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"You will never change what you tolerate." ~ Joel Osteen Disturbing comments in a closed online group are breathing life into that statement. This week, thirteen male fourth-year dental students were suspended from all clinical activities. As if our dental profession was deficient in relevant material to promote mistrust from within it, to surprisingly hit a whole new set of dysfunctional standards outside of it.
When writing this week’s editor's note on the recent scandal, the thought was to revisit our online image and how it can impact your career, now and in the future. #SMH!! Why soften this blow to our profession? Whether you are currently a student or experienced professional, it’s likely that similar groups are engaging in discussions that breed a concoction of toxicity, but sweeten it with an ounce of positivity and world peace intentions. The existence of online groups isn’t the problem; adversely affecting another person’s participation in them or promoting obscenities as acceptable topics are.
What would happen if we faced this adversity with a fierce commitment to set expectations which are often unspoken, or protocols in our own groups that many of us are currently involved in? Perhaps that is exactly where change may happen. Step back and view your groups’ conversations. Do they contribute to how you would best treat your patients, employers, employees or co-workers? Are you growing as a leader?
Are you going to tolerate or participate in discussions that do not promote the positive professional or personal growth of a colleague, mentor, student or basically any human being who is a member?
This isn’t only about “boys being boys.” I remember a few years ago, a dental hygienist made the cover of a magazine. She looked gorgeous. In a time to celebrate her achievements in our profession, I was personally and professionally saddened by the relentless comments on the blouse she chose to wear. It was like reading an episode of mean girls, only it featured fellow RDHs!! Was this scandalous, no. Was it hurtful and did it adversely affect that colleague’s participation in the group … I’m saying yes.
What’s a solution? Align yourself with accountability, awareness and acceptance of consequences when you make a less than stellar choice. Be bold enough to rise up out of any mediocrity. How you continue to show up reveals whether you’ve grown up!
“The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity." ~ Colin Powell