Recently on the Section’s listserv, a member was grumping about the dues and how little she got in return. I have grown weary of grumpiness, hoping that colleagues with this mindset will jump out of themselves and take up a broader perspective. J.F. Kennedy’s famous admonition, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” seems to have passed them by. The common good derived from developing a close-knit community of individuals with similar interests and concerns seems to some to be of less value—a lower priority.
Why is this? I believe this situation is a result of not making a personal investment in the professional community. Maybe one’s work situation is less than ideal, and the ill feelings it generates spreads to infect one’s professional perspectives. Maybe individuals have not been exposed to role models who demonstrate active professional involvement. Yet so many physical therapists are exceptional people, involving themselves in their professional association and all the while gaining the benefits of service to others. There are many role models around that demonstrate the rewards of this personal investment.
I have trouble fathoming why someone would not gladly pay the dues to have the opportunity to interact with these professional colleagues. I have reaped the benefits of learning from them, seeking their counsel when I faced dilemmas, being inspired to become an even better professional and yes they bring me friendship, joy, and laughter. Despite economic hard times, and yes, I understand that at times it may be difficult to get the money together for dues, put a priority on renewing your commitment to the community of physical therapy professionals.
Grumpy folks just need to be more invested. It is hard to be a public grump, people will either ignore you or give you feedback that causes you to pause, think, and search for a way to become happier with yourself and your profession. We clearly need people to assume responsibilities in their professional organizations. We need individuals who are ready to get the most from their membership by sharing with others. If you get involved, you have little time for grumpiness.