Where the Jobs are

January 23, 2013

Carol_Tammi DHCH2013 The American Dental Hygienists’ Association recently hosted its second Dental Hygiene in a Changing World Conference. In attendance were around 200 dental hygienists from all across the country; many seeking information on how transition or tap into different types of career opportunities like public health, education, corporate positions, and entrepreneurship. It was exciting to see the energy and talent in the room, and it made me feel confident about the future of dental hygiene and proud that Water Pik, Inc was a corporate supporter of the event.

The economic downturn, an influx of new dental hygiene graduates along with people staying in the work force longer has led to a scarcity of clinical dental hygiene positions. This situation isn’t likely to improve any time soon. A study on dental income published in JADA in April 2012 found that there has been a decline in average real net income for dentists due to a decrease in the utilization of dental care. The decline actually started in 2006 prior to the recession leading the authors to speculate that income may not recover to prerecession levels.

One of the conference panel members, my friend Tammi Byrd told the group that she believes job growth will come from the public health sector and other alternative settings rather than the traditional brick and mortar dental offices. This startled the audience a little and left many asking what those jobs might be.

I don’t think we know the answer to that, yet, but I’m certain that several creative, talented, and energetic dental hygienists will figure it out and lead the way. Will you be one of them?

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Putting the Happy in Happy New Year

January 7, 2013

If you’re like many people, you had some time off over the holidays. Was it hard to go back work? Did you dread it or were rested and happy to get back into the routine?

How happy are you or your employees at work? It’s an important subject. After all, we do spend a great deal of our day and most of our adult life working. In today’s competitive job environment, changing dental hygiene positions and getting raises isn’t as easy as it used to be. And if you’re the dentist, well it’s your show.

New research is telling us that we don’t need to change jobs or make more money or even have all the latest toys to be happy at work. In many cases, those things give us a temporary high, but are not lasting.

According to Harvard researcher, Shawn Achor, there are other ways we can enhance our happiness (as well as those of our employees) at work. Some of them simply require a reframing of our thoughts while other entail making adjustments in behavior. Here are some ideas to ponder.

1) Competency – can you get happiness and satisfaction from how well you do your job such as the patient who improves their home care or the implant restoration that went well?
2) Autonomy – can you let go enough to give people the room to have a fair amount of control over how they do their job?
3) Sense of purpose – can you retrain your brain to focus on how much your work improves their lives versus how ‘lazy’ or non-compliant they are?
4) Connectedness – how well do you know your co-workers and/or staff and do you make a daily effort to talk to each person?

According to Shawn, making even small adjustments in these areas can help you feel more inspired and happy. I’ve read Shawn’s book, and it’s fascinating and compelling. Learn more by visiting his website at http://www.goodthinkinc.com