A friend of mine recently got invited to be a part of a prestigious dental organization and posted it online, not knowing whether or not he should accept the invitation. The response from the members of his orthodontic social community ranged from apathy to near contempt for a genuinely prestigious non-ortho organization they clearly knew little about. I was more than a little upset that my peers would take such a cynical approach rather than simply patting him on the back and giving him an “attaboy”.
In my friend’s aforementioned post, when he asked what to do with the invitation, one person even went so far as to show a picture of a dumpster. Really? Is that how we commend our friends for being invited into any organization? How about starting with congratulations?
The bigger problem is that I see this sort of response a lot. Here’s a simple example of we’ve all seen many times:
Dr. S: “Hey, I just passed my board exam. I’m board certified.”
Dr. T: “Why would you do that?”
Like 50 cent from In Da Club: “And you should love it, way more then you hate it…you mad? I thought that you’d be happy I made it”
Ok, I get it. You’re skeptical when it comes to organized dentistry. So, let’s take your friend’s new practice. He posts pictures of it online and before saying “beautiful” you tell him how his consult room is too small. Well, he did ask for your opinion, right?
When did everything get so negative? Aren’t these our friends and shouldn’t we be happy for them? Is that just the nature of the online community because you don’t have to look someone in the eye when you say something?
Please don’t for a second think that I’ve never done this. I do my absolute best to come from a position of abundance and if you’ve experienced it from me, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. However, what I’m describing is widespread, and it kills me to watch people who asked for an opinion get beaten up or have others just vent at them.
Worse yet, I get messages all the time from younger doctors who tell me they’re afraid to post because of the anger and hostility they find on these threads. It’s not strong opinions that worry them; they are just afraid of being attacked by folks who spew nothing but vitriol.
All I’m trying to say, and this is aimed at the younger doctors reading this, I get the fact that you’re saddled with a lot of debt and that you’ve been stepped on by a ton of folks on your way to becoming an orthodontist. Maybe you’re out of school a few years and get the impression that you’ve finally “made it” because you’re making a great living and feel you have the right to act like this. Maybe like a modern version of the Pink Floyd song “Happiest Days of Our Lives” you’re getting beaten up in other parts of your life and need to take it out on an easy FB target. Maybe, just maybe, you have no idea you’re even doing it.
And if you’re the one who got invited to the organization or passed the exam or built the office or is simply looking for advice, don’t let the online idiots get you down. Many are jealous of you or never faced your situation before and just feel compelled to say something, anything to stay relevant to the conversation.
No matter the reason, I’m asking everyone (including myself) to try not to “go negative” when we can either keep our mouths shut or say something helpful or positive. There’s way too much negativity out there in the cyber (and real) world. Let’s remember that we’re all peers and try to help each other.
So, when you’re friend posts that they just got their board certification, how about a simple: “Awesome, way to go. I knew you could do it.” Period.
All the best,
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