Monday, March 24, 2008

Ghost writer

Hi Everyone, Happy Easter.

As you may know how much time it takes to write this blog. I absolutely love doing it but it does take an exhorbanant amount of time. So I do not get burned out I have asked a friend to help me. He may fill in for me maybe one week out of five.
We are not going to tell you who he is to add an element of mystery and so he may speak frankly about his feelings.
He has a style that is very blunt. At this time in his writing career he is not funny. I have this ability to laugh at all the things that happen to me. This person does not think some of the things that happen to him are that funny.
I have had him write a couple of test blogs so I can evaluate his effectiveness. I liked them.
Here is his first blog. Please let him know what you think

Over the last few months my friend John has entertained many with his amusing stories. In many ways we are similar.

I don’t know that I’ll be as funny or as pleasant to read as John. I like his writing style and since I know him so well his words come to life when I read them.

John has a wonderful view of dentistry and he feels he is blessed to be doing what he does. I am glad I chose dentistry as a profession but my perspective will be much, much darker.
You see, I have a history of making bad decisions. Some of them have been very costly and have likely taken at least a decade off my life. I wish I could see the world with rose colored lenses but I do not. If anything I identify with Johnny Cash. Maybe I’m the man in black of dentistry.

My current frustration stems from the firm belief that what I do and have done is worthwhile and often unappreciated by society as a whole. More to the point I feel government intrudes on the small business owner at will, makes enormous demands of people like me, and seldom recognizes the value of what we do. It would be nice, just once, to get a thank you from “them”.

My office is small. In a small office the staff, or team members, become like family. They are involved and interested with each other’s lives. They care for each other and coexist week after week and year after year. On occasion I make the mistake to hire someone into our group that simply doesn’t fit in. This happened recently. This particular employee had a self-destructive personality. The kind of person who chain smokes and gets in tanning beds every other day. Not a day went by that I didn’t remind her of the obvious correlations between these habits and cancer rates.

We could get past this personality trait but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when she went into the purse of another employee and stole a prescription for Vicodin. She later went to the drug store and tried to get the prescription filled. The only way I discovered this had happened was that the drug store called the office to confirm I had written the prescription. The other employee whom I wrote it for had told me earlier in the day that she had done well over the weekend and had not needed Vicodin.

Long story short, I fired the thief and gave her three days severance pay.

Now I am dealing with the local unemployment office because she feels she was wrongly terminated. Forget that she stole from another employee and admitted to it. Forget that pretending to be someone else in order to obtain a narcotic is a felony.

They have been hounding me over the last 3 months and rather than accept my explanation they now want a telephone conference. You see, the labor laws are never to protect employers. The burden of proof is mine and not hers. This entire episode is an unnecessary nuisance that I can’t seem to shake

Worse than that is the shake down I’ve gotten from another devious government agency. They are known as the federal courts. This particular court wants me to suspend my life for two weeks and “volunteer” to be a juror on a case I care little about.

My initial contact was through mail. They had decided what weeks I would take off and join them unless I had a compelling excuse. Through email I let them know I was a dentist, in solo practice, with three mouths to feed beside my own, with 5 employees who would be sent home if I wasn’t treating patients, and that they would cause a disruption in patient care.

Through email they let me know that my request of waiver was denied. I was still to report to them during my two week window. If called on I would need to leave my life to be another faceless unhappy juror.

My buddy, a middle school history teacher, told me how enjoyable it had been for him. The school paid him the same and they replaced him over the two week span.

Somehow I see a difference in levels of responsibility and potential financial setbacks between myself and my buddy, another government employee.

Both the mid Florida federal court and the local unemployment office share the same total disregard for the small business owners. These are just the ones giving me fits right now. April 15th is around the corner so I know the IRS will want a piece of me. Sooner or later the government clones from the city, the county, the tag agency, tangible tax guy, property tax guy, the department of health, the department of health’s radiation bureau, the hazardous waste inspector, the osha and hipaa drones who I know will be wanting something at some point.

The reality is that were it not for the small businesses this country would be in shambles in a hurry. Statistics support my claim. It isn’t the IBMs, Coca Colas, or Microsofts that keep this monster afloat. It’s millions of little guys (and girls). Unfortunately, g-men everywhere could care less.

As of this writing I have not had my phone conversation with the “officer” at unemployment yet. That happens tomorrow at lunch. I have also been fortunate to evade the court for three days. They give you a number to call and then they have me dial in my specific court ID. Never an actual human on the other side. I get a voice that prompts me to call the next day after 12:30. So far so good.

Sooner or later I’ll get nailed and I’ll keep you posted on my fate.

It is not funny and funny at the same time. Good stuff.
I will talk to you on Wednesday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stories that are not "stories" but are real life! Now that's a blog!

Thanks for sharing. John has done a good thing here by giving you the keyboard and letting you have your say. I'm a Life Coach in Alabama who sees and hears a great deal of emotional pain and turmoil just from living your life and practicing dentistry.

I would like to share something of myself here, if you would allow me to. My core beliefs about professionals, especially dentists, and what they are to us 'civilians' out here is this: The experts who have the degrees and certification deserve all of the benefits of their chosen profession. They will also experience along with these benefits, headaches sometimes of their own choosing, sometimes not.

Dentistry is learned in isolation from the rest of the world; it is practiced in the world, a world that is frightening, over-regulated, and cruel. Dentists always (my belief) must practice their profession at the highest level of integrity, honor, and truth. Decisions about "what to do with a particular patient" must be guided by your integrity.

Your problems with the judicial system (jury duty) and the state employment system are regrettable. But not unsolvable. Have you asked for help from your district dental society or state dental association? Do they have a position or policy that is known in Tallahassee for getting these monkeys off your back?

This is advice giving and not coaching, I know. Coaching is future planning and goal setting for exactly what you want to happen next and 5 years down the road and a co-creative person to help you get there (and hold you accountable for what you say you want and will do to get it.)

Bluntness is good. I wish I had more of it and certainly as a coach I can, and do, use it from time to time. You make a good blogger. I look forward to your next discourse.


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