one RDA, one DA and me (office manager). Recently, we had to
let our receptionist go due to lack of teamwork. We were in the
process of looking for another receptionist, when the doctor saw
how well I was doing with both jobs. He figured why hire anyone
else. Now I am stuck with both jobs and feel obligated to do them
since he gave a raise, “which I may add, I deserved anyway”.
What do you think I should do or say?
Let us begin by remembering that you are part of a business
and the object of business is to make money. Cutting overhead
expenses is one of the ways to ensure profitability. Profitability
is the central concern of the owner of the business and this is
As the office manager, your responsibilities involve keeping the
staff machine running efficiently. As a good leader, you would be
expected to be able to handle everyone's job. It is not surprising
that your ability to handle two jobs would draw the attention of
the owner of the business; however, there is another element to
consider before addressing your personal feelings.
is the volume of production which delegates the requirements for
hiring employees. Is your practice so unproductive that
one person can do two jobs? If your practice is not busy as it should
be, then it is only natural for the doctor to want to save overhead.
His solution is shortsighted; he should bring in a practice management
team to assess the reasons for poor revenues. This decision would
generate the funds necessary to return you to your former position
and pay for a new receptionist.
If the practice is profitable and productive, then the issue becomes
one of a matter of territory and prestige. If the new job description
does not suit your temperament, then I think a request to alter
your job description and a return to the former organizational chart
would be reasonable.
the doctor is trying to save money, he may also be shortsighted
in terms of the actual workload involved in his decision. You were
not specific about the workload. If the new workload is
not overwhelming, then your decision to go back to the former organization
chart would appear lazy. Even if you were to give back
the raise in return for your old position, you might still look
lazy and this is not an image that you want as a manager.
your request not merit a change, you will appear to be maneuvering
in your own self-interest. This is easily misunderstood by other
team members. The reason why this is easily misunderstood is that
the doctor has placed you into a staff position from a management
position. This can be observed as a step down and thus contaminates
your overall reputation and effectiveness as a leader within the
company. In addition, the desire to not have a staff position
makes you appear snobby.
With the issue of practice productivity discussed, I think another
aspect of your question hinges on the presence of resentment over
the doctor's decision. If you are resentful, then it will
affect your work. If you are not resentful but are inconvenienced,
perhaps you can alter things by re-delegating some of your responsibilities
to make the system work for you.
is important that you go to work every day feeling that the effort
you put out is adequately compensated and respected. Since he has
given you a raise, has your prestige and reputation been tarnished?
If so, then some kind of new arrangement would make sense, if you
are to avoid long-term resentment.
of resentment that go unexpressed will stress you and diminish whatever
pleasure you derive from your daily work. This is a very
serious matter. Most people trivialize their inability to express
how they feel. This is a big mistake in the long run.
If you are resentful then some kind of an adjustment must be made.
Long-term resentment will manifest as low-grade stress which
will wear away at your relationships with the team and the doctor.
Resolution of any resentment requires expression, usually direct
expression with the doctor. This is not a team problem.
summary, if there is no resentment and it is simply a matter of
workload, then, if business is poor, then your workload is not sufficiently
stressed and his decision to save on overhead would make sense;
however, if the business is building, expanding, and very busy,
then your workload is sufficiently taxed to the point where your
productivity will actually become diminished and in effect, it will
cost the doctor money.
A realistic assessment of the business and personnel issues is necessary
in order to know what to say in order to justify your own solution.
Remember, if the doctor can justify changing your job description,
you have to be able to justify changing it back.
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