This is an open letter to all you associates out there from all of us who employ and pay you:
I appreciate you, as I’m sure your employer does. You work hard but you are paid very well. It’s a pretty good gig for you and for me and your employer. We would like to ask you one favor though, when you decide to leave to go start your own practice, please, please, please have the good sense, courtesy and perhaps even a little respect not to mess up our practices. Yes you work in the practice and yes you see patients there and yes you are important (that’s why we pay you) but no, these are not your patients and no this is not your practice.
We are happy for you. We encourage all young orthodontists to pursue their dreams and if that dream is to own a practice then by all means go for it. We think you’ll find that your sweet associate gig with regular pay and regular hours was pretty darn awesome once you find out what it means to be an owner, but we know that if we can do it then we are sure you can too! We simply ask that you have a little respect and restraint when you leave so that we don’t have to deal with a $h!t storm you create in our practice at your departure.
What are we taking about? We are glad you asked:
- DON’T take it upon yourself to tell all OUR staff and OUR referring doctors and OUR patients and the parents of OUR patients that YOU are leaving. Especially don’t do this before you tell US!!! We know you’re very important and you think that these folks have a right to know and that you have a right to tell them (and that you think should decide when all this happens) but c’mon folks, be reasonable. You’re leaving. Let’s work together to give you the send off you deserve in the manner and at the time that is best for the practice. We paid you well and taught you a ton and we have to deal with the issues that arise from your departure. Pls don’t make messes for us. We won’t do that to you in your new practice. Well, we probably won’t… Assuming you act reasonably.
- DON’T slack off and kick the can down the road. Please treat every patient like you would treat your own family. Bond 7s that need to be bonded. Do the repos. Do the debonds. Address the tough situations. Do these things now instead of pushing them off because you know you’re leaving. It’s the right thing to do, you’re paid well to do so and it’s good practice for when you own your own shop.
- DON’T slack off when it comes to new patients and starts. Again it’s what you’re paid to do and it’s good practice. You’ll need to be on your A game when you’re on your own. Telling everyone you are leaving before it’s the appropriate time will kill the new patient starts and that’s another reason to keep it to yourself. Why would a patient start with you if they know you are leaving?? BTW if you think that you’ll just tell a couple people and it will be secret then you’re a fool and don’t know anything about how the world works and you’re in for a rude awakening in your new role as owner.
- DON’T help yourself to our intellectual property without our permission. Yes, all those forms and templates and policy manuals and all that other stuff is OURS. Taking something that is not yours without permission is theft. Plain and simple. We may not notice. We may not care. But we might and if you treat us poorly then we may send a secret shopper into your office to get proof of your theft and take action. You’d have to really piss us off to deserve that but you have to understand that it’s our office and our property and you need to respect that if you want respect in return.
Look, we owners wish all young orthodontists well – especially the few that we have a special working relationship with. We want you to get what you want. All we ask is that you use a little common sense and show a little gratitude if not respect for the opportunity and pay we have given you for years. Let’s part ways on good terms and hope the best for one another. It’s easy to do if you think before you act. If act responsibly and treat the practice well then we former employers can be a huge resource for you before, during and after the transition. Know that we owners/employers have a ton of insight and experience that you want to access. Things that you need to know even though you don’t know you need to know them yet. Heck, you don’t even know the questions to ask, but you will. Be nice. Be fair. Be decent. It’s in your best interest, it’s in our best interest and, most importantly, it’s in the best interests of the patients we serve.
**Associates and former associates pls comment here on OrthoPundit with any suggestions you have for owner doctors to make the transition out better/easier. Owners pls comment with anything I’ve missed here. This topic needs some open, honest discussion from all parties.