I keep hearing this type of comment: “I don’t understand you. I’ve read your blog when you were in private practice versus now. I don’t think you know what you want out of life.”
They seem to be saying that I’m a flip flopper and must be some unhappy individual who is lost. You can’t discredit me because I’ve experienced three major forms of practice. Someone who has experienced government, private, and various flavors of commercial is not a lost soul, but rather he is an experienced voice.
I implore all students and new O.D.s to listen to my words. If you would like the security of government work and don’t mind living in remote locations, then by all means be a government optometrist. If you want to be able to live in more populated areas, than choose commercial practice over private and choose Wal-Mart over all other commercial options.
In my previous posts advocating private practice and demonizing commercial, I had been drinking the private practice cool-aid that I’d been served since optometry school. Some of the disparaging remarks against commercial hold true for many brands of opticals, but not Wal-Mart.
Private practice is too risky. Sure, you know or have at least heard about successful private practice businesses, but you can’t assume that things would go well for you if you were to hang up a shingle. The money it takes now days to start cold could be better invested in Vegas. It’s a crapshoot, heavy on the crap because the frame vendors, the lens suppliers, ophthalmic equipment companies, the financing company, the advertising people, the landlords, the employees and more all get their money from you. But when do you get paid? Paying all of those people doesn’t automatically bring patients in the door. And when will you actually get enough patients to break even? That could be never, you know. You may just have to close shop when the money dries up, like I did.
Wal-Mart makes it risk free. There will always be patients coming to your door. Your success is only limited by the number of hours you are willing to work. That’s why if you want to be rich, make and sell widgets. If you want to do eyecare, work for the government or Wal-Mart, depending on where you want to live.
Anyway, just because I’m giving advice from my experience doesn’t mean I’m somehow lost or unhappy. I have family, religion, and a great job inside a Wal-Mart Vision Center. Of course I’m happy.Tags: commercial, optometrist, optometry school, private practice, Wal-Mart