Every career stage has its own difficulties. And, you thought trying to figure out the ropes as a resident was bad? Well, working as a new board-certified radiologist in your career of interest is no different. Just like you have in the past, you will worry about both the quality and quantity of your work. So, how do you know what you are doing is enough to make a good impression on your future partners and colleagues? Some would say that if you have to ask this question, you are probably not reading enough. But, I think that answer is way too simplistic. Instead of relying on aphorisms, let’s go through some work expectations for completing enough studies at each of the early stages, both during the first few months and years prior to starting as a partner in a practice.
First few months
At the very beginning of your first employment opportunity, most practices tend to give their new employees a bit of more leeway (although not all!). Rather than focusing on quantity, most practices would want you to concentrate your efforts on maintaining the quality of your work. That being said, if you garner a reputation of working as slow as a slug, that is not likely to do wonders for your likelihood of getting to become a partner or a long-term employee within a practice. Most practices have unstated minimum work expectations. And as a new employee, you should expect to try to take as much work as you can reasonably muster so long as you are not overdoing it and you are not sacrificing the quality of your work.
Within reason, you should be trying to always help out by taking extra cases, performing as many procedures as you can, and becoming the “invaluable go-to guy or gal”. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in the mind frame of “that is not my responsibility”. Of course, if the folks that run the practice are assigning you to duties that you have not trained for and cannot complete, you need to say something. But for the most part, you should be welcoming the additional responsibilities and expectations that the owners have given you.
So, what are some signs that you are not reading enough to maintain your own weight and meet practice work expectations at this point? If you notice the partners are frustrated that they have to take over much of your work because you are not working fast enough, well then maybe you need to think about taking it up a notch. Fortunately, most practices, however, will give you a little bit of leeway at this point in your career.
First Few Years
After the initial probation period, you really do have to think about whether you are keeping up with the appropriate amount of RVUs and meeting work expectations. No longer can you rest on your laurels because you are the new gal in town. It’s not just about quality anymore!
At this point, your colleagues are expecting you to pull your own weight by completing your assigned lists for which you were hired. In addition, you should be helping out with others, If the day ends at 5 pm and you can help others complete their work after this time, by all means, go ahead. Especially, when you have your sights on partnership, you should definitely put your best efforts forward. At most practices, your performance still counts toward your chances of your group adding you to their fold.
Which candidates will your practice cut during the first few years? Essentially, any partnership track employee who did not fulfill the expectations of their initial reasons for hiring. If you feel that this includes you in this category, beware!
In addition, those folks on the chopping block include employees that cannot adapt to workload changes and work expectations. Practices are not stagnant. Rather, you can’t expect to read the same amount of studies in any given year. Working conditions can become busier or your practice may add new modalities and procedures. So, always make sure to ask if you are keeping up with their expectations even after your first few months. You are not quite at the end of the tunnel until the group has officially voted you in!
Final Thoughts On Work Expectations
Working at a job where you intend to stay at for years is more of a marathon than a sprint. Therefore, your mentality needs to be one of “what can I add to the practice?” rather than “why should I do extra work?” or “it’s not my job!” If you maintain this attitude toward your work, you will not only form good habits of employment but you will think of your role as part of a team effort, not just pulling for oneself. And in the end, that is what most partnerships are looking for. So, go forth and put your best foot forward. Then, you too will find success!