Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 12 Roller Coaster 1

Balancing the ups and downs of your dental assisting career

April 20, 2018
Roller coasters are fun, but you should not be on one every single day of your job. Settle into your career, and hopefully having a positive attitude will keep you focused on the best about your job.
Kevin Henry, Cofounder,
This article originally appeared in Dental Assisting Digest e-newsletter. Subscribe to this informative monthly ENL designed specifically for the dental assistant here.

Seriously, will winter ever end in our country? I’m sitting in Pittsburgh writing this editor’s note . . . and the forecast in the Steel City tonight calls for snow. I’m not sure who made Mother Nature so mad, but someone has really hacked her off.

Two days ago, I was overlooking the ocean in Virginia Beach, taking in an 80-degree day after speaking at the Virginia Dental Assistants Association gathering. That seems like a long time ago now that I’m sitting here watching people walk past my writing perch bundled up like it’s Christmas Eve.

What a difference 48 hours and a change of location can make. It got me thinking about 48 hours in terms of your career and job situation. A couple of days can make all the difference between feeling like a rock star and feeling like you want to quit your job and become a florist or banker.

It’s funny how life is, isn’t it? One day you’re on top of the world, and the next you feel like you’re looking up at the entire world. We all go through the roller coasters of life. The trick is to figure out how to have more even-keeled days and fewer ups and downs.

My hobby (if you can call it that) is overseeing a blog called Rox Pile that covers the Colorado Rockies baseball team. I’m lucky enough to cover the team and talk to the coaches and players before and after games. I was recently talking to Colorado manager Bud Black, and another reporter asked him if his team was excited about going up against Washington starting pitcher Max Scherzer. Scherzer was named the best pitcher in the National League on three different occasions. Black’s response was great.

“I’ve said this repeatedly and I’ve said this to the guys—you have to stay at a high pitch, regardless of the game. You can’t get more fired up for one game over another. You can’t ride that roller coaster, up and down. You can’t get high for that one game but not get as high for this one.”

Yes, there are days that are better than others. Yes, there are patients who are more enjoyable and easier than others. The trick is not to love those appointments and patients so much that the tougher patients make the day seem much worse.

See if you can find joy in everything you do and every patient you see. See if you can find that one bright spot in every part of the day and expand on it somehow. When you can find the positives, even in negative situations, the roller coaster starts to even out and those moments you’ve been dreading don’t seem so bad.

Winter will end soon (I promise!). Yet there’s even beauty in the snow that keeps falling in April, right? In my home state of Colorado, that snow keeps our ski resorts open (and keeps you flying into our state and donating your money). It also makes sure that we have plenty of water this summer to lure you back for whitewater rafting.

Don’t get too high. Don’t get too low. Find the sliver of joy in everything you do. Hey, roller coasters are a blast, but not every day.

Author’s notes

At IgniteDA, we have more than 30 webinars on topics ranging from infection control to money matters, and they’re all completely free for you to enjoy. We recently hosted a webinar with Ginny Hegarty, SPHR, called “Cell phones, tattoos and piercings, and getting along . . . on my!” We hit some of the topics that I’m hearing about all over the country, and we did it in one “hour of power.”

You can hear our thoughts for free by going to and clicking on my article with the webinar title. Inside, you’ll find the link to Hegarty’s thoughts on a number of potentially divisive topics. Invest some time into this important webinar. You’ll be glad you did.

I would love to meet you!

I will be speaking at a number of events during the next few weeks, including the state dental meetings in Michigan, Texas, and Connecticut. I’ll also be speaking at the state dental assistant meetings in Nebraska and Michigan. Plus, I can’t wait to be part of a great day of hands-on learning near Seattle in mid-May. It would be great to meet you and have you be a part of these days. Just click on the events tab on to view my speaking schedule and what we have lined up for assistants during the next few weeks. #TogetherWeRise

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About the Author

Kevin Henry | Cofounder,

With more than 20 years in the dental publishing industry, Kevin Henry is the former group editorial director for Dental Products Report and managing editor for Dental Economics. Currently, he is the editor-in-chief for He has spoken to dental assistants throughout the world, in person and through the Dental Assistant Nation podcast series, reminding them of the important role they play every day in their practice. He is also certified as a DiSC trainer, helping dental practices learn how to understand each other better through personality assessments and training.