"Your teeth are disgustingly clean," Jodi Olson, dental hygienist from Crosslake Dental Center, said last week as I lay back in her dentist's chair with my mouth wide open, pearly whites and tonsils exposed. "This is no fun."
Fun? Cleaning teeth is supposed to be fun?
It's a concept that had never occurred to me before. Dental hygienists may possibly enjoy cleaning dirty teeth. So throughout my life I've been frantically brushing my teeth in the car before my visit to the dentist and here it wasn't even necessary.
"Yeah, the grosser the teeth, the better," said Jodi with a smile. "It's more of a challenge that way. I like the feeling I'm doing something to better (my patients)."
Jodi loves her job and she's not afraid to show it.
"I love teeth," she said. "There isn't anything else. I just love teeth."
When Jodi, 27, was in kindergarten she wrote her first paper. The topic was "Why I want to be a dentist."
She had her wisdom teeth pulled years ago and instead of throwing them away, she made them into earrings. Just for fun.
You've got to love a dental hygienist who not only loves her job, but can publicly enjoy it, too.
While most American workers aren't likely to openly admit they love their jobs, a 1999 CNN/Gallup Poll found out why people do enjoy their jobs. The top five reasons were:
-- Co-workers (67 percent).
-- Safety conditions (63 percent).
-- Flexibility of hours (56 percent).
-- Vacation time (50 percent).
-- Job security (48 percent).
When Karen Ettesvold, Pequot Lakes, was in high school in Fairmont, she often braided her friends' hair while sitting behind them in her homeroom class. So becoming a hair stylist was a natural fit for the bubbly blonde with a knack for hair design. She's been in the business now for 19 years.
For Karen and her business partner, Kyle Stachour, working at Mane Attraction in Pequot Lakes is more than just a job. They've become like family to each other and so have the multitude of customers who stroll in and spend a half hour or longer in their chairs.
It takes Karen a good hour or so to cut my hair, the Mount Everest of flyaway curls. In the meantime, we catch up on everything that has happened in our lives since the last time I was there. She is also a great source of story ideas for me. Hey, I'm not just getting my hair cut, I'm working, too, I told my editor while leaving the office for a hair appointment recently.
"You would not believe how many interesting people I get in my chair," said Karen. "And it's one of the few jobs where people call you up later and tell you how much they love the job you did. How many times do you call up the gynecologist and say, 'Thank you for the pap smear?'"
About 61 percent of those polled in 1989 said they were satisfied with their jobs. That number in 1999 decreased to 47 percent who reported they were satisfied with their jobs, according to the 1999 CNN/Gallup Poll.
Those respondents polled said they were unhappy at work because of:
-- Job stress (34 percent).
-- Wages (30 percent).
-- Retirement plan (29 percent).
-- Health insurance (28 percent).
-- Likelihood of promotion (27 percent).
Jodi's enthusiasm for proper dental hygiene apparently rubbed off on my 7-year-old daughter at her recent dental visit. My daughter now flosses all the time. I can't stop her from flossing. She's obsessed.
And perhaps she's rubbed off on me, too. Since Jodi loves cleaning dirty teeth, I figure I better stop brushing my teeth in the car before I head to the dentist. Instead, I'll stop at a convenience store on my way to Crosslake and get a cappuccino and a bag of gooey caramels to eat before I get there.
I'd hate for my dental chart to read: "Clean teeth. No fun."
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