Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Show

Hey all,

In line with what I talked about on Wednesday, I am calling this blog "The Show."

Because, for me, when I work it is "The Show." I have this reputation of being happy and fun and outgoing all the time. Patients expect it, patients come in to see it, patients tell their friends about it. I think I am good at what I do but I don't know if patients really know about how good I am or care. What they do know is that I am nice. I am fun. I treat them well and they feel good well they leave here (they might have a droppy lip, but they feel good).

So what does that mean? It means when I leave my personal office and go to the clinical part of the office, it's on.

Like I was talking about on Wednesday, when the spouse calls in the middle of the day and the poop is hitting the fan at home, your stress has to end at the phone call. When you are having money trouble, you have to leave it at home. When you are having car trouble and it is going to cost an arm and a leg and it is an old car and you don't know weather to fix it or get a new car, but you don't know if you are ready to take on the payment of a new car, you have to leave it at home. Your kid just got accepted to MIT and you are so excited but you don't know where you are going to come up with the $51,000 for the nine month tuition and room and board. You have to leave it at home.

If you are just graduated and you have bought a practice and you are swimming in debt and you have two patients that day, you still have to perform. You have to go out there be the man (or the woman) and do it with this giant smile on your face.
What about if you are totally understaffed because you just had to let go of some of your staff because of the economic downturn, but then you have this one day that is crazy? Everyone working is being slammed. DO NOT LET YOUR PATIENTS SEE YOU SWEAT.
Smile and walk into the room. They don't want to hear about your hard day. They don't want to know that you squeezed them in a spot and you are rushed. They want your best. They demand your best.

How about when you are pissed at your assistant and you go into the room and have to sit next to her for an hour or so? Oh, I can remember hating an assistant one day. We would have these little tiffs from time to time, but this one was a full on fight. She was having a hormonal day or two (That sounds sexist doesn't it? I swear she would agree with me), and I probably wasn't being "sensitive to her needs" (and yes I am saying this with a tone), and we were going at it. We were cussing at each other in the hallway and it leaked into the room. Luckily it was a seven year old kid and he didn't know the "F" word yet. You have to leave it in the hallway.

You have a leak in your plumbing at the house. Your teenager is hanging around the wrong people. There is a huge sale at Macy's. Your spouse is a jerk. There is a huge sporting event that you are missing. Your sports team sucks this year (you know what I am talking about). It can get stressful.

Your practice is slow and you don't know what to do. Your 401k is half of what it usedo be. You check you stock market portfolio between patients (you know who you are), and the situation is bleak. The ADA didn't pick you as one of their speakers. You just don't feel real good about yourself.

I know this is tough to do but you have to LEAVE IT ALL BEHIND. You have to bring your "A" game. You can't afford not to. The next referral could be at stake.

To me, this is exhausting. It is exhausting being nice to people all day. Now don't get me wrong - I love people and I love what I do, but being in The Show can be tiring.

I think I am a pretty nice guy and I think I am a good husband and father. But I can tell you that the wife and kids get the brunt of my exhaustion. I have to admit that I am pretty nasty sometimes. It just gets to the point that I don't feel like putting on a show anymore. I do not have the capacity to be nice. My friend once said, "He was all out of nice."

My assistant says the same thing. When she gets home she tells her husband to just leave her alone for a while. On Fridays, I do like to go home, jump in the pool and have a beer because it puts me in my happy place.

I don't have any solutions. The Show can get exhausting but you know what they say. "The show must go on." (I had to say that.)

How is it with you? Are you able to handle The Show and still go home energized?
Are you nasty to your loved ones? Do you kick the dog when you get home?

For me it is about 5 hours until I am sitting in the pool with a cold one, and I am looking forward to it.

Have a good weekend,


Suzan said...

"Amen Brother" many will say and would have been said in the 30 plus years I've been at this. Much as you might be suspect of my motives, my interest is not in self'll have to trust me on that. Too many have been or are in the swamp. It doesn't have to be that way. I admire your openness and clever writing. How good can you stand it? Didn't hear back from you about the light my fire summit. Hope you'll give it a look.

Respectfully and with much empathy.

Anonymous said...

i love the "game face" or "the show" attitude. and you're right, it's the definition of a pro. when it's go time, it's go time...but you know what i love? really, really, love? this scenario, at least once a week, if not more..

-and how's your day going, mrs. jones?

-oh, it was fine until i walked into The Dentist's office [thinking she is sooo hilarious] nothing personal, but i hate The Dentist..

-[keep smiling] oh yeah? at least you're not at your proctologist or divorce attorney's office now, are ya?

where's that beer, john?

Elizabeth said...

I hear you loud and clear on this. I'm a young dentist - just out a couple of years... and part of my show is trying to convey that I'm competent and old enough to be a dentist, since I look about 20 years old. This involves a lot of technical talk about restorative materials. Ugh, they can probably see through it though. In any event, I do find that leaving things out of the operatory is the hardest part of my job some days. Anyway, hope you have a great weekend, I enjoyed this post a lot.

gatordmd said...

I remember my assistant having to lie to my patients when they asked how old I was.
But when I came in the operatory and dropped a couple "Carbon bonds" and "flexural strengths" or my personal favorite "modulus of rupture" I knew I had them.

Thanks for reading,
See you next week

Anonymous said...

This is the hardest part of the profession....except for the part that you have to get the staff to do it too and lead by example. I find "the show" exhausting some days, even though I love people and my staff and all, being "on" that intensely throughout the day leads to silence at home. I dont kick the dog because he doesnt require me to converse when I get home......My spouse (husband) is the practice administrator and it is sometimes tough when he wants to go over business when I get home. After 27 years, he is better about this but my need for solitude following work seems to get more with the years. Much sympathy your direction and enjoy the next pool/beer session! Cindi

NYC Dentist said...

Wow you seem very positive! It can't be easy to completely separate work from home but good for you for doing your best. Nice post!

Tim Taylor said...

Just wanted to thank you for your ongoing thoughts. I am in the process of placing masking tape of "The Show" leading from the back private area. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated. Your alter ego, Ric, works a mile from my house in Lenexa, Kansas.

gatordmd said...

Maybe your staff will think you are totally off your rocker as well.

And living so close to Ric....maybe you have some dirt on him that you would like to share.

Have a good one,


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