Fear of the Dentist | Part 1

Fear of visiting the dentist? Yes, but it’s not what you think. As an adult I find enjoyment having my teeth worked on. I like to test my relaxation skills to see how calm I can get with the commotion happening in my face. My fear is a unique and probably laughable one when it comes to a dentist visit…. He’s going to ask me about my progress and efforts to break into the world of cycling.

I graduated college in May, knowing my job would end in June, and decided “now is a great time to pay hundreds of dollars in dental bills” because, like most people, I had dental work that was overdue.

My first of three appointments this summer started with the usual “How’s life? What are you up to these days?” This was the beginning of my shift in career ladders and I was moving towards the cycling industry. My response was an unsure “Well, I’m going to take a couple months off to figure some things out. I’m looking for something that will allow me to travel, perhaps something in the cycling industry.”

As I casually mentioned my goal to him his whole demeanor changed. He asked “Do you cycle?” and after laughing at my response of “No, I don’t actually cycle,” he spent the entire appointment mapping out ideas for my future. He got off track a few times, suggesting I work with the rodeo, or interview campers at Yellowstone. But it was great to hear more about his recommendations for companies I needed to research, and the events I needed to attend. The main goal: “You have to go to the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado.”

I took his advice because, well, he has sharp objects drilling into my teeth, but also because he has a passion for cycling. It developed when he was a young runner who moved into triathlons. Now his whole family enjoys following the tour and other races.

With each appointment I feel the need to bring something to the table because I know he will ask me the tough questions. He's literally said "You better have a good story for us next time you come in." He scrutinizes my methods of networking and my efforts to break into the industry, rolling his eyes at my All-Star status on LinkedIn. He’s not impressed. I’ve appointed him as my honorary career counselor and I want to make him proud. Plus, I need a job to pay for all my dental work! (Luckily after my next appointment I will be cavity free.)

I am nervous and excited to tell him “I MADE IT TO THE USA PRO CHALLENGE IN COLORADO!” I hope he will be proud but I assume he will not be impressed since I did not leave the race with a job offer. To avoid the disappointed look I plan to distract him with a sticker I brought back from the race. He probably won’t fall for it but it’s worth a try. 

UPDATE: Read Part 2 here.