You tell one guy he will make $20,000 at the end of the year. You tell the other he will make $1 billion at the end of the year.
The guy earning $20,000 probably would come to work ticked off all day. He would bemoan the fact that he has to make these widgets every day. He would say things like, “I hate the drive to work” and “I hate the room I work in.”
The guy earning $1 billion would love widgets so much that he would talk about them to his friends. He would happily bounce to work every day. He would sing while he worked. He would be nice to his co-widget-makers. He would love his job.
Isn’t this how we all are? If you are saying “no,” then you are lying through your teeth (pun intended). Money is in the back of our minds.
If we have good production days, we are happy. If we get our 401(k) statement and the amount went up a lot, we take a deep breath and sigh in relief. Maybe we go home and treat our spouse, take him or her out to dinner, or maybe even pick up flowers on the way home.
Maybe the numbers in the story are a bit exaggerated. What would the number be for you? What would be your jump-out-of-bed, happily skip-to-work number?
How about this: Would the story mean as much if the first guy would get $75,000 for the year and the second guy would make $400,000? Would the guy earning $75,000 dread coming to work and the guy earning $400,000 skip to work?
I know sometimes it feels as if we make widgets. I use a reference from a popular Dunkin’ Donuts commercial from the 1980s when talking with my wife all the time. I leave the house saying, “Time to make the fillings.”
If I made $400,000 a year, would I bounce out of bed and skip to work because I was so happy? What is your number?
Do we jump out of bed and bounce to work because we have this awesome job as dentists? A job that gives us this awesome living? A job that allows us to help people? A job where the hours are such that we can be coaches and dance instructors and PTA presidents and board members? Do we jump out of bed because we get to do the job we love to do?
For me, and I have been a dentist for 20 years, the answer to all questions is mostly yes.
Does it get to be just something I have to do? Does it get to the point where I feel like I am just running on that hamster wheel? Of course it does.
But we have to make our “job” more than a job. It is our responsibility to ourselves and our staff and patients to make the place we work more than a place to make money. We have to make it a place where people want to come to ... including ourselves.
And guess what? When we make our place of employment a fun place to be, people will want to come to it. If your staff likes coming to work, and you like coming to work, it is only natural that your patients will enjoy coming to your office, too. Your patient will start to say things like, “You know, this place ain’t that bad” and tell his or her friends.
And then guess what? Because you like being in the office and because your patients like coming to see you, you will be the one making your happy number.
John Gammichia, DMD, FAGD