Moving On...

Christina M. Sorenson, OD


November 05, 2015

I recently ran into a former technician who now holds a national sales position within an international company devoted to ophthalmic instrumentation. Dang, I never would have predicted that his path would lead him to that position! We began to reminisce about staff members whom we had worked with in the past and had moved beyond the clinic. Most of them are still in the ophthalmic industry, working in sales, maintenance, administration, and the like. I thought about each of those individuals and marveled at their talent and drive.

Morphing from technician onward is a natural evolution. As the tasks of the back office become second nature, the expansion of one's skill set similarly grows. Although those of us who train the technical staff would like to see them happy all the time in the position they have been trained for, this is often not the case.

So how do we recognize when they need to move on? There are a few sure tells.

The most common symptom is that the tech hates coming to work. They show up late or, worse, are short with needy patients. You may see that a staff member is often sick or tired, or complains of headaches. An honest conversation can usually uncover dissatisfaction with the job.

A second tell is that they are no longer growing their skill set. The staff member starts to sound like a robot or a sideshow hawker. You may hear, "Place your head here, look straight ahead, and don't talk or move," in that late-night waiter voice you once heard at a diner on the turnpike. Once recognized, you have the opportunity to introduce new job responsibilities, expand their knowledge, and keep it interesting.

The third tell is a bit more convoluted and may be more of a challenge to recognize. The reason they took the job is no longer clear. The "why" of what we do is everything.

The last, and most exciting, tell is the calling of a bigger dream. You can hope for nothing better for your staff than an opportunity for dreams to be realized. If you have to lose staff, this is the best reason.

It is very important to support coworkers in staying true to themselves. Hopes, dreams, and aspirations are what brought them to you in the first place. Support through their journey can be painful in the acute phase but wonderful in its chronic phase.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have known, trained, and ultimately moved on from the staff members in my past, present, and surely my future.


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