Transparency - A Case of Poor Judgment?

We've all heard of the saying "sunlight is the best disinfectant." But in real life, transparency is hard to find, especially in our line of work. I'll give you an example - I perform interventional procedures on a daily basis, yet I have zero clue how much the materials, staff, and room time cost, how much gets charged to the patient and how much the hospital and practice get reimbursed. I'm frustrated by the lack of transparency in so many things in life, so I try to be transparent with you on FPMD. But a recent experience caused me to question - have I made a mistake?

The FPMD Experience Thus Far

If you have followed Future Proof MD for any period of time, you know me. You know what I look like, you know where I work, you know what my chosen medical specialty (and subspecialty) is. I don't broadcast my name, address and telephone number. But the truth is, if you wanted to find out, it's probably not that difficult.

Hanging out with fellow physician money bloggers at FinCon 17

I chose to blog non-anonymously a long time ago. I want you to know I'm a real medical trainee faced with equally real financial challenges just like you. I've benefited greatly from my internet persona as a money blogger. Not only have FPMD been a platform to run my mouth, it has also become an additional source of income and a common link connecting me with other medical trainees and physician bloggers. In short, running FPMD has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for me.

A New Experience

Recently I experienced the first real piece of negative feedback regarding my endeavors as a physician money blogger. For those of you paying attention, you know I am a radiology resident in my final year of residency heading into a 1 year interventional radiology fellowship. As such, I recently started receiving calls and emails from recruiters. I decided to reply to one such email by sending an inquiry to the president of a radiology group who may be a potential employer. If you have corresponded with me via email, you know that my email signature highlights FPMD (Yes I'm a little proud). Unlike most people who ignore email signatures, said radiologist actually followed the link in my signature and checked out my little corner of the web. That's the good news. The bad news - this person viewed my Net Worth Updates as "less than good judgement" and "might be turning away more potential employers" than I may realize.

The Knee-jerk Reaction

As you can imagine, as a medical trainee who have just started looking at jobs, such negative feedback regarding what has been a constant positive in my life was quite a shock. My first reaction was to eliminate anything that may alienate potential employers. You may have noticed a temporary absence of all of the Net Worth Updates from the blog. My apologies for that.

Lessons Learned

Now I've had a little time to process that initial shock. I've restored all of the hidden posts. Of course, I have learned a few lessons from this experience as well:

  1. I REALLY appreciate receiving negative feedback. While objective feedback is preferred over subjective feedback, I still appreciate it nonetheless. Because radical candor is difficult to find. If you don't know what "radical candor" is, check out this video.
  2. What is considered "good" vs "less than good" judgement will be inherently subjective. From my perspective, publishing the quarterly net worth updates allows me to show you that I'm taking my own advice and practicing what I preach. In addition, I'm not the only blogger publicizing my net worth - even though I may be one of the poorest. 
  3. You can't please everyone. Following the "poor judgement" feedback, I had a brief crisis of confidence. After speaking with several of my mentors, both personal and professional, I've decided that if a potential employer does not support the educational mission of FPMD, then they are not going to be the right fit for me. Sure I'm trying to market myself to a potential employer, but that sales pitch goes both ways. I'm not sure how this decision will play out. Only time will tell if this indeed proves to be poor judgement. I guess if I end up with no job, it's probably time to say goodbye to FPMD.

Future Proof, MD

Dr. Bo Liu is an aspiring radiologist-in-training and the founder and editor of the White Coat Money Blog.  He has an interest in interventional radiology and helping his medical colleagues get ahead in this mad world of medicine and money.  When he's not crushing the list at the PACS station or typing up your next favorite blog post, you can usually find him at the local badminton club, movie theater or the most recently opened restaurant.