A while back I wrote a piece called Orthodontists are like Taxi Drivers but I need to update that sentiment given recent experience. You see, here in Athens there are plenty of taxi cabs around – you see them everywhere sitting idly doing nothing – but it’s almost impossible to get a cab in some areas unless you’re willing to ride it all the way to the airport. If you just want to go across town or to the Acropolis or to your hotel the majority of taxi drivers will refuse to give you a ride and make no apology about doing so. The taxi drivers here stand around in groups (with their backs to those trying to hail a ride) to complain about customers who don’t understand, clients who don’t properly value what they do and alternative delivery models like Uber “ruining the profession” instead of JUST DOING THE WORK THAT IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM.
What does this have to do with orthodontists? Everything! There is plenty of work to be done, orthodontists are sitting around idly (and they readily admit this on the orthodontic FB groups) but we still refuse to do anything that we don’t believe is worthy of our time/effort/prestige or anything that we consider less than ideal (as if ideal is really achievable). Furthermore we blame new delivery channels, uneducated consumers, anyone with an opinion that differs from the orthodontic groupthink for all our difficulties while we cry about our sorry lot in life, our student debt and a perceived lack of respect. Seriously? How long will this go on? How long will we collectively pine for the good ole days? When will the profession wake up and do the work that people want done for a price the average consumer can afford? Based on the evidence, I’m afraid it will still be quite some time and shame on us for that.