SpouseTales Snippets 2 – Doctor Held Hostage, It’s a Real Thing!

In Building a Practice, Embracing Coworkers, She's Enjoying the Journey by JoAn Majors, RDA, CSP®

A short SpouseTale, because you can’t make this stuff up!

Doctor held hostage, is a real thing. It can manifest as a feeling, an event, or the circumstance one might find themselves in after a decision made, leaves them feeling less than powerful or in charge at all. It can often leave someone feeling uneasy about the actual result or outcome from a decision they had to make.

My husband and I have discussed this for years. We would either hear a story from a dental colleague, spouse or team leader or have an experience of our own that had us gazing into space feeling like we had been hit by a bus that came out of nowhere. What most people in our personal circles don’t really realize is, it can be paralyzing to think about how far a single answer or decision made with respect to a team member can impact our practice, our personal life and selfishly, my schedule.

Decisions impact our practice, our personal life, and (selfishly) my schedule.

This is my husband, Dr. Chuck Majors’, fourth and final practice. For the most part, we’ve had team members who were seasoned and extremely appreciative of the generous ways we choose to show appreciation over the years. However, after purchasing this practice almost five years ago, we began to experience situations we had not before.

It seemed that as we relocated to a larger town the work pool grew and most were less engaged or interested in a career. They were more often than not, willing to walk away if it wasn’t an “easy” fit.  Gifts, Atta boy/girl, an answer to a request, overlooking bad behavior from the same person or knowing if someone walks out, it’s on YOU. We will often hold our tongue because we quickly realized the only person left scratching their heads, canceling a vacation or having to fill in the void if someone leaves is usually me.

Held hostage horrors are real.

Understand, I’m not looking for sympathy at all. Just a little consideration would be nice. Especially when the decision you make could impact you most. I remember we had a team member who decided to sign a contract for 2 years with a particular vendor and never even spoke to him about it. This was the second time she had gone “out ethic” in our mind. When he had to let her go, we canceled our Kentucky trip because I was digging through cubby holes and desk drawers trying to find other areas of concern. Now, if you know me, you know, I love a good old fashion. This didn’t set well with Chuck or me, however, it’s our business, our livelihood and at the end of the day our future at risk.

Just some common courtesy, please!

I talk to other spouses weekly who have horror stories about not wanting to grant a ridiculous request for vacations, time off or very lengthy maternity leaves or honey moons for fear that they will be the one filling in. It’s almost as if there are a group of people who truly understand how kind the dentists and spouse can be and target them. If you think it is going to affect you and your plans the truth is many say, they grant the request, give the time off or compromise the early leaving daily because they don’t have anyone else to do the job. They feel “held hostage” to some extreme.  

We have feelings too.

When I see the dental (whatever) group comments on spouses, it’s so sad. My only reason that I would share this is in hopes that team members begin to understand that many doctor  and spouses are inherently kind and giving. We have feelings, needs, wants and desires just like others. There isn’t some “special” treatment when it’s on you to make a decision can cause great impact on the bottom line of a practice. For now, I appreciate so many wonderful team members and team leaders we have had to protect us from these tough times. It’s my hope that this will cause some pause to both team members, doctors and spouses to understand that at the end of the day we all want to be treated with respect. It equally important to work really hard to make sure we deserve it!  I’m kind of “old fashion” that way.

See you on the road,



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