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Moms and the Job Sharing Economy

Posted April 5, 2016

Tonya Lanthier, RDH

 

dental-dentist-hygiene-front office-hygienistThe world’s biggest taxi company, Uber, owns no cars. The world’s premier media outlet, Facebook, creates no content. And the worlds largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no real estate.

It is an interesting time we live in, this so-called sharing economy, and we do this in the dental world as well.

A majority  95 percent  of dental hygienists are women, and I feel so lucky to have been surrounded by fellow women in the industry for the last 20 years.

When I was going through fertility treatments, I desperately needed flexibility in my schedule. Its hard enough to schedule an annual doctor visit with our busy schedules  hygienists probably know that better than anyone because our patients are often burdened by trying to find time in their schedules to see us every six months.

Once you need to visit the doctor for something more than a routine annual check-up, stuff gets crazy real quick. Add fertility issues into the equation and youre going to the doctor several times a month, always during the exact hours youre supposed to be working! Many women have to quit their jobs in order to pursue fertility diagnosis and treatment  I was lucky to be in a field where the flexibility I needed was available.

One way that I found more flexibility was through temping. I worked in many dental offices throughout that time in my life. I saw offices that worked well together, where the team members were happy and productive. Then I saw other offices that were unproductive, unorganized and nobody wanted to be there. Thats how I came up with the idea for DentalPost, which I started building as soon as I could by writing down every name and number I came across in my pocket calendar.

Once I finally got pregnant and had my beautiful twin girls, I continued to need that flexibility for my children  again, for things like doctor visits. I also needed a lenient schedule because I was trying to get DentalPost off the ground while building a house and taking care of twin toddlers.

I then found additional flexibility through job sharing. I started sharing my job with another dental hygienist and dear friend of mine, Jody. At that time, I was temping at two different offices, and when I couldnt make it to work, Jody was there to fill in. The dentists trusted Jody to fill in for me when I wasnt there, because we always worked together on scheduling. We would even share the day if one of us needed off in the morning but wanted to come back in the afternoon!

If employers have a rigid schedule, or, if they value work over family, its very hard for mothers. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, moms are always innovating and looking for ways to make things better for their family. Job sharing has allowed me to create the life I live now, and I will be forever grateful for that.

As an entrepreneur and mother, I see a huge similarity between the two: businesses will always adapt to a changing economy to stay afloat, just like moms will always adapt to changing circumstances to keep things running smoothly. In this case, job sharing was the answer for entrepreneurship and motherhood.


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