Root, Root, Root For the Home Team

October 27, 2017

Own your role in your radiology practice.

I’ve never been much of a sports fan. Maybe it’s because I had too much other stuff to do as a kid, and/or wasn’t very athletic myself.

I tried watching a bit during college, med school, and residency, if only because more than a few of my peers did and it seemed worthwhile to be on their wavelength. Also because I determined that, even if a game held zero interest for me, watching the antics of excited and/or frustrated fans was often fine entertainment in and of itself.

Paying attention for long enough, I did develop an appreciation for the sport of it all…but I drew the line at caring for the fortunes of specific players or teams. Staring at them on a TV screen and wishing that this one won or that one lost just never made any sense to me.

I don’t choose to get emotionally invested in something over which I have zero control. On the other hand, if I’m, say, personally playing tennis, I might be happy to try my best and win (or frustrated to lose and feel I could have done better).

I see similar thinking in a lot of employed (or otherwise non-Partner-level) radiologists, and indeed other folks who don’t have some sort of formal ownership in their occupational situation. They have their job, do their work, receive a salary, and maybe even sometimes a bonus or raise, but that’s where it ends.

From their perspective, they don’t see “a piece of the action,” or have a say in the big decisions. Thus, no control over the operation, and no point in getting emotionally invested in it. Some even make a point of it, almost a tit-for-tat: Hey, you won’t give me a seat at the table? Watch me not care about what happens here. I can always find another job if this place doesn’t do well.

The last bit, of course, might be entirely true, especially if the job market is favorable at the moment. On the other hand, if there are no other significant dissatisfactions with the current gig, why even mentally position oneself with such a hypothetical ultimatum?

It’s not quite the same thing as emotionally distancing yourself from the vagaries of the local sports franchise, so you won’t feel inclined to scream at the TV when “your” shortstop bobbles the ball and ends the team’s chances to go on to the World Series. Take it as personally as you like, but the shortstop and his team won’t ever know how it affected you, or indeed that you even exist.

Like it or not, if you’re working with a given rad group, you actually are on its team. You might not be an owner, manager, or coach, but that team is your livelihood, and it will strongly impact how others-including different teams you may seek to join in the future-will appraise you.

Similarly, what you do in your role as a member of the rad group will impact its overall success. Others in the group might not openly acknowledge your contribution as opposed to someone else’s, but they’ll know…and you, yourself, certainly will. As long as your team is doing decently, and you’re not standing out as a subpar member of it, chances are that you’ll continue to do at least as well as you have thus far.

So why not embrace your role within it?