Most of you know I have generalized anxiety disorder. This is not new. Once a quarter, I see a doctor who prescribes the smallest amount of Xanax in the history of mankind.
(I am better off drinking my way through a panic attack. Wait, no, that’s wrong.)
Last December, my doctor told me that he was leaving his practice. He seemed pretty upset. I thought he had cancer. Or maybe fibromyalgia. What the hell do I know? I assume the worst. That’s how my mind works. I have anxiety.
Turns out he had an inappropriate relationship with another patient.
No, the patient wasn’t me.
Yes, I am shocked. I mean, sorta shocked. When it comes to shit-and-shenanigans happening at work, nothing surprises me.
I only found out because I was doing research on a new doctor. I don’t believe in Yelp reviews or crowdsourced feedback. I always check licenses on the state medical board’s website. Out of nowhere, I was compelled to look up my former doctor. His license has been suspended for a year.
You know, some of us make serious mistakes in our career. Moments where we lose our shit and make poor decisions. We might get reprimanded or fired, but no one really knows.
But what happens if you are a licensed professional — doctor, lawyer, dentist, pharmacist — and you make a personal mistake that impacts your career? A lawyer who gets a third DUI? A therapist busted for possession of a controlled substance? A dentist who falls in love with a patient?
Unfortunately, the bar is higher for some people.
When you are accountable to a professional board with a code of ethics, you are your job. The professional becomes personal pretty quickly. Your career isn’t the same as someone who works for Taco Bell or Dominos Pizza. If you make poor choices and your license is suspended or revoked, you can’t just walk into another establishment and go back to work.
And that’s what happened to my doctor.
There are two sides to every story, which is why licensing boards have hearings and committees. If you make a mistake, you have a right to plead your case. But if the board rules against you, it’s time to move on. Take your lumps. Apologize. Make amends. And then live your life in service.
You should shift the balance so that the biggest mistake of your life isn’t your legacy.
Or you can go work at Taco Bell like the rest of us schlubs. No board certification required.