The Dental Arts

I may be a bridgetender, but like an onion, I have many layers. I also have a degree in Dental Laboratory Technology and Management. I am fascinated with dental appliances and their fabrication. I graduated with honors. I had big dreams.

Not that those dreams went anywhere. After applying to 200 different labs with no viable offers, and after seeing that dental appliance technology is outpacing the little mom and pop labs that I hoped to be a part of, and after having a wrist surgery that would have made it extremely painful to do the fine motor movements required on a day to day basis, I wised up and went back to bridgetending.

But the fascination remains. So when I needed a crown replaced, I was delighted to see it’s entire design and creation chairside. We’ve certainly come a long way from the days when you had to get a gloopy, bad-tasting mold taken of your teeth, then come back weeks later to have a crown fitted that had been fabricated in an offsite lab.

Instead, they popped off my old crown, and took photographs of my teeth from every possible angle, and then, voila! A three-dimensional image of my teeth appeared on the computer screen. It was fascinating.

From there, Mary, the technologist, created a crown for me on screen. Make no mistake, this was no flimsy endeavor. This takes skill in both science and art. She has to have knowledge of oral anatomy and how various teeth interact with one another. And she also must create a final product that will not only be functional but also aesthetically pleasing. That’s an admirable talent.

I watched her create this tooth and enjoyed imagining her thought process. It was like digital sculpting. Leonardo da Vinci would have been intrigued. And proud.

She consulted with my dentist (a big shout out to Dr. Steven Lockett in Renton, Washington, and his entire amazing staff!) and did a few tweaks based on his suggestions, and then sent the data off to the machine for fabrication. I wish I could have seen that. I know that the machine carves the crown out of little blocks of some mysterious substance that is probably trademarked by the company that created CEREC, the CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) system that my dentist uses.

I could be wrong, but I think of it kind of like 3d printing in reverse. Instead of creating things from a bead-like substance, this machine carves it down from a cube. I mean, seriously, how cool is that?

In no time flat, my crown was hot off the presses, so to speak, and ready to go into my mouth. In it went, and off I went. Just another thing checked off my to-do list. And yet, when I think of the science and artistry that went into the whole endeavor, I still am filled with awe.

By the way, one of my favorite blog posts is the one I wrote entitled Cool Stuff You Never Knew about your Teeth.  Check it out! If you don’t learn at least one thing from it, I’ll eat my hat. With my brand new crown.

https _upload.wikimedia.org_wikipedia_commons_d_d0_CEREC-kronprep

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The Molar Mic

Having expended great effort to try, unfortunately without success, to become a Dental Laboratory Technologist, I am still fascinated by all innovations dental. You’d be surprised at how many there are. Needless to say, they rarely grab headlines.

But when a friend sent me this article about the Molar Mic, I was floored. Here you have a mic that fits on your back molar, and can not only transmit what you say, but also receive sound. That’s the fascinating part for me. Because you aren’t hearing those sounds through your ear, you’re hearing them through your bones. It never occurred to me that that was even possible. The sound vibrates through your skull right by your auditory nerve, and apparently with practice you can hear it quite well.

Now the Pentagon is interested. (Damn, but I wish I got in on the ground floor of that stock!) Apparently this thing has been tested out in Afghanistan and also during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, with very favorable results.

Imagine being able to communicate hands free, in a wide variety of environments, without even having to worry about dropping a device that is attached to your person. Imagine hearing things that other people can’t without having to worry about your sanity. The possibilities are endless.

Could this technology take a nefarious turn? Sure. Spying. Terrorism. Being recorded without your consent. It’s all possible, and, sadly, that’s  why this research will most likely continue to be funded.

But I’m imagining how this technology might evolve. I picture myself driving down the highway, discussing with my husband whether or not I need to bring home a gallon of milk. Sure, people might think I’m talking to myself, but hey, I’ve been known to do that anyway.

molar-mike-on-cast--598x414px-1.png

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Giving Up

Not every dream you have is going to work out. Not every person you fall for is going to love you back. Sometimes you will make the wrong choices, life will get in the way, or things will be out of your control.

That was made abundantly clear the other day when I was unpacking boxes that I had been storing in my guest room. I was confronted with about 25 pounds of notes that I had taken when I was pursuing my Dental Laboratory Technology degree. Despite graduating with honors and having high hopes about buying a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina and starting my own dental lab out of the garage, here I am, a bridgetender in Seattle.

I wanted that dream so badly I could taste it. But I couldn’t convince anyone to hire me so that I could gain the needed experience, and I certainly couldn’t control the fact that 6 months later I needed surgery on my wrist that would make it physically impossible to do that work.

The death of a dream. Hate when that happens. I think I went into mourning for about a year, and despite the fact that I’ve since moved on, I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of those notes. I lugged them all the way across the country with me, even though I knew, without a doubt, that I’d have no use for them. I just wasn’t ready to let go.

So here was this massive pile of emotionally-charged notes that were taking up space in my guest room. But this was ridiculous. The last thing I need is a 25 pound albatross around my neck. So, trying not to think too much, I pitched them all into the recycle bin.

Well, no, not all of them. I kept my orthodontic notes. And textbooks. And tools. Because that’s what I wanted to do—make orthodontic appliances, like retainers. I know I’m being silly. I know that dream isn’t happening, ever. But it’s a part of who I was, who I am. And those tools might actually come in handy. You never know.

But it was rather cleansing, getting rid of all the other stuff. It felt like another step toward healing. It was high time.

Giving up on something or someone after you’ve exhausted all viable avenues of pursuit isn’t necessarily defeat. It isn’t abject failure, either. It means, quite often, that you’re being a mature adult who is being realistic and moving on.

There’s no shame in that. It’s a huge part of life. And if you’re lucky, like I’ve been, you can look back from a good place and realize you actually wound up right where you were supposed to be all along. You may not have been able to see it in the past, but things have a funny way of working out the way they should.

Sometimes you have to give up in order to get something spectacular. Sometimes giving up is the right thing to do.

white_flag_surrender

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Freeway Space

Every career field seems to have its own nomenclature. When I was getting my degree in Dental Laboratory Technology and Management, I had to learn a whole host of new words and phrases. My all-time favorite was “Freeway Space.”

Freeway space is that gap between your upper and lower teeth that naturally occurs when your jaw is relaxed. When making dentures, for example, you always have to allow for freeway space. Otherwise the poor unfotunate who wears them will never be comfortable.

The funny thing about that is that I had never even realized that my teeth aren’t touching most of the time. We really don’t spend much time thinking about the spaces in between, the gaps, the absence of things. We can barely wrap our heads around the things that are present.

In this case, though, it makes perfect sense. We wouldn’t want our teeth to be constantly grinding, grinding, grinding on each other. (For that, I simply have to go to sleep. Thank goodness for night guards!) All that friction, and we’d be toothless in no time.

But mostly, I just like the idea of freeway space. It sounds like such a laid back place to be. Free. The way. Spacey. Give me my freeway space.

I once had a Tai Chi instructor who would say, at the end of class, “Don’t forget to put a love bubble around your car.” It was his way of telling us to drive carefully. It used to make me inwardly snicker. As much as I love cheese, that concept was just a bit too cheesy for me.

But if he had said, “Give yourself some freeway space,” I’d have said, “Dude. Yeah. I will. Thanks.”

And my jaw would have instantly relaxed.

freeway

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A Crisis You’re Not Even Aware Of

I just discovered that the last college I attended, Indian River State College, no longer offers the degree I earned there: Dental Laboratory Technology and Management. This is very sad news. It was the last school in Florida to offer that program. Now, if you’re a Floridian and want to study this subject, the closest schools would be in San Antonio, Texas or Detroit, Michigan. In fact, there are only seven colleges left in the country that offer this degree. Seven.

Why should you care?

First of all, let me clarify what Dental Lab Techs do. They are not, repeat, not, dental hygienists. They don’t clean your teeth. Many of them never come in direct contact with another person’s mouth (at least, not in a professional sense). The majority don’t work in a dentist’s office. They usually work in labs, sometimes one man operations, sometimes large assembly line type outfits, to fabricate dentures, retainers, crowns, night guards, bridges and other dental appliances.

There’s a great need for Dental Lab Techs, as 40 percent of them are expected to retire in the next decade. This career has a faster than average job growth projection, as an aging population has a greater need for dental appliances, and baby boomers visit dentists more often than previous generations did.

Many labs are now resorting to on the job training, and there’s no problem with that if it’s done well. But without an educational system, there are no core standards and there will be no uniformity in the field. (Field trained techs are often not taught basic oral anatomy, for example.) It also makes it much harder for these highly skilled individuals to be considered professionals, and therefore demand adequate compensation. This, in turn, will discourage people from pursuing this career.

More and more appliances, therefore, are being shipped overseas to be fabricated. This is a problem for you on a number of levels. There is no quality control. There have been reports of appliances in third world countries containing toxic substances. The last place you want to encounter lead or radioactive material, for example, is in your mouth. Also, some of the dental impressions your dentist takes of your mouth are heat sensitive and therefore don’t ship well. This means that the device you get back from some far flung location is quite likely not going to fit as well as one created in a local lab would have. The end result is pain for you and/or an appliance that does not function properly. I strongly suggest you ask your dentist where your appliance will be coming from, and urge him or her to source local labs.

Why are Dental Laboratory Technology schools disappearing? The equipment required to adequately teach this subject is extremely expensive. And in order to be certified by the American Dental Association, schools have to maintain a very low student to teacher ratio. From the standpoint of a college, this means more cost in terms of equipment and salary, and very little return in terms of tuition. Can you blame them for not wanting to shoulder this burden?

To be honest, I don’t know what the solution to this problem is. But if you don’t want outrageously expensive dental appliances that are poorly made and potentially dangerous, we had better come up with one, and soon.

dental-appliance
Do you really want some barely trained kid off the street making this for you?

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Having Your Heart Broken by a Career Choice

I was the morning of the third day of my dream job, and I was so excited. My life was changing for the better, It’s a rare gift when you can have a job that you love.

I fell in love with Dental Laboratory Technology as a student. I sold my house, left a 16 year relationship, and even commuted 3 ½ hours each way for a semester and a half until the house was sold and I could relocate, just so I could achieve the degree. I then moved down to a town where I knew no one to complete my studies, and I graduated with honors.

After three long years of study, applying for work at 198 other orthodontic labs, and having doors slammed in my face on a regular basis, I had finally got my big toe, at least, in the door of a lab. And I loved it. Every single second of it.

I’d been a nervous wreck at first because as I had explained to them, I hadn’t been in a lab in a year and a half, so I felt as wobbly as a newborn deer. But I showed them the work I’d done in school, So they knew what they were getting, but they also knew my potential.

My boyfriend, who has hired many an employee, gave me a pep talk before I started the job. He told me that I had the qualities that every employer wants but rarely sees. Enthusiasm. The desire to do well. The willingness to learn and work hard. He said you are lucky to find that in one out of every hundred employees, so I’d be an asset from the moment I walked in the door.

I had already learned so much in my first two days, and I was anxious to learn more. I’d spent long hours reviewing all my notes from school, at least getting back up to speed on my book knowledge, and as soon as I had decent tools to work with I planned to practice wire bending every waking moment, because I am enthralled by everything about orthodontic appliances. I love the variety. I love solving problems with the positions of teeth. I feel like a dental Sherlock Holmes.

I found myself humming as I got ready. I could see my future rolling out ahead of me, and it was so bright and shiny and full of happiness. I drove the 15 miles through rush hour, anticipating the day ahead, thinking of ways I could increase my productivity and efficiency and help them make money. It felt like being madly in love. I couldn’t wait to get there.

I walked in, smiled, said an enthusiastic good morning, and was about to jump into my newly established routine when I was greeted with, “Barb, we need to talk.” Suddenly I felt sick to my stomach. I stood there and let their words wash over me. “You’re just not good enough.” My ears started ringing.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition. We are taught in America that if you work hard and apply yourself, your dreams will come true. But statistically speaking, sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel really is going to be an oncoming train. Statistics have no empathy or compassion. They just are. Lightning doesn’t care where it strikes. It just strikes. And here I was, apparently standing under a tall tree in an open field.

Could this really be happening? Was I being fired for the first time at age 48? Indeed I was. Tools. Must gather all my lab tools. There’s food in the fridge. Get that too. What are they saying? My ears are ringing. Humiliation. Must get out of here. Don’t say anything. There’s nothing to say. They’ve already made up their minds. Just leave. Leave with what little dignity you have left.

They’re handing me a check. Explaining it’s a dollar less per hour since they haven’t processed my paperwork and are paying me under the table. There’s something wrong with that. There’s something wrong with all of this. Just leave.

“Good luck,” they say.

Just not good enough. I wailed, I howled all the way home. My dream was dying right in front of me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I don’t even remember the drive. I just remember my chest heaving and my boyfriend telling me over the phone to pull over and try to calm down, and me saying no, I want to go home. I just want to go home…

It brings back the horrible experience of driving 600 miles to Raleigh to interview for a job at another lab only to be told that he was afraid I’d just learn from him and leave and become his competition, and later discovering that that was the very thing he had done to his former employer 25 years previously. So, to get that job, I’d have had to appear incompetent and unambitious. If only I had been told in advance.

This, coupled with 198 other rejections…maybe I should get the message. This industry hates me.

An even crueler cut because I have made friends along the way who have successful labs and have shown me what my life could be, could have been, like. It’s like seeing a happy marriage but being deprived of one yourself. It’s painful.

I’m still in shock as I write this, but I’m no longer sad. I’m just monumentally pissed off. First of all, they told me that I was the only one who applied for the job with any experience at all. I cannot believe that my work sucked so badly that they’d prefer to hire someone who does not know what they’re doing. There’s more to this story. There has to be. Which means they lied. They lied, and I’ll never know the truth.

All I get is two days? Why? Why? Something about me slowing them down. I told them that I was rusty. Two days? That’s all I get? Two days? And half of those two days I spent making deliveries. I didn’t wreck their car. I didn’t set fire to the lab. I didn’t do anything other than try to cut my thumb off by accident. I bled for you people!

And then the pay thing. Not only is it illegal, but it sucks. They weren’t doing me any favors. They were saving themselves money. Profiting off my mortification. Much classier to say we promised you this amount per hour. We’re paying you under the table, but here’s the amount we promised. At least you’ll be getting a little more in exchange for the fact that we just shoved a wooden stake through your heart and made you question your abilities for the rest of your life.

And then today I woke up out of a sound sleep KNOWING what happened. I mentioned another job in town that I applied for. A lab that makes you do assembly line work, just one tiny task all day long, so you don’t get the experience to become competition, and on top of that they only pay 7 dollars per hour. I’m an idiot. I’m sure the next morning they waited in that lab’s parking lot, and hired someone for 9 dollars an hour, less than they were paying me, and with more lab experience. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

One mistake I make over and over again in life is assuming people will behave decently. I actually thought that once they hired me I’d be given a chance. So I’m not incompetent after all! I’m stupid! Yay me.

Quite the reflection on their integrity. They also showed an appalling lack of concern about Hepatitis B and Silicosis, two things that you have to watch out for in a lab, and two things they could easily prevent but choose not to. I’m probably better off.

Not only have they shown themselves to be unethical and short sighted, but they have taught me an excellent lesson on how I will not behave if I’m ever in the position to hire someone.

First of all, I’ll give someone more than 2 days to settle in, for the love of God. Second, before I even consider hiring someone, I’ll realize that their livelihood and their hopes and dreams and aspirations are riding upon the choices I make, so I’ll take it very seriously. And third, before firing someone I’ll make them aware of the red flags I’m seeing and give them the opportunity to rectify them. And finally, if I feel the need to fire someone, I won’t make them get up, drive all the way across town in rush hour traffic just so they can stand there and be mortified.

Another thing I’ve learned is that this is a cruel and unforgiving and impatient industry, and if by some miracle I manage to achieve my dream, I’m clearly not going to get help from anyone other than myself.

That spells a bleak future for an industry whose schools are disappearing right, left, and center and whose industry projections show 40 percent of their current people retiring in the next decade. If no one is given a chance for on-the-job training and if there are no people willing to hire out of the rapidly disappearing schools, then there will be a whole lot of teenagers out there with no retainers in the near future.

Would I recommend this field to anyone else? Good God, no. I’ve yet to see even an ounce of humanity in it. I just wish I had realized what a cruel mistress it was before I fell in love with it.

Wounded Heart w inscription

One of my fractals. Wounded Heart.

“Be a Swiffer, Not a Dust Mop”

You may have heard me mention that I’ve added another part time job to my ever growing pantheon of income sources. But this one is special as it is in a dental lab. Just when I thought my most recent degree in Dental Laboratory Technology was going to be a wasteful money pit in my other pantheon, that of useless degrees, it seems it just might have actually been worth the effort after all. Yay me!

Anyway, I was sort of crowing about my little employment coup to a dear and wise friend of mine, and she was saying that I need to take full advantage of this opportunity. I need to observe and learn everything I can, every single moment I’m in that lab. I shouldn’t waste time. I need to focus! In fact she said I should be a Swiffer, not a dust mop.

You see, a Swiffer is supposed to be vastly superior to the dust mops of old. It can gather more to it. It doesn’t merely push the dust around into ever increasing piles, causing you to sneeze. It doesn’t require extra equipment [like a dust pan] to get the job done. Oh, no. A Swiffer goes out there and kicks a** and takes names! It draws everything in its vicinity to it. It sucks up all the vital stuff around it.

No sneezing for this woman! No sir! I’m going to gather all the knowledge I can to me, and leave not one particle behind! A busy Swiffer I will bee…er, be!

Knowledge, after all, is power. Who’s with me? Let’s aspire to Swiffer-dom together! Hoo-ah!

swiffer

Update: How’s this for irony? The day after I wrote this I was fired from the dental lab. Not good enough, apparently. Screw ’em. There are many ways to mop a floor.

Cool Stuff You Never Knew about your Teeth

My latest degree is an AAS in Dental Laboratory Technology and Management, so I’ve spent a great deal of time learning about teeth and their anatomy and function. Teeth are a lot more complex than people realize. To quote Hermey the elf in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, “It’s fascinating! You’ve no idea! Molars and bicuspids and incisors…”

Anyway, I could go on for hours, but without using too many technical terms, here are a few cool things about teeth that you may not know:

  • Every ridge and crevice in your teeth serves a purpose. When aligned correctly, the ridges help you grind your food so that you can digest it properly, and the crevices help you sluice away debris so that you don’t leave a lot of food behind to create cavities.
  • When your teeth grow in your jaw, each tooth starts off as several individual parts, called “lobes” that eventually fuse together. Your molars, toward the back, are made up of 4 or 5 distinct lobes.
  • This blows my mind. The shape of your teeth is closely related to the shape of your face. If you have a round face, your teeth tend to be more rounded. If you have a square or rectangular or triangular countenance, your teeth will likely follow suit.
  • Women’s gum lines tend to be more curved than men’s.
  • The reason whitening toothpaste works is that it contains material that grinds away your tooth’s enamel to expose the dentin underneath, which is whiter. The problem with that is that you can’t get that enamel back, and it’s there for a reason. It’s harder, protects the tooth, and helps prevent cavities. Also, once the pretty white dentin is exposed, it starts becoming less white. It’s a vicious cycle. Personally I will never use toothpaste that has that whitening factor.
  • Teeth are subject to something called “mesial drift”, which means they have a tendency to move forward in your mouth if nothing gets in their way. That’s why it’s never good to just pull a tooth and leave nothing in that space, because all the teeth behind it will start marching forward like little soldiers, but unfortunately they won’t always be disciplined enough to stay in a straight line.
  • If you have an infection in your tooth, it’s a really bad idea to ignore it, because that infection can travel to your sinuses, your brain, even your heart, via the lymphatic system. It’s really dangerous.
  • The minute you remove teeth and don’t replace the gap with something, the bone that supported those teeth begins to resorb, which is basically a fancy word for slowly dissolving. Not a good situation if you want to have tooth implants later. The less bone the dentist has to work with, the less options you will have.
  • When your jaw is relaxed, your upper teeth are usually not touching your lower teeth. This is called “freeway space”. I bet you never noticed that. I know I didn’t.
  • This isn’t exactly tooth trivia, but I find it interesting. You know the ridges on the roof of your mouth? They’re called rugae, and they’re there to give your tongue traction so you can speak properly. That’s why people with nice slippery retainers talk funny. No traction.
  • There are an amazing amount of tooth anomalies out there. Some people’s teeth will come in in the wrong order. Some will develop multiple copies of the same tooth. Some people’s teeth will come out of the roof of their mouth, or erupt sideways. Some people’s tooth roots will twist around each other, or they’ll form additional roots.
  • The more mixed your heritage, the more likely you are to have problems with the development of your teeth. For example, if you inherit the large teeth from your mother’s side of the family combined with the small jaw from your father’s side, your teeth are going to be crowded and come in every which way.
  • That whole thing about George Washington having wooden teeth? Total myth. Wood swells when it gets wet. He did have several sets of dentures, but they were made of ivory, gold and (gulp) lead. It has also been said that some of his teeth originally belonged to his slaves.
  • I can’t stress this enough. If your dentist gives you a retainer, WEAR IT. If your teeth have been moved, it takes a long time for the underlying bone to fill in where your teeth are no longer located. That means if you don’t have a retainer to RETAIN your teeth in their current position, they’ll slide right back to their old location, and all that hard work, discomfort and expense will have been a huge waste of time. One of my biggest regrets is that I stopped wearing my retainer. Also, don’t go bending the wires of your retainer. They’re positioned for very specific reasons.

I’ll leave you with this: Anthropologists have discovered that even the Neanderthals brushed their teeth. They used sticks, which have left behind grooves in the fossil teeth, which is why we know of their habits. So, even cavemen knew the importance of brushing their teeth. I bet they’d have used floss if it were available, too. So you have no excuse.

teethThis actual tooth image is by Joshua Polansky, of Niche Dental Studio. He’s my Dental Lab hero because he stresses the artistry of his work above all else, and I hope to do this, too. He has many other gorgeous images that are available in poster form, and I hope that some day they will adorn the walls of my own dental lab. You can see his art work here.

The Art of Job Hunting

After getting a degree in Dental Laboratory Technology and Management and applying to 198 Orthodontic Laboratories throughout the country, I give you this graphically symbolic depiction of my hunt for employment:

Rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, I’d love to hire you but I’m going out of business, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection,  rejection, you have an inadequate skill set, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, I’m not going to train you just so you’ll run off and become my competition, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, you are overqualified, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, I can’t be bothered to even respond to your application, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, I know I asked you to drive 500 miles for this interview but your enthusiasm makes me nervous, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, you graduated summa cum laude so you probably think you know everything, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, sure I’ll hire you if you pay for your own relocation and take $7.00 an hour, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, I was expecting someone younger, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, how do I know you really want a career in this industry, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, come back when you have more experience, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, I need someone who can hit the ground running, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, I’m such a rude jackass that you’ll be glad I don’t hire you, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, I don’t really think this is the job for you, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, You seem to lack confidence,rejection, rejection,  rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, sorry but I hired someone more qualified but I wish you luck, rejection, rejection.

facepalm

Sigh.

Two Short Steps Away from my Life’s Dream

Wow! The other day I wrote a blog entry asking for a reader from Greenland, as that was one country I had yet to hear from. And within 14 hours, I got one! That left me marveling at the power of the internet and this blog. I mean, that country doesn’t even have a total population of 60,000, and English isn’t their first or even their second language, but there you have it. I got a reader. Yay Greenland!

When I was bragging about that to a dear friend, she said, “Ask and ye shall receive.” And that got me thinking. For many years I have been working and studying and struggling and striving to achieve my life’s dream, and there seem to be only two small hurdles that remain in my way. So why not ask? Maybe you can help change my life for the better. Come on, now, wouldn’t that make you smile?

Now, I know you’re busy, believe me, so I’ll break this down into bite sized pieces. You can determine what you want to read based on the headings.

What I Need:

1)      A full time job in Panama City, Florida.

2)      Affordable rental housing in Panama City, Florida.

More details about these things below.

A Description of my Dream:

For the past 30 years I’ve been trying to relocate to the Appalachian Mountains. Unfortunately work up there is very scarce, so I decided to go back to school and study something that would allow me to create my own work. So recently, after selling my house and moving 3 ½ hours south where I knew absolutely no one in order to go to school, I graduated with honors with a degree in Dental Laboratory Technology and Management. I fell in love with working with my hands, creating retainers and other dental devices. For me, this would be a job that wouldn’t feel like work. I’d love every minute of it. Eventually I want to buy a house in the mountains and set up a dental lab in my garage.

But first I need some hands on experience. I applied to 198 orthodontic labs all over the United States and Canada and had no luck finding a job. Either they weren’t hiring or they could sense I would eventually move on. That’s when the power of the internet intervened once again. I met an angel named Vicky. She runs her own orthodontic laboratory in Panama City, and she’s willing to mentor me. She seems to think that with some hands on experience, I should be able to start my own business in about a year and a half or so. The fact that she’s willing to take the time to share her expertise with me is amazing. It’s a rare thing in this world to come across someone who is willing, even eager, to improve your life.

Unfortunately, I’ll still have bills to pay. So if I can only get a job, any job, in Panama City and find a place I can afford to rent, I can spend time in Vicky’s lab during my off hours, and my dream could come true. It’s so close, so freakin’ close, but I have to get there first.

My Housing Needs:

I have two little dogs, so I need a free standing place with a fenced yard for them to play in. They’re older, non-destructive dogs, and as a matter of fact I’m also older and non-destructive. I don’t throw wild parties. I don’t smoke or do drugs. All I want is a tiny little roof over my head with a washer dryer hook up. Unfortunately the most I could pay in rent is 600 dollars a month. I’ve seen lots of tiny little houses in the Cove and St. Andrews neighborhoods of Panama City. Those would be ideal locations.

My Work Needs:

I need a full time job that pays at least 10 dollars an hour. Basically any office job, security work or customer service work would do quite nicely.

I am dependable, intelligent, competent, I take my work seriously. I don’t have children or destructive habits. I learn quickly. I’m fluent in Spanish and I have an unarmed security guard license. I’m creative, innovative and analytical, and I possess excellent writing and communication skills. I’m known for completing tasks in a timely manner and within budget. I’m very well organized and I require little supervision. I’m skilled in a wide range of areas including editing, interviewing, event planning, customer service, training, field work, public speaking and record keeping. I type 60 wpm. My computer skills include Quickbooks, Microsoft Word & Word Perfect, Access & Dbase, Excel & Lotus 123, Outlook Express, Memory Stick Voice Editor, and PowerPoint.

I’ve been a bridgetender for 12 years, so I’m an expert at writing reports, communicating, ensuring the safety of vessels, vehicles and pedestrians, problem solving, and time management.

I’ve also been a freelance editor, transcriber, and writer for many years. I definitely know how to multitask.

Before that I worked as a Maintenance Management Systems Engineer for the State of Florida Department of Transportation, where I analyzed and managed data regarding production, personnel, equipment and materials, performed crew studies and conducted production meetings to enhance the efficiency of employees responsible for safely maintaining highways for the traveling public, evaluated and adjusted a 40 column, 104 row spreadsheet to ensure that the maintenance yard operated within budget, and remained within limits of contracts, equipment, and labor. I inventoried all features of the state roads in two counties by way of field work and database maintenance and supervised an Engineering Technician III and a Word Processing Systems Operator.

In a Nutshell:

Have you ever had a dream that is so close you could practically taste it? That’s where I am right now. If you’re in Panama City, or know anyone who is, please send them a link to this blog entry. Post it on your Facebook page or theirs. Publish it in Reddit. Spread the word any way you can! If you hire me or rent to me, you won’t regret it.

If you can help me, simply put your contact information in the comment section below. I promise it will be there for less than half a day, then I’ll delete it and contact you.

Thanks for listening. I’m hoping the power of the internet will smile upon me one more time. My fingers are crossed!

fingers crossed

(Photo Credit: rgbstock.com)