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How selecting changed my life

Dec. 20, 2018
By focusing on a few items that served her, Amber Auger, RDH, found joy.

As the end of the year approaches, I am taking time for myself to recover from this past year’s hectic schedule. In my own pursuit to find balance in a career I love, I found myself reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. While reading, I turned the page one day to find a sentence that struck me to my core: "The ability to choose can not be taken away, it can only be forgotten."

I have always been a person who feels like they can have and achieve it all if they work hard enough. This mindset most likely came from my mother, a fierce single mom who raised me while working three jobs to keep the lights on. But what I have learned is that pushing yourself beyond exhaustion is not the healthy thing to do. Next year, I will share my journey that led me to adrenal fatigue. It's a story of how, at the age of 30, my cortisol levels were so high that they began to shut down my organs. Although dramatic, it was true, and thankfully the condition was reversible through a heavy detox of both lifestyle, diet, and the pursuit of less.

Over the course of my 14 years in the dental field, I have witnessed clinicians who were miserable and stayed in jobs they hated. Heck, I have done it myself. I felt like there was no other option. But I am here to tell you there is always another option. I have quit a job without having another job lined up. Luckily I was hired within twenty-four hours of quitting—though I do not recommend this approach, as it is not easy on the adrenal glands. However, I do recommend finding another option if you are unhappy. Maybe that looks like taking a pay cut but being an hour closer to home. Maybe it looks like teaching dental hygiene. Maybe it's changing your hours to provide better balance.

Our profession is a unique one that allows us to prevent oral and systemic disease. This same profession was not designed to create burnout in clinicians, but it can. Therefore, we must stand up for our ourselves as well as our patients. Whatever the change is, I encourage you to keep serving your patients and find something that allows your soul to be filled with joy.

It's true: we cannot serve others if we do not serve ourselves first. I encourage you to find a quiet place before the new year begins and set goals. What is it that truly brings you joy? Explore your schedule and your plans and eliminate what is not necessary. Focus on a few items that truly serve you. Ask yourself what obstacles need to be removed to fully pursue your goals. Then, run after your desires. I did, and it was the best thing I ever did for myself.

Each year I provide dental services aboard and it fills me with so much gratitude. I feel like I am renewed. Feel free to email me if you’d like to join me. Otherwise, chase your dreams fiercely—you’re worth it!

Thank you for being a part of the RDH Graduate family! If you’d like to contribute or want to see a topic covered please email me at [email protected].

Amber Auger, MPH, RDH, is a hygienist with experience in multiple clinical settings. She obtained a bachelor’s in dental hygiene from the University of New Haven and a master’s degree in public health from the University of New England. She works part-time at a dental office in Boston. She is a key opinion leader for several dental companies, a speaker, and a published author. Contact her at
About the Author

Amber Auger, MPH, RDH

Amber Auger MPH, RDH, is an international lecturer, the 2019 Sunstar RDH Award of Distinction, editorial director for RDH Graduate, creator of Thrive in the Op, and the Functional RDH Certification. Amber has more than 18 years of experience in the dental field and has been practicing dental hygiene since 2010. An active mentor to fellow hygienists, she champions personal and professional growth through her innovative Thrive in the Op on-demand courses and live coaching sessions. She can be reached at [email protected]. 

Updated January 22, 2024