The “Worker Bees” and the “Slug Muffins”

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Celebrating, Supporting and Encouraging Devoted Employees Everywhere

Like so many of my dental peeps, we are in a “social” business and tend to befriend many people in our day-to-day lives.  It isn’t uncommon to find that our most frequent “haunts” are the locales where we build the strongest friendships.  It’s the store clerks, the cashiers, restaurant servers, and let us not forget the barista with whom we tend to create special relationships.  I personally frequent a handful of spots that I return to on a regular basis; so many of the workers know me and I them.

It isn’t unusual for me to observe the work ethic of these people. After all this has been my focus for the past 25 years.  I’m sure many of you do as well, particularly when customer service or professionalism is lacking.  In my case I study this and a lot more.

Over the years I’ve actually recruited a number of great candidates that were not in the dental field–taking them under my wing, grooming and mentoring them, and bringing them on board as “newbies”.  It’s not difficult to identify those employees that are strictly in it for a paycheck and those that take their jobs very seriously no matter what the service is for which they are responsible. Whether they are a bagging groceries, checking our blood pressure or selling us a pair of shoes I so respect those that respect the positions that they hold and consider their jobs important no matter the role.

I was reminded of something today that I’ve actually been aware of for a long time; and that is the “dedicated and responsible” employee seems to get taken advantage of.  A case in point is Stephanie, the barista I see quite often at my local grocery store Starbuck’s. This morning when I went for my usual coffee run I found Stephanie left at her post all alone with a line almost out the door.  “What’s going on? Did someone not show up again today?”  With a big smile on her face she responded, “No, I’m not alone.  The manager left to handle something and I’ve been too busy to find her to help me.”  I told her that I thought that she was an amazing employee. She responded with, “No, not really. I just feel badly for all of you waiting for me to take care of everyone.” I’ve noticed that she is the one that is often left alone.

Stephanie is a true champion and always has a smile on her face and an “I can do it” attitude.  Interestingly enough, when I first met her a couple of years ago, I was curious as to what her goals and aspirations were and I asked her of her future plans.  I found it hard to believe that someone that sharp, professional and well poised was planning on being a barista all her life.  She smiled proudly when I asked her and shared that she is going through her prerequisites at the University of Arizona as she prepares for a career as a physician.

Needless to say, I continue to check in with her whenever I can (whenever she is able to break away from her responsibilities long enough to fill me in periodically).  I know she will do well at the end of her journey and only wish there were more Stephanies out there. For every Stephanie, there are 1,000’s of others that are not only miserable with what they are doing, but they make sure to let you know this simply by their demeanor and body language.

Many of us wonder where the old-fashioned work ethics have gone?  Well, I do believe they are still alive and well, and that there are many more Stephanies working hard and sincerely doing the best they can and do take their jobs seriously.  Watch for them, encourage them, high five them, and let’s get some of the mojo back in the work force!!