The Ultimate Test
I could see the light at the end of my career tunnel! The depressed feelings dissolved, and a fresh hope blanketed over me. I was very lucky to rely on the stability of the dental practice while I started building the new weight loss practice. Keeping my old job while starting a new one was the combination that worked for me. I never would have felt comfortable quitting my job without having something else lined up. I’m not that adventurous.
Luckily, I didn’t have to jump off the cliff into an unknown abyss.
It’s hard to believe that only 3 months later I gave my notice at work. I was ready to leave, but refused to quit until I knew my financial responsibilities were taken care of. I wish I could say that my new business had taken off in 3 short months and I had to dedicate myself full-time to it, thus requiring me to make the big announcement. No… you see, there’s another side to the story that I haven’t shared yet. There was 1 good boss in my career. That’s exactly what I call him: the good boss. (Aren’t I creative?) Anyway, our pairing was a match made in heaven. He was and is an excellent dentist, someone I could look up to. He is a kind and caring person. He is a good communicator. He is real. He is honest. Should I go on?
I actually had 2 bosses during this final phase. I was working in a group practice with an “old guy who didn’t want to retire.” My practice within his was not growing for many reasons, but mainly because he didn’t want to retire and pass it on to me (contrary to initial intentions.) Meanwhile, the good boss asked me to work in his practice part-time. This was partially an attempt to bail me out of a very bad situation with that other boss. But he was also smart: I was already trained; I already knew the way things worked in the practice; he didn’t view me as competition; and he knew passing his practice to me would have been a slam dunk. Our relationship wasn’t parasitic, it was symbiotic. If I was busy and doing well, then so was he. And together we thrived.
In May he started dropping hints:
“We need to discuss a long-term plan for how a buy-out of my practice would look. That is, if you want it.” I was “the one,” and he was ready to start making a long-term plan. I, however, kept stalling.
I knew I wasn’t ready to quit, but I also knew I didn’t want to string him along. He had plans, and I didn’t want to stand in his way. Ultimately, four hours of great work per week with him couldn’t undo years of trauma. (I know, I know, forgive my drama here!)
This is where my story is unexpected. As
dentists people, sometimes I think we can be a little arrogant and judgmental about our colleagues. Why is that? Is it insecurity, or is it just healthy competition? In dental school as students, we learned to believe that a dentist taught at school instead of practicing dentistry because they weren’t good enough to handle private practice. We’d snicker at the thought that they just couldn’t cut it in practice, so they had to teach us. Now, I realize how ignorant that thinking is, even if it was a defense mechanism. That attitude is total BS and is downright rude. I’m sure every dentist out there remembers this happening. Sadly, this attitude doesn’t end with graduation, and I know that some expect that the reason I wanted out of dentistry was because I couldn’t hack it.
Oh well… who cares? But things aren’t always what they seem.
I had to make the choice to walk away from an amazing opportunity. I was 10 years into my career, working in a top-notch dental practice, providing the kind of dental care I wanted to give, and here was my chance. The ideal practice was ready to become mine.
I was facing the ultimate test.
But it was too little, too late.
At that point how could I ignore everything I had worked so hard to figure out? How could I ignore the years of suffering because this golden opportunity was being handed to me? I couldn’t put it off any longer.
I finally had to confront the beast once and for all.