Th Bucket Of Exper 01

Bucket of Experiences

Sept. 1, 2008
After a nap on a recent weekend, I staggered through the TV room in my husbandly way. Margaret was watching the conclusion of an episode of Project Runway.
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by Mark Hartley
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After a nap on a recent weekend, I staggered through the TV room in my husbandly way. Margaret was watching the conclusion of an episode of Project Runway. I paused because a former model who’s still easy on the eyes was booting a wannabe designer off the reality show. The reject seemed a little teary-eyed, but she faced the camera and said stoically that the show was just “a drop in the bucket of experiences.”

Maybe someone should contact the publisher. Did I really just write that a participant in a reality show was stoical?

Back to the “bucket of experiences.” During the ensuing commercial, Margaret took the opportunity to explain that our male dog, Theo, has a similar philosophy. He was rescued from the streets, and we adopted him. The dog bolts. If a door/gate is left open a second too long, he heads for the hills. Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but I personally think that’s how he ended up as a vagrant. His former owner got tired of chasing him. Anyway, Margaret informed me that Theo views his escapes as drops in his bucket of experiences.

The TV commercial meant the former fashion model who’s still easy on the eyes was no longer in view. It was time to leave the room. Know what I mean?

But that expression has stuck in my head. Can’t shake it loose. Might as well make a country western song out of it that I’ll hum all month long: “That woman was just a drop in the bucket of experiences, just black clouds on a day of dreariness…”

Thought of it again when reading Christine Nathe’s column this month.

Christine French Beatty graduated from high school 46 years ago, when careers for women were narrowly defined. From a dental family where Dad was a dentist, Beatty embarked on a career of various milestones in dental research. Nathe captures some of the drops in the bucket of experiences for Beatty in her column.

But it wasn’t exactly a rocket launch. Beatty told Nathe, “I liked public health in school but avoided it for a few years because of my anxiety.”

I’d hate to think of anxiety as being the operative word in dental hygiene for getting ahead professionally. It just seems like our mental health would be just so much better if we could progress to the next level in our lives without the shakes.

My summer passed by with visits to the ADHA annual session in Albuquerque and the RDH Under One Roof conference in Chicago. Both were fine shows, well attended by dental hygienists from across the country.

In the aforementioned article, Beatty answered Nathe’s solicitation for advice to a hygienist who wants to do something different with, “Network, network, network! All of my opportunities to do something other than clinical dental hygiene came as a result of talking to many people …”

Straight from the mouth of someone who, long ago, was too anxious to branch out to do something new. Both the ADHA and RDH Under One Roof have attendees who feel an itch to enhance the quality of their careers, yet are not quite sure how.

Even from my own perspective, I know the power of networking is a force to be reckoned within dentistry. I frequently encounter friends who I introduced to each other even just a few years ago, and I see them excitedly plotting a future that involves seminars, teaching, writing, etc.

But the big career transition remains “corporate hygiene.” Visit these meetings and count the number of executives who also have RDH after their names. All of those executives can tell you about the drops in their buckets of experiences that led them up the corporate ladder. Each rung of that ladder is called networking, networking, networking …