Part Three: Diary of an unemployed hygienist

March 21, 2012

Photo: Eva Watson Day 37 “Did you call that office today?” I called them twice. “Did you apply for any new ads?” The few that come out I always apply for. “Are you following up with your phone calls?” Always. “Do you have any temp gigs coming up?” I only have one next week.

Photo: Eva Watson

Day 37

“Did you call that office today?” I called them twice.

“Did you apply for any new ads?” The few that come out I always apply for.

“Are you following up with your phone calls?” Always.

“Do you have any temp gigs coming up?” I only have one next week.

I always tell him I’m trying. The pressure is building. It’s starting to come between us. Erik has been complaining about stomach discomfort since the beginning of all this. I’m worried about his health. The fact I can’t contribute to our household is tearing me up. I’m responsible for half our bills. We’re a team. His nagging is justified. I’m doing everything I possibly can to, at the very least, get a verbal response from any practice. What else can I do to appease him?

Day 37 Goal: Keep talking with Erik about everything we feel regarding this situation. Our lines of communication can’t break down. We need each other. Sydney needs us.

Day 40

Just finished reading a post on that hygiene Web site. Those opinions on bonuses, fairness and cheap dentists made for an interesting read. The fact that bonuses are still being allocated nowadays is somewhat of a surprising accomplishment to me. I’m pleased there are practices out there that continue to thrive but those hygienists are lucky and fortunate to have the opportunity to work. I’m certain they realize that. I hope they do. I loved when I got those huge bonuses. Who wouldn’t? I remember the big bucks I made as soon as I received my license. That was almost five years ago.

Man, we were rolling in it. Got the house and put money away. Seemed like I was frequenting Old Navy monthly for Sydney and I was purchasing new lab coats for myself all of the time. I could settle for an unfair, cheap, anti-bonus dentist right about now.

Day 40 Goal: If an offer comes in and the dentist can’t offer the going rate, take a pay cut. I know what Erik and I can comfortably live on. Don’t be concerned with bonuses or extras. There will be chances to prove myself later. We’re living in a completely different economic country. Everything has changed.

Day 43

Whoa, woman. Calm down. Easy…BUT WHY DIDN’T THEY HIRE ME?! I temped in their office for three weeks. They asked me back for three, continual weeks, the staff and I had great laughs, the dentists complimented my work and I performed my job to the utmost of professionalism. Why? What happened? Did someone give me a bad reference? Did I leave calculus? Did I look at someone the wrong way? Am I some kind of freak? What!? I’m going outside to scream! I’ll explain my behavior to the neighbors later!

Okay, I’m done complaining now. I’m back in control and I can see clearly again. I believe what transpired was this practice had a particular candidate in their sights from the beginning of the selection process but wanted to continue talking with other interviewees and weed out who was not right for their practice. They had to make the best decision for their patients and staff. I believe they liked what I could offer their business but weren’t quite sold. So they asked me to temp for them until, unbeknownst to me, their continued search revealed their ideal hygienist.

That was quite a rationalization but I’m getting over it. I learned a lot from that experience.

Day 43 Goal: Temping will not ensure a permanent position. Keep my options open. Don’t put all of my eggs in one basket. Enhance my strengths and correct my weaknesses.

Day 50

This is fantastic! Two interviews lined up in the next couple of weeks. What can I give these two offices? Integrity and hard work. I know what I’m capable of and I’m excited to offer them my dental hygiene experience.

What are my strengths? Great clinical abilities, effective communication and a great business sense.

What do I want? A progressive dental practice I can grow professionally with while being satisfied personally. My Three Ps! I love it. Thank you Day 50.

Day 50 Goal: Take solace in my accomplishments. Revel in my improvements and learn from all these experiences since unemployed Day 1. Use ‘My Three Ps’ slogan to keep me motivated and on the right path. If these practices wish to hire another hygienist, push on!

Day 59

Hmm…perhaps I should write for a dental hygienist magazine as an outlet. I don’t know. Gee whiz, where would I find the time? All I have is time. Would any hygiene professional be interested in reading about content like this? I do enjoy writing greatly. I’ll consider it. I’ll ask husband and get his take on it as well. I hope I don’t have a Day 60 entry. Wait… is that my phone?

Eva Watson, RDH is also a writer and lives in Highland Park, IL with her husband and daughter .

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