Would You Run Off With Your Best Friend’s Wife?

I was reminded this week about an old business subject that I consider to be a “taboo” subject in dentistry.

And that’s the concept of stealing or poaching staff from other dental offices.

I’ve a theory that this sort of behaviour is fraught with danger.

A theory, that in theory, this may look like a great idea, but the end result is often tears.

And sorrow, and regret.

The reason that I was reminded of this thought was because this week a colleague of mine experienced an act or request of poaching.

And you know sometimes in life when you’re reminded about something that you think you’d “shut out” of your memory, and then all of a sudden someone reminds you of that horrid experience?

[Years ago I had a golf game where I unfortunately had to spend the day playing with our golf club’s most disliked member. I’d forgotten all about that day for many years until a friend reminded me recently.]

And so a dental friend of mine was telling me about a team-training day that she recently attended, with her dentist employer, and the team, where the team had to travel to be trained. At this training day the hired dental consultant asked my friend, on more than one occasion, if she’d ever consider relocating, to come and work for him?

And this reminded me of a seminar I attended in 2002 where I took along my fabulous hygienist to a meeting that was primarily attended by more practice principal dentists. And on this day, the course facilitator mentioned privately to me, during a break, to be wary that my hygienist would become the target of offers of employment from other dentists attending.

And sure enough, at the end of the day, my hygienist did report to me that she had fielded a number of poaching offers that day.

It was a funny weird type of recollection, much like the golf memory I just described, because I remember that seminar, and that day because of a number of very positive and inspirational reasons and events that occurred that day.

And so my friend’s very recent poaching experience, and my recollection of the “shut out” memory, raised the thought or belief in my mind about the ethics of the process of “pinching” staff from other dentists.

I once saw the comment on a dental forum where a dentist suggested to a colleague to simply “go along to your competitor’s practice and offer his receptionist $5.00 more per hour to come and work for you”.

Would that idea even work?

Who would even believe that this was a viable long-term solution?

And yet the comment was offered up in all seriousness.


Yes, really!

Away from dentistry for a moment, would you consider this would work if your girlfriend left you?

Would you just go and “make an offer” to a girl in another relationship? Just because you were now available, and in your mind, you were a better prospect than the boyfriend she currently had?

In my mind, if a girl was willing to boyfriend-hop to you, then I’d be thinking that once she found your weakness, she’d probably just boyfriend-hop right away from you at some later date down the track?

And just like there’s right and wrong ways to go about employee replacing, there’s also right and wrong ways about girlfriend replacing as well.

And I just would never entertain that thought.

Of poaching.



[I know, there’s the classic story of Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and Patti Harrison, where unbeknown to Patti, her husband George’s best friend Eric fell in love with her. Patti was already the subject of Harrison’s classic “Something”. When Eric presented “Layla” to Patti, the rest, as they say, is history. Patti later left George and married Eric. The Clapton-Boyd marriage ended after eight years.]

The world is a heavily populated planet.

If you need staff, if you need a wife, there’s got to be someone out there in the big wide world to take the position without having to poach from someone you know.

If you open a door, run up a flag, or run an advert, someone will come along.

You don’t need to cut your neighbour’s grass.

It’s the tenth commandment.

“Thou shalt not covet.”

In the case of my friend, she felt the employment advances were out of place and kind of creepy.

As you would.

And I think it reflected badly on the poacher, as it should, and his image, in the marketplace.

Did the poacher know?
Did he care?

Who knows?

In my mind, there’s a right and a wrong way.

And poaching?

That’s just wrong….


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