Tuesday, 1 May 2012


[Originally posted on Working to Live, 13th July 2011]

When I first became unemployed I pretty much kept all my options open and applied for any job going. All I wanted was an income - hence the acceptance of two jobs of leafleting and shop assistant.

Now that I have an income, albeit limited, I can actually afford the time to consider what I really want to do. It's a daunting prospect when I think that I'm not far off turning 30 years old. A few years will go by alarmingly quickly. I can't even believe it's been nearly nine months since I was last in full time employment - that's just scary.

So I've sat down, taken stock of what my current skills are, what I'm good at and what I'd like to do. Strange as it sounds, but I do enjoy admin work - I love being organised, typing letters and things being 'just so'. I like order and being professional. I want a job where there are things to learn all the time, where my knowledge and skills are valued and that I'm doing something that benefits others.

As much as I liked my office job, it was endlessly frustrating that people earning 3 or 4 times my salary were so oblivious to things like the filing - it's the freaking alphabet! It's not hard to put something back in the right place! Oh, and that flashing 'no paper' warning on the photocopier? That means you need to reload the paper, not run to me whinging that it's broken and you have no idea what to do. Yet you are an 'officer' with a higher standing and get more respect than the lowly administration team that you rely upon so heavily for everything that you do. That kind of thing drove me up the wall. I want to work with professional individuals who take pride in their work.

This is has all nudged me in the direction of dental nursing. Admittedly a random search result on a job website flagged a vacancy up and that led me to look into it more in the first instance.

I've looked into how I become registered, what's involved with becoming qualified. I've printed off the prospectus for the examination I'll need to pass.

I like what I see. There's a lot to learn and I would be learning on the job and attending a course for some time. There's progression to other areas of dentistry available once qualified. Ongoing learning is something I thrive on. I can't not be learning something new. The first few weeks of unemployment were almost like a nice break, a mini-holiday to relax - but it honestly does not take long for me to start climbing the walls for lack of mental stimulation. I need a regular working pattern (Monday to Friday is ideal) and I need something to focus on, to learn new things.

You can tell I lived for school. I hated the long summer holidays by the end - they were far too long and I wanted to go to lessons! Even now, I'm learning Japanese and new RPG systems purely because I find so much enjoyment in learning.

Dental nursing is becoming a more appealing option to me. It incorporates some administration tasks which is great and the skills and knowledge required are leaving me salivating! I'm perfectly happy to wear a uniform. I'd be supporting a dentist in his role and helping the patients; we all need dental care at some point so it's not like the profession is going to go away - it's all important stuff and I want that kind of responsibility.

I want to learn! Truthfully, if I were rich enough to never need to work I would either spend my life attending courses and reading or else work for free at a job I could learn something from.

Research into the role of dental nurses is well underway. I'm making a contact list of all the dental surgeries in my area and any areas I can travel to. I'm looking into advice on how to write a better covering letter. My CV will need polishing up again.

Ultimately, once I return from my fabulous holiday in September (the blog will go quiet for maybe 3 weeks that month, sorry!) I will be sending out CV's with a covering letter to all the dental surgeries explaining my desire to be a dental nurse. With any luck, even if some don't have any vacancies, there'll be one who will be happy to consider me as a candidate for any post that is or will become available.

I'm loath to send out letters just yet because of my holiday. Been saving up for it since last year and it's being booked now - don't want to contact a dentist only to turn down any interview / informal chat / job offers because I can't attend for a few weeks. That does kind of suck, but then again, I've got to be positive and view the time I have from now until I leave as time to be spent on research and preparing my covering letters and CV's.

Perhaps this method of direct contact will be more fruitful than simply hunting all over for job adverts.


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