First-generation professionals are people who are the first of their families to enter a professional setting. These professionals hold an OD degree and are ready to climb up the ladder in optometry.
These first-gen ODs are hungry for success. 1st generation ODs are open minded and looking to get their name out there. Employers ensure these professionals grow and succeed throughout their time at the organization. Corporate Optometry offers professional development programs that many young ODs take advantage of. First-generations often took advantage of mentoring and professional networking opportunities. First generation ODs brought more diverse backgrounds and ideas to the profession.
Recent study found that 1st Generation ODs choose Corporate optometry for their career pathway.
The survey was taken in the Corporate Optometry Facebook Group. 113 ODs completed the survey. 92% of the ODs reported they were first generation ODs.
Understand Their Journey
First-generation ODs chose optometry because of their interest in the profession. Once ODs complete their education requirements, the difference between 1st and 2nd generation ODs become transparent. 1st generation ODs tend to have experience in the work force and connections in their local community compared to 2nd generation ODs. When looking for a job or looking for a practice to purchase 2nd generation ODs tend to have an upper hand. 1st generation ODs might lean to corporate optometry to the ease of employment and ability to fast track to practice ownership through sublease. Furthermore, 1st generation might have more student loan debt compared to 2nd generation ODs if their parents help with tuition because they are typically making higher income.
Private Practice vs Corporate Optometry
Typically 2nd generation ODs have been exposed to private practice over their lifetime and have predisposed notices on corporate optometry. Corporate optometry has evolved over the last 15 years and will continue to evolve as it competes to attract ODs. 2nd generation ODs might have more mentoring support from their family members and chances to inherit or purchase their family’s practice and other private practices because of their family’s association in their community. 1st generation ODs might have more hurdles and barriers when it comes to practice purchases. It is yet to be determined how private equity will change 2nd generation OD career trajectory. Possibly the shift from 2nd generation private practitioners will shift to more ODs looking towards leadership positions in the industry.
There are some disparities in our industry between 1st and 2nd generation ODs. Some might be regional or certain sectors in the industry, but a majority of it is not having a mentor or family member to guide you at the beginning of your careers. Corporate optometry tends to attract 1st generation ODs because of ease of employment, accelerated rate to practice ownership (sublease) and wide network to support these ODs with mentorship programs, leadership positions and professional development. As long as you put in the effort, your first-generation professionals will surely succeed.