Conquering Change

Dentistry, Lifestyle

Recently, I was made aware that the office I have gainfully been employed at for the past seven years was going to be sold to a larger, private-equity company. One of two owners called me to break the news about the transition, and nonchalantly tried to reassure me that not much should change about the terms of my employment other then who signs my paycheck.

I have never been one to embrace change well. I would almost go so far as to say I fear it.

I see day-to-day change take place in front of me constantly, and I struggle to accept even that. My kids getting older is a prime example. Google Photos reminds me of this day ‘7 years ago’ and I am an emotional wreck. Why do they have to grow up so freaking fast?

Listen, I know, it is a part of life and we cannot control it. Without a doubt, my best days are when I manage to block out the seemingly infinite “what if’s” scenarios that float around in my head. When I somehow silence all that noise that occupies my mental space, my days are much more peaceful and happier.

Years ago, I read a book called “Who Moved My Cheese” by (Patrick) Spencer Johnson. From what I remember, it was a quick enough read with a very simple message. Life moves on, and so should we. “The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.” The author devotes the book to trying to embrace change in work and throughout our lives.

I have worked for enough large DSO’s (Dental Support Organization’s) to know they are not run the same as smaller, privately-owned offices. In an attempt to streamline operations and cut costs (and maximize profits), something’s gotta give – it may impact the quality of dental materials, the staff, the schedule – it could touch on every aspect of the practice.

As a mere associate, I am not privy to the terms of the sale and transition of ownership. Only time will tell what changes will come. The way I see it, at best, my office stays as-is and nothing changes. At worst – the autonomy I have enjoyed in picking out my own materials and setting my own schedule starts to disappear. What would be utterly devastating is if my beloved staff get spooked and decide to quit.

This is the second office now that has been sold out from underneath me. Because I have been just an employee, as the practice changes hands – even though I worked hard to build it up, because I have no equity stake – I reap none of the benefits of its successes throughout this sale taking place. The two original owners (not much older then I am currently) have now paved a pathway for retirement for themselves; and I am but a commodity being sold along with the chairs and other equipment.

On the flip side, I have been compensated well over the years and had I invested more wisely (thanks a lot Celsius Network), I might also in my own right have been on a path towards financial independence. Plus, over the last seven years I have not been burdened by administrative hassles of running this practice – and when the A/C fails, addressing staffing issues, dealing with payroll matters – none of that has really weighed on my shoulders.

“Change happens when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go.”

― Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?

How my staff will respond to the new owners, how my pay will be affected, how my patient schedule may change – all of these are unknowns that occupy my mental bandwidth these days. Mixed in with regrets about not building up equity all these years and reaping zero ownership benefits. And do not get me started on the massive financial setback I have incurred with the atrocious investing missteps on the Celsius ordeal.

Lately though, when I am not caught in a moment of self-doubt and insecurity, I am convinced that – however horrendous these last several months may have been – I am more open to taking on the challenges of practice ownership, I am a wiser/more cautious investor, and I am, for the most part, optimistic about what the future has in store for me. I am even finding ways to enjoy my kids getting older and the fun activities I can do with them now versus seven years ago.

Hope you handle change better than I do. Every day I feel I have to convince myself there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for taking the time to read my post today! Please feel free to share with me your own stories of taking on change in your life!

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