Since 1983, when Jerry and I opened the first office of my practice, we have had the distinct honor of being an employer to many people. We consider ourselves to be good employers. In addition to competitive pay, we offer medical benefits to our full-time counselors and allowances for gas and car upkeep.

I believe that you have to treat your employees right and compensate them well. If you don’t, they will leave you—and they should! After all, this is America, the land of the free . . . the land of opportunity. No one during my 30 years of being an employer has ever left because of poor working conditions or less pay than their counterparts at other agencies. We are proud of this fact and know that it is because of the way we view our relationship with our employees.

We want to take care of our people fairly and equitably so that they will be happy in their jobs and stay. High turnover is bad for any business so we minimize it by doing what we think is right by them: taking care of them financially and giving them opportunities for professional growth.

Though we do our best to live up to our employees’ expectations, we won’t be held hostage by anyone. This is a two-way relationship and both sides have a set of responsibilities to the other. My mantra is this: “If you are unhappy, if you do not think you are getting paid enough, then find another job. You owe it to yourself. I will give you a going away party.”

There are more than 150 million people in the U.S. workforce, which makes for a huge group of people who are either employees or employers. Many are both! Each group would do well to bear in mind these simple truths about the relationship between employee and employer. Do right by your employees or risk losing them. Be happy with your employment or seek other opportunities. It really is that simple.

Some would argue that times are different now given current unemployment rates in our country. I don’t think that poor economic conditions should be an excuse for an employer to lower their standards, though I am sure many have taken advantage of the situation and done just that. It’s much harder to find other opportunities if you are unhappy as an employee right now too. But I still believe that each party should think long term and do the right thing for their employees and for themselves.

Are you happy in your current job? Are you doing what you need to do to keep your employees satisfied? How have economic conditions impacted the relationship between you and your employer or employees? Share your thoughts.

-Dr. Erica Miller