Dream Job When You Were Little/ What is it Now?
Most kids have something they really want to be when they grow up. I can’t recall having an occupation I claimed. Of course, I thought it would be great to be famous, I just didn’t know how I’d get there (although my Annie karaoke skills were pretty amazing). I did start the neighborhood N.D.D.S – Nancy Drew Detective Society, complete with a homemade magnifying glass made of a lid jar and a plastic covering. Ok so there were only 2 of us in my society, but I was ready to solve any neighborhood crime if it so happened to come about thank you very much. A Private Investigator sounded fun, but so did being a vet (but sick animals would be too much), author, pro basketball player (this was pre WNBA), and anthropologist (because I saw a movie once where it was a big adventure).
It makes sense from that list that I would end up being a Dental Hygienist right? 🙂 I always enjoyed my dental visits as a child ( must have been the prizes), but it came down to me not knowing what I wanted to do. Must.Have.Plan. So this was one that seemed easy (HA!), and where I heard the salary was decent and hours could be flexible for starting a family. When I got into a serious car accident as a senior in High School and ended up needing extensive dental work, I realized how important the people are within that field, and my decision was made.
Saying school was intense is a major understatement. Had I known how hard it would be I probably would not have gone. If I wanted that intensity I would have gone for a job where at the end I’d make six figures off the bat. But I digress :), somehow I got through school (thank you Jesus) and the nice part about my profession is right out of school you make a really nice wage. Especially since you were paying to practice hygiene for the last 3 years in school, and now not only am I getting paid for it, but I don’t have anyone breathing down my neck.
12 years later I’m still here, still hoping for those kiddos (which is the main reason I got into this field!). There is a lot I really like about my job. The relationships I build with patients are great, the hours are pretty nice, and I do find it strangely therapeutic removing calculus (tartar). At times I really make a difference too. I have caught oral cancer early on a great guy, who thanks me every time I see him with a big smile for saving his life. Also, I really am good at what I do. I have developed a style that’s gentle but thorough, and that most rave about.
That being said there are definite down sides to dental hygiene. The great hourly wage when you get out of school does not seem that great a decade later, it’s physically and mentally exhausting at times, and every once in a while I do get grossed out by findings in the oral cavity! I’m blessed to be doing what I do, but I have recently discovered the importance of tapping into my passions to keep me content in my career. So I will keep on writing every day in hopes that one day it may become what I do “when I grow up”. 🙂