ACA Blog

Hope Yancey
Dec 20, 2010

Dentist Or Toymaker?

I am a fan of the holiday television specials that air on the networks this time of year, children’s programs like the “Peanuts” I fondly remember from childhood. Some of them hold as much – or more – appeal for me as an adult as they did back then, and I look forward to them with greater anticipation than is probably sophisticated to admit. There is something oddly reassuring about watching these shows year after year. I’m sure they are for sale somewhere, and I could purchase my own copies to enjoy whenever I wanted, but that wouldn’t provide the same experience.

I don’t know how many times I must have viewed “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” throughout the decades, the classic 1964 version with Burl Ives narrating. As a little girl, I recall being a bit afraid at the scenes involving the Abominable Snowmonster’s reign of terror. As is often the case with repeated viewings, it’s something entirely different we notice as we get older.

On a foray this month into the make-believe world of Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, Santa Claus, elves and friends, it was Hermey who made an impression. (A side note: I’ve seen Hermey’s name subjected to various spellings; I even thought it was Herbie. This couldn’t have helped his identity crisis.)

You may recall Hermey as the small, “misfit” blond elf far more fascinated with healing molars, incisors and bicuspids than making dolls, toy cars or teddy bears. It wasn’t going to be an easy path for the boy, though. “You’re an elf, and elves make toys,” the head elf, not much for career counseling, admonished him with a snarl. “Someday I’d like to be a dentist,” Hermey confessed quietly.

As you know from this familiar tale, there were a few struggles along the way. Hermey’s mettle was soon tested, but he demonstrated the practical value in his dentistry skills, helping render harmless the snowmonster by extracting the monster’s formidable fangs. By the movie’s conclusion, the head elf had softened his stance to become more supportive of this young elf’s career goals, and Hermey was well on his way to opening a dental practice.

Real life is more complicated, of course. And lots of obstacles, genuine or imagined, may stand in our – or a client’s – way when trying to realize career aspirations, although at least we don’t face down the Abominable Snowmonster, right? Like Hermey, we must still be true to ourselves and encourage clients to do the same. With the end of 2010 fast approaching and 2011 just around the corner, this may be a good time to revisit our own professional goals we have set for ourselves. Realize, too, that clients may come forward with their career issues within the context of New Year’s resolutions they have made. Happy holidays.



Hope Yancey is a counselor and freelance writer living in Charlotte, North Carolina

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