Didn’t someone once say something like “it’s funny how life works out”

I presented a letter of resignation to my new boss yesterday. I like my boss. I like my co-workers. I am not leaving out of frustration or angst or some long simmering feud. I will not return to brandish heavy weaponry to assuage a prior wrong done to my person.

The short and complete story is that it simply was time to move on.

This was my first career:

I was a dental assistant. I thoroughly enjoyed the job. I did not enjoy the employer. During that career I got married and became a stay at home mom which I loved.

This was my second career:

I was, and still occasionally am, a doula and childbirth educator. I loved this job. Unequivocally. This was the best career in the world. One that really fit who and what I am and believe about life and mothers and women and babies. I faced a conflict though as my children grew and this career seemed to want to sneak into special moments that I felt needed to be reserved for my children. I let this career go with much regret but one does what seems right at the time. I have however never quite been able to let go completely as every now and then I run into a couple who seeks my service.

Later, when the little people in my life had grown a bit it seemed time to get back into the working world again and again making the decision that seemed appropriate at the time, I went back to career number one. It actually was relatively easy to slip back into the dental office even after twelve years away. That return has guided two separate jobs in the last fifteen years. The last five of those at the position I just resigned. That position in an Oral Surgery practice was truly the culmination of a dream I had since attending dental assisting school way back in 1978. I loved surgery and I vowed that one day before all was said and done, that I would work for an Oral Surgeon. Through the keen eye of a fellow dental assistant, some luck and my wit and charm, I landed a position with one of the most respected surgeons in our area. This man had practiced for nearly 30 years and had a following to match.

I was in heaven. But this surgery was nothing like the extractions I had been doing for years as an assistant in a general dental office. This was SURGERY.  This was half dental, half medical, with all the trappings of an outpatient surgical practice and the need to be fully capable of saving a life if necessary.

Oh, the things I learned. The amazing surgeries I assisted with. The great staff I came to call my friends. The emergencies that I never expected but as a part of a trained team, handled rather well I believe.

Borrowed from Sclar Center, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Dentistry, Miami

Then the arthritis reared its head, or more appropriately settled in my hands and all that you see above was to be no more. Holding heads to maintain airways, holding and manipulating small sharp instruments, working with tiny parts and pieces became a part of my past. Thanks to some ingenious re-working of my job description, I hung on and was able to stay at the office turning into a jack of all trades.

Then my daughter announced her pregnancy, my original employer made the ultimate and this time final decision to sell his practice and slowly step into retirement and I had some decisions of my own to face. I knew I wanted to care for my grandchild. That was a given and an offer that I refused to turn down. I also knew that I was more than ready to stop being a full time employee. My hands were tired, changes were coming to the office and it seemed rather apparent that fate was standing in front of me telling me to take advantage of what was right in front of my face.

When the decision was made it felt right. An opportunity opened up before me and as I am a firm believer in grasping opportunity as it dangles right in front of your face, I am now employed in a part-time position which allows me to care for my granddaughter; takes the stress and strain off of my hands and in a rather ironic way brings me almost full circle in my career path.

So this is my latest and I believe my last career. Grandma and caregiver to this precious, beautiful baby girl:

and this position one or two days per week:

I will be doing hearing screenings on newborns at one of our local hospitals.

I get to be back in an environment that I love and feel so comfortable with: the postpartum unit of a hospital. I get to work with and educate new parents and most of all I get to interact, even only briefly with new babies. What could be better than that. This position allows me to manage myself, my interaction with families, develop affiliations with hospital staff and probably more than anything, have fun at my job.

It is time to say goodbye to surgery; to dentistry. It’s time to work a little bit less and have a little more time to be a student, to take care of myself, to enjoy my family and to just be. We talk a lot in sociology about “doing” social topics. Doing gender, doing race, doing group dynamics. It’s time to jump on that bandwagon. For the near future I am going to be “doing Debbie”, whatever that may be.

Maybe I’ll write a paper on that subject. The “doing” of oneself. The discovery of one’s personal reality in middle age.  Maybe I’ll just let things ride and see what I discover. I have all the time in the world and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.


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