Last week I attended Hill Day with the Academy of General Dentistry in Washington, D.C. Some of you may remember from my last blog post that I had an eventful (to put it lightly) time traveling to Washington, D.C., last month for the Washington Leadership Conference with the American Dental Association. Thankfully I did not have any travel issues this time and I made it to and from my destination in one piece!
I was very excited to be invited to attend Hill Day again this year. Even though I would be discussing the exact same four bills that I discussed at WLC (see my last blog post for details), Congress was actually in session last week, so I got to meet Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Joe Wilson from my district in South Carolina! Additionally, many of my dental school friends were also in attendance — some still dental students and some fresh graduates this year. It was amazing to get to spend time with friends that I had grown close to over the years in ASDA!
On the evening of the first day of the conference, the AGD hosted a dinner for dental students and new graduates. I was not invited to this dinner, being one year out of school. As I wandered around the city by myself that evening while most everybody that I knew were at that dinner, I pondered … Where is my place now? I am not a dental student. I am not a recent graduate. I am not a seasoned dentist. Do I have a place? Do I have a voice at the table? Who cares about new dentists? As out of place as I have felt at times this year — particularly when I started seeing graduation pictures from the class below me — I had never felt so out of place as I did just then.
It also made me think about how out of place I feel at my current job. To be honest, this year has not been what I expected at all. Attending organized dentistry events have been my favorite part of this year if I really think about it. Coming out of a dental school where we had all of the technologies and specialties available to us and starting a job where I do not even have a direct mentor has been a tough transition.
While I feel that I have improved in some areas professionally, I haven’t really broadened my horizons as a dentist as much as I would have liked to. I want to be more and to be better and to improve everyday. Additionally, I want to work in an environment where I feel that I am respected as a person and to have the same goals as the company that I work for. Because of this, and for many other reasons, I have decided to leave my current job and move on.
My trip to Hill Day did not directly prompt this decision; it is something that I have been wrestling with for awhile. I just know that there is something more for me out there!
Have any other new dentists out there had a similar first job experience? I would love to know!
Dr. Emily Hobart is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and a member of the American Dental Association, the South Carolina Dental Association and Central District Dental Society. She is an estranged Canadian who grew up in Glendale, Arizona, where she attended dental school at Midwestern University. She is now finding her way as a new dentist in Columbia, South Carolina. In her free time, she loves running, rock climbing, pub trivia, karaoke and traveling!