I’ve never been one to ask other people for help. I worry that it would inconvenience them way too much. Plus, I like to be independent. Seven years into my career, I finally realized how stuck I really was, spiraling around the same patterns throughout the years. I couldn’t break the cycle. I was too scared. But I finally decided that I could no longer continue this way.
I needed help.
The day I chose to ask for it will forever be etched into my memory. That day was just as miserable as every other day had become at my 3rd and final dental office. So how did I go from being convinced that I wanted to continue pursuing this career to total desperation?
Well, a lot happened along the way.
Things started off pretty well in Dream Job #3. Early on it seemed to get busy enough for me to increase my hours from two days a week up to three. This seemed like a good sign– at least there was growth in the right direction. More importantly, I felt welcome and supported by my fellow dentists in the practice. It was a kind and friendly environment, a place I could see myself being happy. I walked down the halls of the building, and people were always smiling. I felt like this group of people had the formula right. Meanwhile, I still had the security of Job #1 to help supplement my paycheck, and I could always count on having a busy day of work there to balance out any slow days. Going back to that job was easy. It was like coming home to visit my family. There were adjustments and compromises I had to make, but I felt respected and appreciated. It was comfortable.
So here I was, once again, living in the future of what my life was to become– but only temporarily. By this time I was on a relatively short fuse. I decided that if this didn’t work out, I was done. Things weren’t perfect anywhere, but I thought the compromises I had to make here would all be worth it once I reached the destination.
Things were moving slowly, but at least they were moving. My boss was an older guy, and retirement would eventually be his ultimate goal… or so I was led to believe. I should have seen the signs. He literally refused to use “the R word” (as he put it) with patients, reassuring them that he would never ever desert them. He failed to send a letter to patients introducing his new associate (that would be me) to them. Often times there was no introduction or mention of me at all to his patients. It was as if my presence was being kept a secret. At five years in, many patients still didn’t even know of my existence. I should have seen these signs immediately, but once again, I was too naive, too trusting. All of my attempts and suggestions to remedy this over the years went ignored. And I sort of gave up, just showing up everyday, unsure of where this was all going.
Ultimately, I discovered he never had any intentions of retiring or even cutting down hours. Early on he had cut down his schedule, leaving Mondays in the office all to me. It was an easy day to fill my schedule with patients because he didn’t need to fill his schedule first. Then suddenly 2 years in to my employment with him, he decided to work on Mondays again.
Any slight bit of hope I had dissolved, and I knew this was the beginning of the end.
This counterproductive move led to a major slow-down in my schedule again. Unable to simply sit in the office for entire days, I found myself going for afternoon walks whenever I could. These walks saved me. I just needed to get away. But they were so depressing. Filled with anger and sadness, defeat and boredom, and feelings of failure, I couldn’t find any happiness in my day-to-day life. It was easy to be hopeful and patient when things were moving forward, but I couldn’t continue to move backwards.
Once again I found myself reflecting on the past 7 years of my career. Memories of a constant yearning to escape and be free of it kept coming back.
And then it dawned on me: the only thing keeping me here was me.
I’ll never forget the day I decided to pick up the phone and call Shawn. It was like any other beautiful, sunny day. I sat at the same picnic table in the park where I’d often have my daily cry, and I felt like I could crumble to pieces at any moment. I could barely hold it together on the phone to explain why I was calling this career coach. We set up an appointment, and she started helping me dig myself out of my hole.
That moment was the start of what took me over 3 years to change my life.
I do not receive any compensation for endorsing Shawn and her company, Brainstorming A La Mode. She helped me tremendously, and we did all of our work over the phone. Whether you are local or not, I highly recommend her services. Check her out if you are looking to make a career or life transition.