Gig Jobs: Know the Ups and Downs

Working in the gig economy as a dental professional has its ups and downs. Be prepared to ride the wave with an understanding of the ebb and flow of the demand for a dental professional in your local market. It can be very rewarding, but on the flip side, it can be very stressful, especially if you count on a stable income each week. You’ll want to go in to it with your eyes wide open and a plan B in your back pocket.
What are the ups and downs gigging in the dental industry?

The Ups

Flexibility – The up side that rings true with everyone who temps is setting your own schedule. Taking long weekends, attending field trips with your children, going on vacation when you want, scheduling doctor appointments, running errands and being a care giver are all possible when you are temping. You make the decisions when you are off work, not an employer.

Stimulating – Working in a variety of dental businesses is refreshing and stimulating. You meet new people, experience different technology and systems, not to mention learning your way around town, venturing into areas you would never have explored otherwise. Working in the gig economy is exciting as you’re not driving the same road and working the same schedule with the same group of people day in and day out. Each day can be refreshing and new!

Sharpening Skills – When you go out on gig jobs, you gain knowledge. You’re fine-tuning your skills and exposed to new ways of doing things, different technology, systems, products and equipment. You sharpen your flexibility skills and become someone that offices can count on when they need help. Being reliable in addition to flexible and outgoing are desirable traits by employers. You’ll have one stellar resume!

Passion – Know what’s important to you and what work makes you happy and gig in those jobs. For example, if you are a dental assistant with some oral surgery assisting experience and found oral surgery to be your passion, then gig in the oral surgery market. If you’re a hygienist and love working in Perio, then you would gig in periodontal offices. Follow your passion and your gig jobs will be that much more rewarding.

The Downs

Inconsistent Work – Having enough work to keep a steady paycheck is not always easy. You are at the mercy of the demand of your market. Some weeks you could have a job every day, and some weeks you could go through a dry spell where you’re not getting any work. Keep in mind, too, you may land a gig and then have to wait two weeks to be paid. You’ll want to be prepared to ride this time period out while waiting to be paid.

No Structure – Working gigs takes discipline, organizational skills and commitment, along with keeping good records. You will take the jobs that come your way and they may be hours you would not normally work like 10 a.m to 7 p.m. If you are not motivated to work and have the discipline to keep commitments, or show up on time and keep a daily detailed schedule, gig work is not for you.

No Benefits – You would be responsible for your own health benefits and retirement. Know going in what income you need weekly/monthly to meet your living expenses, to pay for health care and to save for retirement.

Working the gig economy in the dental industry is not for everyone. It can be extremely rewarding if you go in with your eyes open, knowing the risks and having a backup plan.

Read more about The Gig Economy.

Kim Knapp
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Kim Knapp

With more than 25 years of clinical and admin experience in the dental field, I serve the employment needs of dental professionals and practices as President of Dental Temps Professional Services, as an HR Consultant for Bent Ericksen & Assoc. and as a speaker. I’m also a mom, a runner, and an artist, married to my best friend.
Kim Knapp
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About Kim Knapp

With more than 25 years of clinical and admin experience in the dental field, I serve the employment needs of dental professionals and practices as President of Dental Temps Professional Services, as an HR Consultant for Bent Ericksen & Assoc. and as a speaker. I’m also a mom, a runner, and an artist, married to my best friend.