. As we
shelter at home, waiting to resume our lives and
routines, I wanted to share the story of how I approached a recent job transition. For those of you
considering a move or new opportunity, I hope it
will remind you (and me!) that there is light at the
end of the tunnel.
Four years ago, I moved from Boston to Los Angeles, seeking a change of scenery and a fresh start.
Uprooting your life to move cross-country can be
daunting. Add in the stress of finding a job in a
competitive field in a saturated market, and it can
be easy to feel overwhelmed.
Facing the prospect of relocation, I found myself
wondering, "Where do I even begin?" I started by
casting a wide net for my job search. I scoured the
internet for job listings and reached out to friends
and my alumni network. The market in Southern California seemed saturated, and my initial
searches were discouraging.
I persisted in my search, and after a phone interview and a few cross-country flights, I landed
an offer at a reputable practice, working three
to four days per month. This wasn't quite a full
work schedule, but I reasoned that the only way
to make inroads with other job opportunities
was to have boots on the ground in California.
I decided to take the plunge. I carted 10 bags to
the airport, boarded my flight, and a few hours
later, I found myself walking along the beach in
Santa Monica.
The next several months were a whirlwind. As I
scoured the internet for jobs, I also put my finger
on the pulse of the local orthodontics community.
I met with several friends and alumni from dental
school and residency, knocked on local ortho-

Summer 2020    PCSO Bulletin	

dontists' doors, and joined a local study club. I
explored opening my own practice or partnering
with another alum. Company representatives
were a great resource for guidance in purchasing
brackets, pliers, and other supplies.
Very slowly, opportunities began to pop up. A
friend in the area began to expand her practice
and reached out. A company rep connected me
with another dental school alum looking for help.
And I kept an eye on online job boards, finding
relevant postings from time to time. Eventually,
I ended up working a five- to six-day-per-week
schedule at several different practices.
One exercise that I found helpful during this process was to write down where I saw myself in 10
years. Try it for yourself! The more detail, the better. What kind of practice do you envision? Is it as
part of a general office? Pedo-ortho? Solo ortho?
Are you the only orthodontic practitioner? If not,
do you share patients? Do you have an income
goal, and are you willing to compromise a bit for
a better work-life balance or a shorter commute?
These preferences will of course evolve over time,
but putting them to paper can sometimes help
clarify the decisions in front of you.
In a busy and competitive market like Los Angeles,
you may have to work from several offices during
a given week. Such an arrangement can divide
your attention and tax your sanity. Crafting (and
revising!) a list of your priorities and goals can be
crucial to finding a fulfilling work environment.
For me, it took countless conversations with
colleagues and plenty of growing pains, but I was
fortunate to build a complement of wonderful
practice opportunities.
As we face an unprecedented pandemic together, I carry with me two lessons from my move
four years ago that continue to serve me: (1) stay
patient and (2) seek strength and support from
our professional community. We are all in this
together.

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Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Summer 2020

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