What happens when you leave dental school?

January 21, 2020
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What happens when you leave dental school?


I think we all wait for that glorious moment that we leave our assigned clinics and throw our lab coats in the air and never look back, but what happens after?

If you are lucky you picked a good residency, or maybe the right residency picked you.

I was lucky enough to be accepted into a program that gave me hell, gumption, strength, home and love. I am not trying to romanticize the nights that I slept hunched over our round table in the resident’s room, but rather, the times I felt camaraderie. Rarely did I have an instance when I faced the hardships at work alone. We had our own justice league with the power to numb.  My co-residents and faculty members were all-stars that really made the transition to mundane work life exceptionally difficult. It was a daunting transition after being in such an encouraging environment.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, being a dentist requires physical labor, mental strength, a sharp acumen, and a strong sternocleidomastoid.

Finding a job, not for the weak hearted.

In my short career I have been on over 20 interviews. It’s not that I wasn’t offered a job; it was just that I wasn’t offered the right one.

I started looking for my first job the April before I graduated from residency. I applied to countless jobs but found that not many responded. In hindsight the “Pending” notation next to NJ Dental License was a deterrent for many offices.

If you are planning on working in a state that doesn’t require a residency, just fork up the money to get your licensing process completed by February of the year you graduate from residency. This gives you time to troubleshoot any issues that come up in the licensing process.

I, myself have never had luck with paperwork. For whatever reason the universe is against me when it comes to this.  Even when I start early somehow, I barely make it on time. Sometimes the person in charge is on vacation or the department is switching from paper to DIGITAL or they are completely swamped, or the mail doesn’t get there. Most of my friends have not encountered this, but sometimes bad things happen to good people and I’m good PEOPLE!

I’ll tell you some horror jobs and job interview stories:

So due to the fact that no offices near my mom’s house were hiring, I had to look for jobs up to an hour and a half away.  Some offices that I went to had no idea I was in residency and turned me away. You would think they would have read my resume. Now realize that I paid for a train to NJ and back to NY and a cab and had to take off from work.

I was interviewed at an office by a hygienist who was also the office manager. She must have been 26 years old. She told me that she treatment plans during her hygiene visit and I am to follow her treatment plan because she has more experience than me in the dental field.

At a more recent interview I was called a “piece of candy” that would be nice to have in the office. I worked at an office that discriminated against EVERYONE that wasn’t Caucasian; needless to say I left that office as soon as I found out.

At one interview, I was asked to describe the color of my soul and my music preferences instead of what skills I had. I was also told that every tooth that needs a crown also needs crown lengthening. I am sure you are catching on to the madness that exists outside. I have now gotten better at weeding out the crazy people by asking a few questions before I even get there but still a few crazies get thrown into the mix.

My biggest advice would be – don’t be a doe eyed, trusting Bambi like I was!

I am grateful I had a part-time job waiting for me when I left residency, but filling up those other days took a long time.