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Balancing Work and Fun in the Dental Industry

It’s easy to say, “put the key in the door and walk away,” but that’s harder for those of us who love what we do for work on a daily basis. More and more people struggle to separate work and leisure, and this stress makes it more and more difficult to wake up and go to work. I’ve learned the key to this delicate balance is finding ways to enjoy facets of your job, without overwhelming your personal time.

Building a Professional Getaway

Recently, I returned from a vacation in New York City. Why would I pick NYC as a vacation spot in late November, and how does that relate to work? Well, the Greater NY Dental Meeting, of course! Fortunately, my husband of 37 years is a good sport and has accepted the fact that I am a dental nerd. The trick is to balance fun with work.

We arrived in NYC Sunday morning, ahead of the New York Jets’ traffic jam. Fortunately, I was able to arrange an early check-in at our hotel, which happened to be in Times Square, before taking a train to the Bronx to meet up with friends.

We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at a crab shack and then sought out the locale’s off-the-beaten-path places in the Bronx. The food options in the city are amazing and so diverse. When people think of NYC, they often think about the Empire State Building and Times Square, but “The City That Never Sleeps” has so much more to offer.

Christmas time in NYC is the best. There is something fun for everyone: walking through pop-up shops and holiday markets, watching the ice skaters or joining them, sipping hot apple cider, or gazing at the beautiful city lights in the background. We enjoyed a nice walk back through the crowds of Times Square and did some more shopping. We had an exciting day ahead of us, so we needed a good night’s rest.

We woke up bright and early to enjoy breakfast before the dental convention. One tip for  finding the best places to visit is to ask the locals for recommendations if you want to find inexpensive, delicious food. One of the City’s finest recommended a small local restaurant off 5th Avenue. We had huge omelets with home fries and toast for $7 each in Manhattan! Have I mentioned that I love the city?

My husband walked me to the Javits Center and left to explore the city after our breakfast. Little did he know that I had been dropped off in Dental Heaven. It was here, at the Greater New York Dental Meeting, that I came to realize how vital an enjoyment of one’s career truly is. Building a scape around your professional life, as a hobby, helps make your work that much more enjoyable.

Relating Work to Fun

The Greater New York Dental Meeting is the largest dental  convention in the country. It’s a true dental experience. Thanks to COVID, there was a mask mandate in effect, but this wasn’t an issue to dental health care professionals who wear masks all day anyway. I made my way from booth-to-booth learning all that I could about new products, new services, and updates to old materials. I was in my glory and I realized the more you learn, the more you notice how much you do not know.

Finally, I made my way to the booth for the American Dental Assistants Association, which was being manned by the President and the President-Elect of the American Dental Assistants Association, or ADAA. Those ladies just so happened to be old friends of mine, so we had a fantastic time getting caught up. COVID has kept us apart for way too long. They asked if I could help man the booth for a while, as they needed to meet briefly with event coordinators. Would I mind? It was an honor.

I had the opportunity to talk with attending dental assistants, dental administrative staff, and dentists who wanted to learn more about the largest dental assistant organization in the country. People stopped at the booth that I had not seen in years; old coworkers, an assistant I served with on an ADAA Committee years ago, even a sales representative, who changed companies and moved out of Pennsylvania. It was great to catch up. These conferences provide helpful insight to both active dental assistants and those looking for professional development. The first step in this process is to find a dental assistant training program or course that is the right fit for you.

The comradery in dentistry is unbelievable until you experience it. As a Dental Business Office Assistant, you can be part of the ADAA organization. The entire dental team is one big family. We all have the same goal – provide quality dental care to our patients. It was a truly an amazing opportunity to work the ADAA booth, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

After an eventful day, my time at the convention was up. I said my goodbyes and met up with my husband to continue our tour of New York City. We traversed Little Italy and visited  the first pizzeria in America, then had a slow walk back uptown to our hotel in Times Square. As you can see, it’s possible to separate, yet combine, work and pleasure.

Someone once said do what you love, love what you do, and you will never work a day in your life. True – very true.


Written by: Colette Jesikiewicz CDPMA, FADAA

Colette Jesikiewicz joined our Blackstone team in 2020. She is a graduate of the Expanded Function Dental Assisting program at Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke, PA. Mrs. Jesikiewicz received her national accreditation as a Certified Dental Practice Management Administrator from the Dental Assisting National Board and her Fellowship in Dental Business Management from the American Dental Assistants Association. Her past experience in the profession includes chairside assisting, receptionist and office manager. She currently holds the position of Dental Administrative Assistant at Fortis Institute, Scranton, PA. and Administrative Service Coordinator for the DentalCare program at Jewish Family Service, Scranton, PA.  She looks forward to guiding students through their training in our Dental Office Assistant program.