Office unease leaves practice owners dangling
Are the problems in his practice Ben’s fault?
Ben sighed contentedly and rested his chin on his wife’s head. Their son was sitting on her lap and she leaned against him on the sofa so that he could hug her and their little boy at the same time. They had a cartoon movie on the TV, but Ben wasn’t paying attention to it. At times like these, their family seemed like a perfect unit, and his life seemed as though it was completely under control.
So why didn’t it feel that way at the office more frequently? Carmen had problems at the pizzeria sometimes, but it always seemed as though she could just tackle the problem and solve it, and it was over.
At his practice, it felt like they no sooner solved one problem than another came up. They had high turnover in the front office, and he knew that was part of the reason things slipped through the cracks, but maybe the high turnover was a symptom of the problem.
Absenteeism, too — of course that led to turnover when people had to be let go, but it also seemed as though any time one person was missing it created a bottleneck in the office. Then when absent workers returned, it took three days to recover from every one day they’d been gone.
Maybe they just weren’t getting the kind of training they needed, Ben reflected. Jonathan was laughing and squealing as the cartoon characters slid down a mountainside.
It was funny in the cartoon, Ben thought, but sometimes that’s how it felt at work, and then it wasn’t so funny. The cartoon characters were bouncing from one branch and outcropping to another, their eyes comically huge, and his son couldn’t stop laughing. Ben couldn’t stop thinking that this was just what his workdays were like sometimes, bouncing from one problem to another and barely having time to get one issue cleaned up before another smacked into him. Forget about building and growing the practice — he was always in crisis mode.
Ben didn’t really think it was a case of having bad workers. They made every effort to hire smart, competent people. And yet those smart people made mistakes and let things slide. He knew they didn’t provide intensive training to their staff, but where would he find the time to do that? He had always figured that if he hired good people, they could pick most things up on their own.
Ben shook his head and Carmen smiled up at him questioningly. He returned her smile and willed himself to get his mind back into the present. He could think about his work problems later — in fact, he’d have to. He sighed again, but this time not with contentment.
Maybe it was his fault.