Sorry for the long post ahead. I got inspired by the great stories here and wanted to share mine. It’s not only long but a bit of a rant, as well as being very therapeutical for me actually (I realised this when I finished writing lol). I’m in no way pretending that my experiences working for a risk capitalist owned company is unique by any means in this time and age, but this is my job story (so far).
I’m doing my last weeks at the dental clinic I’ve been employed at for the last 9 years. It has been a great place to work at, great colleagues and state of the art equipment set in a beautiful renovated historical conservation building. It’s a big clinic with 20 chairs and 35 employees in all, including various specialist dentists. We had fun during (and after) work, everyone helped each other out and did the outmost for the patients. The management visited us often and they had dental backgrounds themselves so they could relate to us. I’m not saying it was great all the time, but it mostly was and I couldn’t have been happier being a part of it.
This all changed 3-4 years ago when they merged us with another big dental company (run solely by 3 economists). It started of well, but within a year or so everyone in ”our” management and HR were replaced by fellow economists and all the spirit and forward thinking from the old company was erased.
Each employee got a scheduled meeting with one of the top dogs. It started of by him being late, calling me by the wrong name and sitting opposite of me in the room clicking on his laptop for over 10 minutes (I kid you not). Then he let of a big yawn in front of me (?!) and started to ask unrelated questions about work ethics, economic goals, if I planned to have any parental leave and then he showed me exactly (down to the penny) on a graph how much I cost the company each year, including salary, work fees, equipment etc. Very inspiring! Not a word about how much money I make them.
Last year for example I took it upon myself to do some repair work on the dental chairs. A cost saving of €5000 (not counting all the hours of work it took). I have also taken care of and serviced our 30+ computers, mounted new wall hangers for them, fitted benches along the walls in the treatment rooms, repaired refrigerators and washing machines etc like a damn caretaker.
Anyway, after this merge it went down hill pretty quick. We got a new boss for the region last year and he’s all about cost saving and bonus hunting instead of pay raises. I worked my ass off last year and according to his equation I would get a €2000 bonus. Conveniently he had got the calculation wrong and all I got was €500. I have it all on paper, but he denies that and I’m guessing it’s his revenge for me being outspoken and talking to the union about his methods. As long as you’re a yes-man however, your fine.
He also criticises employees for staying at home with ill children and having their parental leave. He even fired a colleague of mine, with the made up excuse that we had to few patients. According to Swedish law there is a 6 months window in which you can’t hire another person for the same job. These months have now ended and now they can start searching for her replacement. This is all done openly! Preferably they want a man or woman with grown up (or no) children. Meanwhile my boss at the clinic is too week (read afraid) to stand up for us and by being the yes-man, he is of course rewarded for taking the easy way out.
We have also raised our fees by almost 50%, we are instructed to charge for every little thing we do and we have shorter treatment times. If we aren’t finished we should recall the patient and finish next time, just so we can charge more. Needless to say some take shortcuts in their treatments to earn more money and once you start to go down that road… This is just a few examples and the tip of the iceberg.
I used to put pride in working for a company where care for the patients was the #1 priority. But now there’s no freedom left, no human ethics, just a bunch of bosses who have no clue what we do each day, but gladly tells us how to do our job. Since I started working there over 30 colleagues have left! At a clinic made for 35 employees. Most of them after the merge. What’s even more depressing is that they are now the biggest dental cooperation in Europe, with soon over 200 clinics and have recently established themselves in the UK too.
Needless to say this situation has caused me much stress, which started to take effect on my health. I’ve never been that guy with a short fuse, but this past year I really have! Mentally I have woken up in the middle of the night and felt anxiety just by the thought of going to work. So I decided that I’m not going to have a heart attack at 40 and last month I wrote my letter of resignation. Man that felt good! If your working for a psychopath, there is only one option - leave! You can never win that fight and never expect to be treated like a human being.
After the summer I’m starting (together with a former co worker) at a smaller clinic. I get better wages and way more benefits, but most importantly I have the freedom to decide my own work hours and how I do my job. There’s a lot of stuff to be done to get the clinic up and running, but it just feels so inspiring! No more Sunday anxiety and anger. I’m already happier when I’m at home and a much better dad. I’ve even lost some weight now my stress level is low.
Funny thing though is that I also have a uni degree in IT design and programming, like most of us here at OA If this new job doesn’t work out I’ll always have that to fall back on.
Anyhow, thanks for reading boys and girls, and again sry for such a long post