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Make an investment--in your relationships

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  • Make an investment--in your relationships

    This is a quote of myself, in a completely different context, but I believe it has universal application:

    “Other than perhaps your intellect/talent, your relationships are your most important and valuable asset, in your career, in your personal life, and in the community.”

    Since I have officially resigned from my private practice position earlier this month, I have realized the value of making personal connections with others in my specialty and in related enterprises, inside and outside of medicine. I never sought out to build a network, as such, but 20 years of going to optional meetings of various sorts (clinical and non-clinical), leading a local subspecialty organization, getting involved in a national specialty for-profit organization, being the physician liaison for the Hospital's Development Board, keeping in touch with colleagues who went to the "dark side" (managed care), being available and willing to talk to anyone needing help and advice in their career or practice, and doggedly maintaining relationships with friends and colleagues from med school, residency and fellowship have already provided me ample opportunities and leads for future professional directions.

    Nearly everything I listed above was done not because I had an ulterior motive, that I was hoping for people to offer me assistance or a job or something else down the road. I did these things because I am genuinely interested, curious, and enjoy cultivating relationships. When I look around at my physician colleagues, I do not see many people actively doing these things. People get into their own professional lives and then often retreat to their personal lives when the work day is done. Medical training has historically selected for and groomed docs to be self-sufficient. If I had any influence on choosing or developing future physicians, I would encourage them to, at every level, seek to make genuine connections with people along the way.

    At any rate, I strongly believe that it is critical and worthwhile to make the investment in relationships. It could be the most important (and fulfilling) investment you make.

    PS If someone wants me to expand further on this point with more specific examples and techniques, I would be happy to entertain an invite for a guest blog.

  • #2
    I couldn't agree any more with this sentiment. My group (private pathology) tries its best to network and be present on as many committees as possible within the hospital. We purposefully eat together in the doctor's lounge to increase visibility. As a behind the scenes specialty, we find it imperative to do so to keep clients (physicians) happy and so they know the people to talk with about their lab tests or biopsies. I would imagine this applies to most other specialties, especially those that contract with hospitals (vs hospital employees).

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