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BEING THE BOSS is a lonely job, and managing even a good team can be a minefield. You can educate, encourage, cajole and incentivize all you like; sometimes you get landed with genuine duds: the unmotivated, the unintelligent, the ones that won’t learn, the criminals… We asked our Brain Squad survey team of eyecare biz owners and managers to tell us their most forehead-slapping employee disasters, and elicited these 12 genuine “Doh!” moments. Have a read of these—and go hug your team.

  • I had an employee put on a nosepad backwards. Like, facing towards the lens. AND HAND THEM BACK TO THE PATIENT. So, after a talking to, and a retrain, I thought we were good. She did it again a week later. Needless to say, she didn’t stick around much longer. — Jenna G., Fargo, ND
  • Highest-recommended student from a vocational tech school for op-techs. Resume is plagiarized from an online resume site. I call her in for an interview anyway and she smells like weed so bad it makes my eyes water. I see her that same night outside a bar staggering drunk. — Dave G., Lansing, MI
  • I hired an older woman who dressed impeccably, interviewed like a dream, had some optical reception experience… aaaaaand she had dementia. Couldn’t remember anything from hour to hour. So each day I would show her how to process a credit-card transaction and by the next day not only did she forget how, but she had also forgotten that I ever showed her. She spent her time bashing me to the other employees and staring at the frame boards with her hands behind her back. So yeah. — Nikki G., Oakdale, MN
  • We had an employee who had been here for a short time and she was trained on edging lenses, which is located in the upstairs of our three-year-old building. She did not realize the edger had clogged the drain and none of us realized until water started pouring out of the ceiling, vents, outlets and walls. This was not the only mishap to occur. Needless to say this employee did not stay with our office long, though it felt like a long few months with “Flow” in the office. — Caitlin W., Montrose, CO
  • I signed my staff member up for a webinar for 2 EST. She called me at 3:15, panicked that she couldn’t log in. I had to remind her we were in CST. She missed the webinar two hours previously. — Megan L., Lexington, MS
  • We had an employee steal everything from our cash register after she forgot a camera is trained on the front desk. I simply texted her to put it back and it was back the next day. — Nytarsha T., Zionsville, IN

  • I had a staff member just stop coming to work who then gave an elaborate story that I won’t expand on. She for an entire two weeks said she would be in the next day … but never was. We finally had to contact her by email, text and letter (she stopped taking calls) that she was let go due to job abandonment. Best part is she filed for unemployment instantly and we somehow lost the claim and she was able to collect. They say document, document, document … well we had email transcripts, text transcripts, voicemails, photos of calls we made that were not answered. The multiple warning emails or letters….and we lost. The price of business I guess. — Name withheld upon request.
  • Had the shortest staff member putting away contact lens trials. She could barely reach [the correct shelf to put them away], and next thing you know there are hundreds of contact lenses everywhere. — Jeff G., Spring Valley, CA
  • Telling a patient that we will do our best to work them in and there is no one waiting… — Becki M., Florence, SC
  • The COVID outbreak has been a big one for me because I pride myself on spoiling my staff! They are highly paid, bonused and I hardly ever say no to them. I believed this cultured a loyal environment. Then the virus hit and they left without looking back. Unfortunately, I’m bitter and have to get over it. — Alissa I., Albuquerque, NM
  • I worked so hard on a patient’s frame for days and finally had it where I wanted it, and then my coworker wanted it to be just a bit better—and melted the lens. — Star T., St. George, UT
  • Once had a newer staff member come and get me because she thought the “air puff” machine must be broken because it was reading 99 pressure on the patient’s left eye (normal is 12 to 23 in general). I took one look at the patient and realized she was puffing his GLASS EYE! DUH! I guess I mismanaged the teaching but assumed…. — Scott K., Dover, OH

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

After years covering some of the farther flung corners of the world of business journalism, Heath has more recently focused on covering the efforts of independent eyecare professionals to negotiate a fast-changing industry landscape. Contact him at [email protected]

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