Friday, October 22, 2010

She makes how much?!?!

Hey all,

Hope everyone is having a good week. I had been having a really good week - until yesterday. It was a tough day. You know, you try to be good at what you do, you try to treat everyone nicely, you try to treat your employees well, and you feel like if you do all of that you might be able to make a pretty good career out of it.

Why does it seem so hard to do this sometimes? And what’s really hard is getting them all going at the same time. You could be doing awesome dentistry, but no one is coming in. Or lots of people are coming in but you just don't feel awesome about it. One day, your staff lounge is filled with gifts that patients baked for you; the next day someone says they were hurt at your office. Sometimes you can be looking at the new BMWs and thinking you would look good in that car (with your new Prada shades on) and then the next week you don't have the money to cover all the bills.

You have to be tough in this business. Just remember the higher you get the farther the fall is. The bigger you are the harder you fall (and I am getting huge in Europe!).

Now you know why some people will sell their practices to a management company because they don't want it anymore. "Take it and I will be an employee. That’s got to be easier than all this S@%T!" Okay, I am done with my pity party.

I have never talked about this, but it is something we all have to deal with. We have eight employees right now, and it has been as high as 11. Everyone that you have hired was been hired at a different time. Someone who is an assistant might have been hired when there were no assistants around. When you put out an ad to hire an assistant and you get four people applicants, it is very different than now, when if you put an ad out there, now you might get 50 applicants to choose from. When there is that much competition for a spot, you have bargaining power. When you have one good assistant and she has 4 offices to choose from you have to open up the wallet.

Now, my staff is pretty solid. I think things got a little crazy with babies and the economy, but I can't see me changing anything for a long time. I think everyone likes me and my style and is "picking up what I am laying down." (I don't know why but I like that saying, so you might hear it a lot). Sometimes staff encounter hardships, so I might give in to them a little more. You know, we’ve become a family and I want to help my family.

Now the real issue comes when they are friends. Because friends talk.

Pause for effect [go on, I’ll wait]…

You all know what I am saying. The assistant who has been at your office for 4 years is making the same as the assistant who has been there for 8 years. Before I go any further, all scenarios I use are totally fabricated. Fiction based on actual events, if you will.

So the two of them get together start drinking and of course start talking about work. They talk about their money issues at home and then it comes out. "Well, how much do you make?" Then everyone knows what everyone else is making. You, as a boss, are screwed.

They would never blame each other but they come to you. "I know it is slow but I have been here much longer then she has and I know I am more important." Translation: I am not going to ask for a raise now but it is coming.

I have a dentist friend that tells his staff that if they ever tell anyone how much they are being paid they will be FIRED. He tells them on the first day of work that the amount I pay you stays with you and never should get out. I am starting to agree with him. It would alleviate any pay issues.

This scenario used to be okay because of bonuses. In my office, the person that has been here the longest gets the best bonus. But now that there is no bonus, it is coming down to getting respect. And I get that.

I don't really think it is the money. I don't think that 50 cents an hour (a whopping $24 a week) is going to change someone's life, but it is the principle. And as much as I understand this, I don't know what to do.

I can give her $2 more an hour, but who gets a $2 an hour raise? And then you are talking about making her the highest-paid assistant in the Southeast. Who is she - Darrelle Revis (the best cornerback in the NFL, who decided he wasn't going to play until the Jets upped his contract to $20 million a year)? And quite frankly the assistant she is comparing herself to is pretty awesome too.

It’s a tough one. Any thoughts? What do you do? I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

The Gators have a bye week, thank fully. Have a great weekend.



Tija Hunter EFDA said...

Hi John!

Well I for one do not believe that someone is intitled to make more just because they have been there the longest (I will tell you I am an assistant that has been in my office the longest!)I make good money an hour but I work for it. I am blessed to have a great job working with a great team. If I want a raise, I have to stand out from the others and prove that I can do it all, and I have. Every job I have ever had has told us NOT to talk about our pay, so it's just something we don't do. It's disrepectful to the other team members and to our doctor. Each of us come to a new job with different experiences and skill levels, it's an individual thing and should be kept between the doctor and the employee (or office manager). If they don't value their positions enough to go off talking about their pay, then they can find work elsewhere.

gatordmd said...

Thanks Tiji,
Great comment.

ps Do you live in the Orlando area and are you presently looking for a new position....I will pay you more than the others (as long as you don't tell).


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