If you’ve been on the cover of any September issue during the past 16 years, you’re invited to a special party every summer.
Sunstar is the host of the party, which is timed to occur a night or so before the Award of Distinction ceremony during the RDH Under One Roof conference. The company’s guest list is dominated by past recipients of the award. They gather together to honor the current recipients (who are featured on this month’s cover). As you might imagine, the current recipients are pretty busy, greeting a long line of complete strangers the whole night. The strangers are almost all dental hygienists, though, so how horrifying of an ordeal can that be? Sunstar does a good job of putting its guests at ease. I usually spend my time chatting with the recipients from previous years. I’m always glad to see them again.
The Sunstar gathering is not a retirement party, nor is it a gathering of lottery winners who are now enjoying lots of leisure time. So, what hits you over the head in a big way is that these very distinctive dental hygienists don’t stop at the pinnacle of being awarded the Award of Distinction. They keep on marching forward with their dreams. We’re talking about a very enthusiastic, very ambitious, and (might as well say it again) very distinctive group of individuals. Quit isn’t in their vocabulary.
Seminars at RDH Under One Roof, articles in RDH magazine, chats in dental hygiene online forums, etc., keep hammering home the point of exiting traditional dental hygiene employment to smash career ceilings within the profession. The message is that there is hope if you feel despondent about the direction of your career. You can almost see math formulas developed by this message. The first one applies to every graduate from dental hygiene schools:
(Hygiene School) + (Employer) = JOB
The second formula appears when you start thinking about it as just a job rather than a career. Sometimes, the aches in the hands, neck, and elsewhere nudge along the frustrations. Sometimes, it’s the environment in toxic workplaces. And, of course, many proponents of the following formula are unhappy that they became dental hygienists. We’ve written about this latter group before, and we’ll write about them again in the future. Many of them have accomplished great things away from the operatory. But the further they get away from the operatory, you have to start taking their interpretation of leaving a “job” for a “career” with a different perspective.
[(JOB) - (50% or less of clinical skills)] + [(Additional Training) * (occupational injuries) or (workplace grievances)] = CAREER
The recipients of the Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction always seem to treasure the profession and seek to build upon their experiences with more adventures. So, the easiest formula is this one:
CAREER + Adventure= uh, who’s counting anymore?
Yeah, when dental hygiene is an exciting, daily adventure, all of those career formulas don’t mean much. You’ve found happiness with your life. At my age, I’m not that much of a party animal anymore. But the invitation from Sunstar is one that I always accept.