Dr. Sonia Smith

“I should have left private practice two years prior, but I kept putting it off and labeling it as ‘quitting’ or ‘not working hard enough.’ I was just hamster-wheeling, going around in circles. I finally told myself, ‘If I can’t grow my own practice, I’ll help somebody else grow theirs.’… They put me in the smallest office they had, of course, because I was the new girl on the block—I’m not gonna get a prime pick. I figured I just needed to be the best that I could be for these patients and just shine in this little bitty office. So I did that, with minimum pay. And I’m this dentist with 11 years of experience at the time. But once you go to work for a corporation just trying to be the best you can be instead of looking at all the faults, that’s where stuff starts to happen. People start to talk. And that’s what happened to me. Assistants started talking. Managers started talking, saying, ‘Who is this girl?’… I got promoted and was working in their #1 office, still in a place of gratitude. I was just so grateful I didn’t have to wear all the hats. I told myself, ‘I’m not worried about what everyone else is doing. I’m just doing my best and staying in my lane.’ Then I got another promotion. Because people are talking. Patients are talking. Doctors are liking you. That all happened within the first 90 days… I feel like going corporate is the best decision I’ve made as a mother, as a wife, as a go-getter. So many people think leaving private practice is because you aren’t business-savvy or an entrepreneur. Sometimes you need to humble yourself. I don’t love dentistry, I love building relationships. I preferred building my family. I wanted to use dentistry as a stepping stool. I wanted to take home a salary—which is good, by the way, REALLY good—and do what I love. Life is so much better for me… Quit listening to those voices in your head. Quit judging yourself based on the success of other people, because you might have success doing things another way. It’s contentment, it’s comparisons, it’s ungratefulness. Just do you. If you’re at a crossroads, you’re not a failure.”