What is it you do, anyway?

by Carolyn on October 5, 2009

Seriously.  I love this cat.

Love. This. Cat.

I’m going to remain light here for today’s post again.  I’m riding a high after my little girl’s birthday party, which paled in comparison with my usual party planning endeavors but was spectacular nonetheless.  There’s nothing like a house full of family and friends to make a party successful.  My Claire looked absolutely gorgeous in her little red dress.  She loved all her presents.  And watching her devour her birthday cake was priceless.  It seems she’s a chocolate girl just like her mommy. ;) Look here:

Have the camera and we're ready for the party!

Have the camera and we're ready for the party!

Are these all for me?

Are these all for me?

Not so sure about this.....

Not so sure about this.....

Apparently, she got over her hesitation.

Apparently, she got over her hesitation.

But I’ve been thinking about something lately.  There’s now about 80 or so of you reading daily and I feel quite lucky to have so many new friends.  Some of you simply come here for the information I provide, but I think some of you (as I find I do with the blogs I read) feel like you’ve gotten to know me too.  I mean really, if you have been reading for a while or have peeled through my archives, you actually do know me quite well.  Better even than most of the people I actually interact with on a day to day basis.

But although you know all about my family dynamics and my innermost feelings, there is a large part of who I am that I’ve not yet written about.  I talked around it in this post here, but I never actually wrote what it is I do.  I’m not a writer by profession.  I can’t even include my writing here as a part time job (notice the lack of monetization).  But seriously, I do have a job.  Are you ready for it?

I’m a dental hygienist.

How anticlimactic.  But I have to tell you that I absolutely l-o-v-e my job.  It’s not what I dreamed of doing growing up.  To be honest, I chose it based simply on income potential and years of education required.  I was in a bad place and needed to set myself straight.  I sat down with my local Community College’s course calendar and flipped straight to the income surveys.  It came down to dental hygiene or welding.  And after long, hard consideration, hygiene won.

It still surprises me how much I really enjoy it.  How my hasty decision worked out so well.  I can honestly say that I’m happy each morning that I go to work.  (Really!) But I was thinking the other day….What makes it such a good fit for me is that it fits entirely with my personality.  And my ACOD tendencies.  Here’s why:

  1. I work within a team.  It’s just like a family.  Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t.  Usually we get along, but sometimes we don’t.  But at the end of the day, we all love each other and recognize that we all have to work together to get the job done right.  We work synergistically and although not all offices feel quite the same way mine does, I would find it difficult to work any other way.
  2. As a hygienist in general dental practice, I’m number 2 in command along with my fellow hygienists.  As with any workplace, there is a higherarchy in the office.  I’m number 2 for two reasons: my credentials and dental knowledge should be second only to the dentist, and I am an income powerhouse for the practice, again second only to the D.D.S.  It’s so fitting for any child of divorce.  I have lots of responsibility, just like I’ve always had in life, without being the boss. When someone is upset, they get directed to the head honcho, not number 2 – which is awesome if you ask me.  And hey, nobody ever died from getting their teeth cleaned.  Not that you know of, anyway.  Hmm?  What was that?  You’re tooth is really hurting?  You’re really upset?  Sure, sure.  Let me go get the dentist for you. ;)
  3. I get to make idle prattle with people all day long. I am a queen of all things superficial and this particular aspect suits me so well.  I get to practice making a comment about a weekend getaway turn into an hour long chat.  And this skill is a good thing.  It puts people at ease and in this setting is considered an asset as opposed to a social hindrance.
  4. My OCD and perfectionistic tendencies aren’t just tolerated.  They’re celebrated! Getting every micrometer of enamel free of plaque and tarter makes me downright awesome at what I do.  I get to wash my hands 219 times a day and that’s considered frigging fantastic.  I have to write down every scrap of relevant information neatly and succinctly in a little chart and that challenge sometimes makes me giddy with excitement.  What could be considered borderline mental makes for one amazing dental hygienist.
  5. I know lots of information on a topic which is strangely obscure yet universal. I get to teach people.  And I love it. Empowering people with knowledge regarding the consequences and benefits of their own behaviours and allowing them to make their own decisions regarding change is fab.u.lous.  In my book anyway.  It’s much along the same lines as what I try to do here sometimes.  Minus the teeth and gingivitis, of course.
  6. And definitely one of my favorite aspects of my profession – work stays at work.  I can’t bring teeth (except my own, of course) home with me.  Home time is for being with my family and blogging.  That’s it. :D Yeah, I need a maid.

So there you have it.  Another aspect of me coming into focus.  I hope you enjoyed this view.

And on a heavier note….If you have a  personal experience with PAS or alienation, please go to the community forum and tell me about it.  The last installment on my PAS series is coming soon and I’d love to learn from your experiences too.


{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 La Belle Mere October 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm


Congrats on your growing readership!

I to haven’t really mentioned my job on my blog. But mine really IS too dull for words. I sell office chairs. Yep. That’s about as exciting as it gets. So I’ve kinda left it at that!!

Thanks for a great insight into your world though! I feel like I know you better still!

.-= La Belle Mere´s last blog ..Creative Writing Workshop =-.


2 Carolyn October 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Thanks LBM! My readership is still small relatively speaking, but it tells me that I’m headed in the right direction, I hope. And the pressure! When I don’t post I feel like I’m letting them all down!

I never would have guessed you for a chair sales person. I always saw you as a Bond girl! ;) (You know, with a British accent and all)


3 amber October 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Huh. I never thought I’d say this, but that sounds like kind of a cool job…it’s good you found something you enjoy so much! But, can you answer a question for me? When the hygienist asks a question and then sticks a tool in your mouth, are you supposed to try to answer? I never know…

Stopping by from SITS. Great blog!
.-= amber´s last blog ..Real Moms Don’t Get Sick. =-.


4 Carolyn October 5, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Any good hygienist should know that you only talk about things that require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer while working so that you can just say either ‘uh-huh’ or ‘uh-uh’. Otherwise wait until your mouth is clear to really talk. I have some patients that I absolutely love to gab with, but each minute we’re talking is time I don’t get to spend cleaning! Thanks for stopping by!


5 Liz McLachlan October 5, 2009 at 4:09 pm

LOVE this. I’m so sad that we lost so many years between us, but so fortunate that we have reconnected. Two things stood out for me (besides Claire’s awesome party & cake!) – being in a bad place and needing to make decisions – WELDING, that made me laugh! And idol chatting…got to love the chatting about nothing. I do it daily but a with purpose though. In the non-profit world, I call myself a professional beggar :)
.-= Liz McLachlan´s last blog ..The Birthday Blues =-.


6 Carolyn October 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Professional begger. You’re too funny, Liz. I’m glad we’ve reconnected too. We need to meet up for coffee one night.


7 Kelly October 5, 2009 at 5:28 pm

She’s so adorable!

Your positive personality shines through in your writing, so I’m not surprised by your profession and love for it. And I’m glad that you do love your job. So many people, like me, are stuck at a job that isn’t enjoyable or fulfilling. It’s so draining!
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..I blame my dad’s bodyguard =-.


8 Carolyn October 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Thanks Kelly. I sure did luck out. And I say ‘luck’ because that’s all it really was.


9 Theta Mom October 5, 2009 at 8:25 pm

OMG, you have to tell me where you got your adorable daughter that red dress! She is too cute!!! And that cake, man she loved that! I am so glad it went so well. I agree with you, ever since I started blogging, you begin to peel away the layers of yourself and you really begin to build relationships with people. Each time I read your blog, I feel like we are having a conversation. Weird, right? But, all so awesome! That’s fantastic that you love your job! You have such a postive outlook on life, it’s totally infectious, so stay that way! :)


10 Carolyn October 5, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Hi Heather! That dress came from Children’s Place, but it was purchased a few years ago. I couldn’t believe how it fit her so perfectly. And yes, reading each other’s work *is* like having a conversation! It’s weird yet oh so fun!


11 Robyn October 5, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Your daughter is a cutie!

I miss my dentist, he retired. :( I haven’t found a dentist and probably never will that I liked as much as him! A dental hygienist is a great job to have, one of my friends is in that career.


12 Carolyn October 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Robyn, you should ask your friend for recommendations for a new dentist for you. It’s always better if you get an inside referral. Just like anything, there are good and bad not so good dentists, and you don’t want to end up at a bad not so good one. The dental community is pretty tight knit and we usually know who you should stay away from and who you should see!


13 Amanda October 6, 2009 at 2:19 am

First of all your daughter is GORGEOUS! That dress is divine (in fact I want the adult version!!!) Happy 1st Birthday!!!

And second A DENTAL HYGIENIST, well slap my thigh and call me Shiela – the things you learn about people!! I had a vision of you as a professional writer for a magazine – well its testament to your writing.

I love visiting your blog – you give me lots to think about – things I haven’t thought about in years to do with my parents divorce. So I thank you from the bottom of my aussie heart!!

(Ive just run and brushed my teeth!!)


14 Carolyn October 8, 2009 at 12:24 am

lol! Thanks Amanda. Both for the compliment to my daughter and to my writing. I’m so glad you enjoy reading here!


15 dysfunctional mom October 6, 2009 at 7:08 am

Happy Birthday to her! I’m visiting from SITS. It’s such a blessing to love your job. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with mine.


16 Carolyn October 8, 2009 at 12:24 am

I am a lucky girl. ;)


17 Tammy October 6, 2009 at 9:42 am

That really IS the ideal job for you! How lucky you are to have found it!

Your daughter looked so beautiful at her party! Looks like it was a good time!
.-= Tammy´s last blog ..Playing Against Type =-.


18 Carolyn October 8, 2009 at 12:25 am

Thanks Tammy. It was fun!


19 Helen McGinn October 6, 2009 at 3:43 pm

It’s a great job! I love my dental hygienist and she loves me (the wine I give her every Christmas is the real reason)….*L*
.-= Helen McGinn´s last blog ..United Breaks Guitars, Calories and other Other Life Factors =-.


20 Carolyn October 8, 2009 at 12:26 am

Hi Helen, thanks for stopping by! I *love* patients like you. Nowhere near enough of mine bring me alcohol. Can you come be my patient?


21 Holly October 6, 2009 at 9:35 pm

i am a chronic flosser… i think i may even have a problem… :-)

i could NOT do your job but i am so glad that there are people such as you that can…


22 Carolyn October 8, 2009 at 12:27 am

I love you for flossing. I might have a problem too. ;)


23 Tammy October 7, 2009 at 8:29 pm

I miss working with you! I think the dental in us never leaves. I have people asking advice in my FSL class and it makes it a challenge for me b/c my teacher expects me to answer en francais! The career is a perfect fit for you.

Happy Birthday Claire! I will never forget her birth!


24 Carolyn October 8, 2009 at 12:28 am

Trust me, I miss you too! Ooh, that would be hard. French dentistry! ;)

That day is something we’ll always share!


25 Yaya October 7, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Lol, I’ve got the Office Space line “What exactly do you do here??” in my head now!

I always wonder how dental hygienists do it. I mean, don’t you deal with some nasty teeth and stanky breath??
.-= Yaya´s last blog ..It’s My Party, I Can Cry If I Want To =-.


26 Carolyn October 8, 2009 at 12:29 am

Love. that. line. And yes, there are nasty teeth and stinky breath but it actually provides a fun challenge. When you see your work completely turn the health of someone’s mouth around, it’s pretty rewarding.

For me, at least. ;) But I may have a problem..see above.


27 Mom of Three October 8, 2009 at 5:23 am

Hi! New to your blog, and enjoyed it! I love #6 on your list.
I see my friend La Belle Mere has been here!
Found you on SITS. Have a great day!


28 Carolyn October 9, 2009 at 8:52 am

Thanks Mom of Three. Glad you stopped by!


29 Typ0 October 8, 2009 at 5:25 am

Hi, stopping by from SITS. :) Fantastic post. I won’t direct you to any of my own dental phobia posts though. LOL


30 Carolyn October 9, 2009 at 8:53 am

hahaha. I’d love to see those! Strangely enough I still have my own dental phobias. I guess the more you know…

Thanks for stopping by!


31 parenting BY dummies October 8, 2009 at 6:57 am

Came over from SITS to check you out! What a sweetie your little girl is; I love that dress! You know I once considered being a dental hygienist, but figured since I can’t even spell the word w/o referring to your post 100 times, it’s maybe not for me. Plus, the inside of people’s mouths sorta gross me out. Kinda like feet Could never be a pedicurist or a podiatrist. I guess I’m just squeamish. Which is funny ’cause I work at the hospital!
.-= parenting BY dummies´s last blog ..The Mama Kat Challenge =-.


32 Carolyn October 9, 2009 at 8:54 am

“figured since I can’t even spell the word w/o referring to your post 100 times, it’s maybe not for me”

Too. Funny.


33 Angelia Sims October 8, 2009 at 4:42 pm

I love your blog, Carolyn! The pictures are too cute! First birthdays are sooo precious!

I am so glad to read this about you. I actually had a very nice dental hygenist, my last visit. She made quite the impression on me with her kindness, and her thoroughness. I will say, I have never been treated as genuine before. I know that is exactly how you are!

Thank you for sharing! Your spirit soars.
.-= Angelia Sims´s last blog ..Part two is coming =-.


34 Carolyn October 9, 2009 at 8:55 am

Thanks Angelia. I’m glad you had a great hygienist last time. I don’t know if we as a collective realize the impact we have on our patients not just by doing a good job and improving their oral health but by being warm and supportive as well.


35 Jayne October 9, 2009 at 4:47 am

Hehe …I’m smiling at the career choices laid out before you: dental hygiene or welding. Crumbs, the welding didn’t appeal then eh?! :)
Seriously, it’s lovely to hear someone who is so happy in their career. That’s a rare gift.

I really like your blog BTW. I’m over here from SITS…case you were wondering. :)
.-= Jayne´s last blog ..The Big Photo Competition =-.


36 Carolyn October 9, 2009 at 8:57 am

It *is* a rare gift and was so by chance for me! I actually did consider the welding thing, but then I thought I’d probably ALWAYS have dirty hands. And I, like all girlies like a nice manicure from time to time. ;)

Thanks for stopping by!


37 Eyes Wide Open October 9, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I always love finding out a little bit more about the bloggers I read all the time. Some of my favorite people are dental hygienists – seriously! And, for the record, I’d let you clean my teeth anytime!!!
.-= Eyes Wide Open´s last blog ..Book Review: Forgive for Good by Dr. Fred Luskin =-.


38 Carolyn October 13, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Awesome, EWO! It is neat to find out more about each other, isn’t it?


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