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The Best Way to End Burnout … and More of Your Questions for October

Instead of working less, maybe you need to work more … but on something that matters.




The Best Way to End Burnout … and More of Your Questions for October

How do you prevent burnout? (And please don’t tell me not to work so much!)

OK, how about we suggest you work more, and do it for free? We’re being only partly facetious. Pro bono-type work at a free clinic or even a foreign mission is a great way to revitalize your enthusiasm for eyecare. Getting away from the minute-by-minute routine of your clinic, and possibly thousands of miles away from your daily commute, also lets you see things in a new light. Organizations to contact include Combat Blindness International (, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (, Lions Club International (, Sightsavers (, Helen Keller International (, Orbis ( and the Brien Holden Vision Institute (

Last year, we hit our goal of reaching $1 million in sales for the first time. Are there any special considerations to be aware of at this point of my business’s growth?

“Welcome to the Badlands,” says Greg Crabtree, a CPA and small business expert who has been helping entrepreneurs through this stage of their growth for 30 years. Despite your impressive growth, you’re entering risky territory. If you don’t have sufficient capital, you’re going to perish or be forced to scale back. The biggest danger comes from labor expenses. At the $1 million mark, it is no longer possible to wear all the hats, taking care of sales, marketing, IT, finance, customer service, HR and so on. You’ll have to hire help. But if they aren’t as efficient as you, or take too long geting up to speed, the higher payroll may wipe out your profit. Crabtree’s advice is to hold onto your sales duties so you’ve got a finger on the store’s pulse and an eagle eye on your pre-tax profit margin. If it drops below 5 percent, quickly make adjustments, or you could be in trouble, he says.

I read about a dentist being sued for rejecting a job candidate because of a headscarf. Does someone’s right to religious attire always trump store policy?

As a general rule, if an employee holds a sincere religious belief that affects his or her job, the employer must try to accommodate the worker if it won’t cause the business too much hardship, says Larry McNamara of the law firm Spencer, Crain, Cubbage, Healy & McNamara in Dallas, TX. In a situation involving a headscarf, you could refuse to allow a Muslim employee to wear a face-covering niqab on the grounds that customers look for visual clues such as smiles, etc., but not prohibit the wearing of a face-revealing version, like a hijab or chador. Note, in recent years, the courts have been more sympathetic to protecting the right to religious freedom.



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