Friday, January 12, 2007

Need Advice

I've tried to write this post several times, and I just can't get through it. I get started and get more and more angry, so I want to write more and more. I just end up with a senseless ramble! So, I'm going to try to get to the point. Sorry if I leave out important details! (UPDATE-It is NOT as short as I had planned!!)

Okay, as I've said here , here, here, here, here, and here, Dr has been having some crazy mood swings lately. Click on "dental stories" category for a full overview. Well, Monday, we had a meeting. As you will recall, the last meeting did not go so well. Monday's meeting, however, went very well. In fact, he apologized, kind of, for the previous week. He said he didn't remember hurting my feelings but that he didn't mean to-he was just trying to make me stretch. Well, not remembering that you hurt someone's feelings is a reflection of your personality, if you ask me...

I was going to post that things were going well again, but I'm glad I didn't because he was worse than EVER on Wednesday.

Let me give you a little background. I have only been a dental assistant for about a year. This Dr is the only one that I've worked for other than my internship (she was a crazy crazy dentist!). When I first interviewed with Dr, I told him that I wanted to work in the back of the office-you know, hands-on, but that I hadn't had much experience. He hired me on the pretense that I would start off in the front-paperwork, insurance info etc. and then he would train me to be in the back. Perfect.

A few months later (after the other dental assistant in the office quit), Dr. told me that he would like to see me as an office manager. He loved that I was such a competent hard worker and had various talents. He was planning on hiring a person to work up front for me to oversee, then I would work in the back with him. Great!

So, here I am working mostly in the front, getting to go in the back about 3 times a week to help with extractions and sometimes help with fillings. (He's old school, so he does most of the work himself, including getting his own instruments from the tray and clean up.)

Wednesday, Dr. went crazy again. He had a patient in the back that was supposed to have an exam and a cleaning at 9:00. He should've been finished by 9:45. He didn't finish until 10:30, which is when the next patient was scheduled for a cleaning and fillings. I go back after the 1st patient left and ask if he is ready for the next one. He says no and then goes off about how I should prioritize my things at the front and not be working on paperwork when I could be helping him in the back. Because of the way he likes to work, I only go in the back when he asks for me. And, he did ask for me. When I went back, he said he wasn't quite ready (he hadn't given the numbing medicine yet) and he would call for me when I was needed. He never called for me.

So, after he mouthed off to me, I start to set the room up for the next patient, "She has to go in here?" Well, yes because it is a cleaning, and all of the stuff is in that operatory. He then tells me that I shouldn't schedule them back to back because he only has one prophy (cleaning) instrument and that he's told me that numerous times. I tell him that they weren't back to back, there had been a gap of 45 minutes scheduled in and that he had been with the last patient longer than normal, and that as far as I knew he had 2 prophy set ups (he had told me before that he can't do three in the morning because he only has 2 set ups). He says, "Now, no you didn't think that. We've gone over this." I said, "Well, I didn't just lie to you." and I walked away.

After a few minutes, I went back and asked him what he wanted me to do, and he said that I should just go sit down because we have to wait for the instruments. He then mumbles about how I should've been back there getting things ready.

He says that he gives me paperwork that I don't return for 3 months, so he knows I'm not doing paperwork. He often forgets or doesn't realize that I've set it on his desk (he is in his late 60's), thats if he gives it to me to begin with. He then complains that I'm not in the back helping him.

I tell him that I TOLD HIM YESTERDAY that I didn't feel comfortable in the back. He told me to come back then because that is the only way to learn. "Because, it is evident that you don't know what you are doing." He walked away.

Ouch. I TOLD him from the beginning that I needed to be trained. (During my internship my main duties were getting coffee and walking the Dr's dog. Seriously.) His idea of training is making me find out on my own. I told him at the meeting on Monday that I don't work that way-I learn by being told, not by blindly finding my way.

About five minutes later, I took some paperwork back to him. I asked him if there was anything else that he needed from me. He points to his desk where he has the paperwork for some patients who haven't paid-that is somehow my fault as well. He said, "No, I think you've already unloaded it all on me."
"I don't know what you expect me to do!" was all I could think to say.
He replied, "It's apparent that you don't know. I've already told you!" his plan for patients who don't pay is for me to not schedule the appointment to finish their procedure until after we receive all the funds from them and their insurance company, which normally takes months AFTER you finish the work. "I'm not going into it right now with you."

This is when I told him that he was making me feel stupid and he replies with, "SO! Look at all this on my desk." Once again, Ouch.

My dilemma is should I quit or not?

I deserve better than this. I am NOT stupid. I am a hard worker (and he's told me this many times). I HATE coming to work. I get stressed out about coming to work on my days off-just because I'm thinking about coming to work.
On the other hand, he pays me well. The schedule works out well with my other job and Josh's school. I won't be able to go to another dental office and get paid as well as I do. (because I have no experience!) After experiencing this and the other dentist and hearing stories, I'm not sure I WANT to be a dental assistant.
We are kind of looking into getting a house. I've only worked here 9 months. That doesn't look good on an application. (of course, I've worked at the restaurant for 2 1/2 yrs so that helps)
If I do leave, he won't have anyone in the office at all. I feel bad about that.
I can't put up with his mood swings, though. When he talks to me that way, I replay it in my head and then start to doubt myself and think I'm dumb or something, even though I know it is not true. It is even filtering into other aspects of my life. I just want to sleep all the time. I haven't been exercising. Sound familiar??

So, help me out. What would you do?


Anonymous said...

Parrot back what he's saying to you. "So when you say this, you want me to do this and this." And take notes on what he says. This is good for two reasons -- you get clarification on what he wants, and he hears his own words and hopefully realizes what a #$^& he's being.

Create a "completed paperwork" file box on the corner of his desk. When you're done with something he's given you, put it in there. That way when he says he doesn't have it, you can say "It's in the completed file on your desk." Also -- you might invest in a cheap time stamp that would show WHEN you'd finished it.

And yoga. Lots of yoga.


Mari said...

Thanks for the advice! I've tried it all, though. When I repeat what he says or say, "Now, what exactly...?" he kind of mimicks me or asks like I'm really putting him out.
This IS the man that told me to stop saying, "I don't know." (to which I tried using different phrases, but he just told me I was still saying I don't know. So, I've started just lying and hoping the answer is right)
I'm starting to wonder if I am the one with the problem.

Anna said...

My suggestion is to get yourself out there and look for another Dental Assistant's job, you'll be suprised to find how many people do want you. You can either take something else or use the positive confidence when you are with the doctor, he's making you feel worthless and you are believing him. You might also be suprised to find that other jobs will be flexible for your needs.

Having dealt with an a**hole boss badly for 3 years, that's my suggestion.

The suggestion for the paper work file is good, butyou need to be able to communicate all the other stuff you are doing which isn't as easy to show. Try sending him a weekly update, set out by areas of work you do. Under debt collection, make a list of all the people you've contacted, how often and the latest status. Under "out back" summarise all the skills you've picked up (even if it is a dumb situation like your story, at least he'll feel like you are learning somehting) you get the idea.