Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Career Circle

I graduated from dental hygiene school in 2007. By the end of that summer, I was already second-guessing my chosen profession. I just didn't love it.

I told myself it would be okay. I'd probably be having kids in just a few years, and then I wouldn't be working at all. It's just cleaning teeth. Surely I can clean teeth for a few years.

That's what I told myself.

Fast forward to 2010, and I realized we weren't in the kind of situation that would allow me to stay home full time at any point in the near future. Plus, I kind of liked having extra money to do fun stuff. International travel? Yes, please!

Knowing that I'd have to continue working, I decided to go back and get my MBA. If I was going to have to keep a job, I at least wanted to do something more fulfilling than just clean teeth. So I set myself on the fast track to an MBA. I took 15 hours of graduate level courses in the evenings after work. I would leave for the dental office at around 6:30 a.m. (it was a long commute), and not return home from class until around 9:45 p.m.  I pretty much only used my house for sleeping. My husband and I hung out on the weekends. That was my life.

I fell in love with business. I fell in love with it so much that I wanted to continue my studies. I wanted to do research and teach business at a university. So I applied for my PhD.  And I got several offers for interviews.

Then one night, I decided I wasn't going to interview. I didn't feel like it was the right time for me to start a multi-year doctoral program. I had baby fever.

A month later, I was pregnant.

That's when I realized that I was bound and determined to take my business knowledge and start a business of my own. It was the only way I could see that it was possible for me to stay home with my baby and still bring in the income our family needed.

I won't even begin to list all the biz ideas I came up with and test drove between the summer of 2011 and the summer of 2012. They weren't all total flops (many of them were, yes, but not ALL of them). Unfortunately, $100 here and $50 there doesn't cut it.

So in June, I decided to get a traditional job again. Which brings me back to dental hygiene.

I knew I didn't love it, but I couldn't think of a single other job that allows me the flexibility and pay that I get from dental hygiene. It's a good, solid profession. So I went with it... dragging my feet the whole way.

But the position I found isn't just any ole dental hygiene position. I'm working for a young dentist, who just purchased his very first practice from an older doctor who recently passed away. It hasn't been updated since the 70s, and there wasn't a computer in the whole place. A single typewriter sat in the corner, and the patients used spit bowls because there wasn't even any suction or water connected to the dental chairs.

My role is to work as a dental hygienist, yes, but also to essentially help him remodel and rebuild this practice to its maximum potential. He needs me to manage the staff that stayed on, implement systems, put financial goals into place, help with marketing, and bring the place back into the current century. So it looks like I'm putting that MBA to use after all.

And dare I say, I kind of like it.

I never thought it would be possible for me to enjoy working as a dental hygienist again, but I do. I feel like I have a purpose here. It's good for me.

And I find that I'm much happier at home now, too. I still get to spend 4 days a week with my little guy, and I'm no longer running myself ragged during those 4 days trying to find a way to earn a sustainable income from home. I seriously feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

This all just dawned on me last week. Until then, I'd still been thinking of this job as a temporary fix until I could find something I really wanted to do. But maybe I've found it.

And now I can be like everyone else and ENJOY my downtime. In fact, I've almost worked my way through the first 6 seasons of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. I have time to watch TV!

And wouldn't you know it, I'm blogging! Right now! Look! And hopefully I can find some time to read again, too. Blogs, books, magazines, whatever, I need the written word.

All I know is that it feels good to feel settled again. I feel like I know who I am as a mom, but also as a working woman, and a wife, and a friend. I'm finding myself again. It's nice.


  1. That is so awesome that you found something that works for your schedule and uses both your degrees! I'm glad you have the down time too. I think that is a really important piece of the puzzle.

  2. Glad to hear things are working out for you and you found your happy again!! And glad to see you blogging :)

  3. Sounds like it's perfect for you! Glad you're back to blogging:)

  4. We never seem to know exactly where we'd be happiest, but some how life always seems to put us exactly where we need to be. Glad such a weight has been lifted :)

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