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Dear Boss: Please, just stop

July 3, 2023
Sometimes it's not what to do, it's what not to do—and these bosses prove it. Take a lesson from some of these dental office no-nos, as expressed in our popular "Dear Boss" column.
Kyle L. Summerford, Editorial Director

DentistryIQ's Dental Office Manager Digest features a column called “Dear Boss” for office managers to be able to speak their minds by anonymously writing a “letter” to their boss. But the messages received through the years apply to dental professionals beyond those in OM roles; they provide a unique and honest look at how not to run a dental practice.

From employees being made to feel like a “dinosaur” to being mocked for asking for a pay increase, read some of the issues that have compelled readers to write in and ask to be heard.

You completely humiliated me

This author says when a patient misunderstood that her appointment for an exam was for crown prep, her boss chose to believe the patient and “pulled me into the waiting room to make an example out of me to show our patients you have no tolerance for mistakes in the office. This was humiliating and made me feel like quitting.

The definition of "high and dry"

This employee put in her dues and was promised to be taken care of long-term—that is, until her boss sold the practice to a DSO and left her holding nothing but a thank-you card: “I honestly thought it was a gift for all the years I worked for you and took care of your dental practice, but nope. It was a card telling me good luck with the new dental practice owners and thanks for the many years of help.”

Your son is ruining the practice

This dentist takes pride in running a family-owned practice, but his son is wreaking havoc with the staff and patients. In fact, he’s “the most incompetent person I’ve ever worked with…and the entire staff is enraged.”

Overworked and underappreciated

This OM says that while her dentist does try to accommodate patients’ needs, she sometimes feels as though “your staff members are the last things on your mind… Office morale is at its worse because like me, people are tired.”

Disregarded and mocked

After not having received a pay increase in six years, this OM asked for one and “you legitimately laughed in my face and reminded me that the pandemic caused the practice to lose money… There were several ways you could have handled this respectfully,” including, she says, just thanking her for her hard work.

Not what she was told

Told she wouldn’t have to tackle a huge mess, this new OM experienced quite the opposite: “This office is a straight-up disaster. The office didn't have an office manager for three years, insurance wasn’t being verified, nothing was filed correctly, credentialing was a mess—overall, there was no organized structure in these are just a few of the many issues … I've put in many hours trying to fix this, all for a sad, underwhelming paycheck.”

You’re a mean one

After having stuck by their boss through the pandemic, employees were hoping for any show of appreciation at the holidays, but this one is doubtful: “Every day is a constant struggle, and knowing in the back of my mind that it won’t be appreciated just makes me wonder why am I still here.”

I’m not a dinosaur

This experienced hygienist does everything she can to stay on top of her field, but says it’s not enough to keep her boss from denigrating her: “You've made several comments to the younger staff joking about how they react faster and are quicker at following your instructions. I'm not a dinosaur, but sometimes that's how you make me feel.”