I’ve written before about how I have had as many as eight employees and two doctors in the office. Interestingly, now that I have a newer, smaller and more efficient office with 2½ employees and little ol’ moi, the sole doctor, my satisfaction and also my income is better than at any time when I had a squirming mass of employees crawling all over one another.
The one employee I fired was the sister of one of my best-ever employees, who we trained from scratch.
Before this I had, by and large, decided that my best-ever employees were those who knew nothing about the eye business but who are smart and fun to hang out with. So, sometime after big sis departed for another state, I hired little sis!
Turns out genetics is not a good indicator of talent, which, I guess, is why you never hear anything about Merold Streep, the fishmonger.
To be specific, this employee’s whole job was to keep the rooms ready for patient care—make sure the sink was clean, keep the trash from overflowing, reset the phoropters to zero, and so forth. Day after day after day, hardly any of these simple tasks were accomplished. One day, I had a great idea. I made a check-off list. All she had to do was check off what she did when she did it! Every evening, the completed list, signed by her, was placed on my desk. I was thrilled to see it all full of checks.
Except for the fact that she did not actually do the tasks that were checked off. She had just checked them off!
I very gently told her to “pack up your crap and get out of my office.” I like to think this made my ex-employee a better employee somewhere else.
When I ended up at one point with five employees, my income, gross and net grew. When we dropped to three good people, gross and net incomes grew again!
I decided the secret to success is fire everyone. Imagine what we could make with zero employees!
Less Than Zero
Uh, it turns out that experiment actually did NOT work. Patients hate it when they wander the empty hallways as their sad cries for help echo unheard through the toilet-paperless stalls of your office.
So, we needed somebody who actually worked for us. I tried a few ideas and combinations:
1. I hired two lifelong friends. They have never spoken to one another since.
2. I hired the wife of my rock band’s bassist. They immediately moved to another state and broke up. Even worse, we lost a bass player.
3. I broke my own rule and rehired a former employee. Don’t. Don’t ever. Just don’t.
4. I hired one of my best friend’s daughters. She left me for college. How lazy is that?
5. I hired a wonderful lady with impeccable credentials who had just moved to our state to avoid a federal warrant for her arrest. Brilliant!
That’s when I realized that my best move was to just let my wife, Renee, do all the hiring and her philosophy is just never hire anyone. This has worked perfectly. I have very much enjoyed my unrelationship with my nonemployees these many years, and I wish all of them great success as they undoubtedly create chaos daily in my competitors’ offices across the area.
Oh, by the way, we could use one more employee.