They say its all about location, location, location. This is true not only for the real estate in the housing market but the real estate in the job market as well. With Diagnostic Medical Sonographer’s set to increase in numbers higher than any other occupation according to the BLS, with projections currently at 12% between 2019 and 2029, there will be plenty more folks asking this very question. And in 2020, more sonographers were laid off or furloughed or canceled or had some type of interruption of employment, again posing the need to answer this question. Enjoy and join the conversation about Jobs in Sonography in our S1 E2 episode of our new Podcast Sonographers Spill the Tea, available where ever you get your podcast, but for now, let’s give this convo a bit of context.
Permanent placement offers lots of great things for any employee, most notably is stability. Knowing exactly what you can make and understanding your benefits to best budget and plan your work-life balance is super important. Knowing that these factors are steady offers a sense of safety and security to our lives and careers. However, the cons that go along with that include workplace politics, complacency, feelings of burnout or hitting the ceiling, or even just plain boredom are all part of that permanent placement life and each individual is best served going over what works best for their own their mental health, their career goals, and family unit. Now there is also the alternative of Temporary placement, AKA, contract work or PRN. This career choice also comes with it’s own pearls and pitfalls.
Temporary placement requires a more open mind to change and offers a less stable atmosphere. However depending on your perception of these pros and cons, you may find they may not be a pro or a con at all and that’s 100% ok! You have to weigh these decisions based on how these factors best speak to YOUR situation. Folks choose a nomadic career or life for a multitude of reasons, much like when choosing where to go perm. Some reasons to work temporarily are for adventure and freedom, while others may be more financially motivated or just ready for a change. If you’ve heard you can make “more” money as a traveler, then you heard right! Because temps often duplicate expenses, they are entitled to tax-free stipends making their take home higher because they’re paying less in taxes on their income. However, you have to QUALIFY for these stipends by having a “tax home” and you must plan for when you will not be working, as there is no PTO. The lack of stability in a temp career often means the healthcare provider must plan for moments where there will be no work or “in between assignments.” Even if you can get another job nearby or extend at a facility, you don’t want to stay in the same area too long or you’ll risk creating a new tax home region, so make sure if you’re traveling, that you are actually traveling which that takes time and money to do. You also want to consider your health insurance, your mode of transportation, your housing, and if you have a family what the implications are for them. Will you spouse work, travel with you, or stay behind? What about kids or pets? If they’re grade school children, how will you address their education if they come with you or stay back in the region of your tax home? And what about the Roro?? In 2021 we have new things to consider when it comes to the risk vs benefit of your career choice.
Rule of thumb to start traveling is you should have at least 2 years of clinical bedside experience first before you go crashing another department or office to rock their protocols, policies, and procedures. You want to have the confidence that you can adjust to different physicians, teams, and expectations. Both career choices are great and let me be clear, neither one you have to choose forever. You can swap for a time and go back. Nothing is forever and if you feel unfulfilled in your job, then perhaps there is an avenue to explore change! We’ve all adapted so much over the last 12 months, we’ve adapted to adapting lol, so make sure to make changes that have your best interest in mind. You are allowed to choose YOU when it comes to your decisions and life, even while we consider others so our choices are not rooted in self-centeredness. Remember though, choosing yourself and wellbeing in NOT selfish, it’s selfless.
So weigh out your pearls and pitfalls of that temp vs perm placement life and know neither choice has to be forever. Your patients will be best served when you have made a reckoning with yourself as a healthcare provider. Take care of yourself so you can be best equipped to take care of others.
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