One Of My New Bosses Is A Mean Dentist!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss who explodes: He turned into a monster yelling at me in front of the patient saying that I had to hand him the bracket the exact position

I have recently started working for an Orthodontic. I started on December 3rd, and honestly, I have only worked about 10 days at the office, and there are only so many things one can learn, they provide training on the job, which is usually hard because I don’t want to hurt a patient’s mouth if I don’t know what I am doing.I believe I am doing extremely well for someone who has been there for 10 days.

Yesterday, I tried to hand him a bracket to put on a patient’s mouth and it slipped on the tray, so, I picked it up and handed it to him. He turned into a monster yelling at me in front of the patient saying that I had to hand him the bracket the exact position that I had taken it from the box in (it turned upside down when it slipped), and that I was completely wasting his time, he did not have time for this.

The patient was horrified, it was a teenage boy, he almost felt bad for me, and I kept my cool. I worked with a different doctor today, she is a pleasure to work with, but tomorrow I will be working with him, I am completely dreading going into work and making a simple mistake and getting yelled at, because I can only take so much, I will quit and walk out. I am not apt to dealing with these issues,

I have had one incident at my previous workplace similar to this, I walked out on my boss. I refuse to be treated with disrespect,because I am a very good worker. He hasn’t taught me one single thing, not one! And he storms out of the office demanding I know all the things he needs. He is Asian, I can barely understand anything he says, I am so afraid also that when he asks me something I will hand him another and he will get mad because I can’t ask again, he hates repeating himself, and makes me feel like a complete dumb ass if I don’t do things right.

I have decided that it might be best to quit this job, I really want to be good at it, but he is a total rude, arrogant prick. I don’t want to work for someone that frightens me, I want to find a way to put him in his place because he doesn’t do this just to me, he does all these things to people who have been there for years. I see the girls having to guess what he wants sometimes because he will see an Asian patient and start speaking in another language and get mad if we don’t help him, but how can we? It is just moronic to think that I could ever speak a language that is not on my resume. I am just so sick of it. Please, help me, tell me a way that I can help myself not to feel so helpless. Thank you.

Signed, Ready to Walk

Dear Ready to Walk:

What you do about your job will most likely depend upon how badly you need it and how much you are willing to tolerate what sounds like a very rude and unprofessional Orthodontist. If you don’t have another job to go to immediately, you may need to find a way to mentally block his ability to make you feel badly. Although he certainly seems to be an obnoxious person, he is apparently only one of the doctors you work with. Maybe that will make dealing with him more tolerable, until you can find a better place to work. I doubt there is anything you can do to put him in his place or make him back down. It sounds like he is one of the partners in the business, so he has more value than an entry level employee. He may also be very good at what he does. He probably also brings in customers who like to work with someone who speaks their native language. So, his job probably isn’t in jeopardy. That doesn’t mean he will never change his behavior, but it’s not likely you will be able to shame him into doing it. One thing you should do right now is talk to the person who hired you, to let that person know what you’re dealing with, if they don’t know already. Surely you have an office manager who may be able to be a buffer for you. For example, you could tell your manager that you feel so nervous around that dentist that you can’t learn well and you’re afraid you’ll make mistakes. Maybe you could work with other doctors until you have had more training time.You may also want to ask other employees how they deal with the situation. You don’t want to gossip, but you could ask briefly and see if they have suggestions. They may say that on many occasions he has been pleasant and his actions recently have not been like him. Or, they may say they quake when he yells but they have found ways to keep it from having a long-term impact on them.In the course of your letter you seemed to make a decision to quit. If you’re going to do that, it seems that it would be best to wait until he has given you a reason to do so rather than just quitting. At least that way, there is a definite cause and effect. They need you as an employee or they wouldn’t have hired you. So, for you to insist upon better treatment or you’ll quit is not just a bluff. They know they’ll probably go through the same thing with the next employee and the next. Maybe it will result in some change for everyone.In the meantime, the only way to not let him make you feel badly is to feel assured that you are not a helpless victim. You have options, at least for as long as you’re working there. One way to deal with his yelling is to be prepared for it. The moment he starts, instead of feeling upset feel in control. You may want to say nothing and just continue working. Or, you may want to say, in a bland but courteous way, “I’m sorry you’re upset.” Correct whatever is the problem, if you can do so, and quietly wait for his next instructions.He won’t hit you. He won’t throw things around the room–I don’t think. The worse he could do is fire you and you’ve already decided you don’t care about the job anyway, so you can quit. If he continues to yell and you have tried just waiting it out patiently, you may want to escalate your words, “Dr. Lee, I can hear you. I’m sorry you’re upset. Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do my best.”Finally, if that doesn’t work, you may feel you have no options left. You can either wait through that patient or get up from your seat, tell the patient goodbye and walk out of the room. Go to the office manager then and let her know what happened and leave.You never know, maybe so many people have left because of him, that having you make a big issue of it is needed to get their attention. But, I also am aware of the reality that maybe they will just say goodbye and advertise again.I wish there was something magical to suggest about this. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be. The questions only you can answer are, do you want to give up this job so soon, do you have something else to go to, and can you find a way to just tolerate the dentist’s horrid behavior, for the sake of staying there?Best wishes to you with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what you decide and what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.