Why Shouldn't the Doctor Let You Go?
Attn: Dental employees, what have you done for your doctor lately? Some of you will read that question and say to yourself, “Well, I showed up for work today, lucky for him.” Others may quietly think to themselves, “I haven’t complained about a single thing … for at least an entire hour, even though the coffee is cold, and I really do not want to be here today.” And still others, will beam with pride and say to themselves, “I have done and will continue to do whatever she asks of me.”
I can assure you that even if your response was in line with the third one above, you’re not doing enough, particularly in the current economy. At this writing, the unemployment rate is 10%, and if you are fortunate enough to have a job, you want to do all you can to keep it. Now, more than ever, it’s time for you to take a good close look at yourself and what you are doing to help the dental practice you work in to not merely survive, but thrive - yes, even in these times. Ask yourself, if the doctor had to let someone go, why wouldn’t it be you?
Are you a whiner? There’s always some problem, some complaint, some annoyance on the tip of your tongue that you feel you simply must share with the doctor. “So and so didn’t do this. Such and such did that. I’m not making enough money to put up with this stuff. Why can’t I have this? Why does she get that?” There are few things worse than the high maintenance office whiner whose laundry list of gripes rivals Tiger’s extra-marital trysts. Certainly, the dentist may feel obligated to listen to your grievances and complaints, but today’s do-more-with-less dental practice needs low maintenance, positive, and proactive staff.
Do you mix well or merely stir the pot? Gossip, backstabbing, and silly rivalries are best left on the playground. Don’t bring them into the practice. Regardless of your education, your experience, or your perceived social standing, you can torpedo your professional success in an instant with poor judgment, inappropriate actions, comments, and behaviors toward coworkers and patients. You must be able to play well with others. If not, you are a huge obstacle in the doctor’s ability to accomplish his/her mission. And if tough decisions have to be made about who stays and who goes and you’re the practice pot-stirrer, why wouldn’t you be on the short list for a pink slip?
Do your promises go unfulfilled? You tell your teammates that you’ll take care of this or that, but time and again, it doesn’t get done. You promise the doctor that you will call the pharmacy for a patient. But you got busy, time got away from you, and so did that little task. You assure the hygienist you will confirm Mr. Jones’ appointment because he tends to forget frequently - unfortunately, so do you. You pledge to be on time for the staff meeting in the morning, but oops the alarm didn’t go off or the dog threw up on the carpet or you had to stop for coffee so as to be coherent enough to drive from point A to point B. The team is tired of your excuses. The doctor has let you slide long enough. The economy is the excuse the practice has been waiting for to show you to the door … finally.
Does your personal life take precedence over everything else? Certainly, most everyone has a life outside of work, but when it routinely encroaches on your professional responsibilities, you’re setting yourself up for poor performance. Your personal life is precisely that: personal. Your coworkers do not want to know all the details. Trust me. Limit your personal calls, emails, and text messages. If your 12 year-old is to text you when he gets home from school that’s one thing, but if you’re spending the next 30 minutes “thumbing” back and forth about his day, you’re taking advantage of the situation. And while we’re talking technology, remember the office phones, computer systems, copiers, etc. are there to help you carry out the responsibilities of the workplace, not run your side business.
Next week, steps each team member can take to ensure you keep your job during lean economic times.
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