Front Teeth Hit Pavement: Lessons from the Emergency Room

I’m in Phoenix speaking and in strategic meetings this week – see my speaking schedule here.

Saturday afternoon my wife woke me from a nap and told me our 4 year old daughter was running to a friends house and tripped really hard.

She had smashed her two front teeth inwards, and there was a lot of blood.  It was scary, to say the least.

(update: she seems to be doing well.  No broken bones (jaw, nose, etc.) and we’re hoping she has a full, sweet recovery)

I could write six blog posts about the experience, but I want to focus on one, and tie it to people who just learn they lost their job (or lost something else that is big).

My wife and I were sitting in the emergency room with our daughter, who was laying on the bed.  We were waiting for the next update and we had all kinds of questions.  Of course, as parents we think about the worst case possibilities and wonder how this will affect her speech, looks, social activities, etc.

How long will she have to eat out of a straw?

When will her teeth be strong enough to bite into a piece of bread?

What happens if they have to extract her teeth now?

How much pain will she be in, and for how long?

I think we did good, as her parents, but I think it’s fair to say were were terrified.

That’s where the emergency room staff came in.  I had never had such a positive experience before.  The wait to get help was very short and every person we talked with was very kind, patient, professional, and even somehow soothing.

I was thinking about how we were terrified, but we had people to “hold our hand” through the ordeal, and help us know that this would be fixed, and she would be back to normal, and it would be okay.

That’s exactly what many job seekers need.

In my job search I needed someone who could almost take control, let me see there were answers and processes and tools, show me I wasn’t alone and this wasn’t unprecedented.

Just knowing we were surrounded by professionals and tools in the right environment to get the problem resolved eased our terror.

How can job seekers find solace in the tools, environment and friends they have? It should be there, or close – perhaps just look a little harder?

How can career professionals help? Don’t forget that even though you’ve helped people through this process a million times, this might be the first, most terrifying experience for your new client.

How can friends and family help? Be supportive, validate the feelings, and try and help the job seeker get in the right environment, with the right tools, to help get through this process.

My experience in the ER was one that I don’t want to have to repeat again, but I’m happy to say that in our time of fear and unknown we were set at ease by the environment and people.

Please, help job seekers get in the right environment, and surrounded by the right people, and equipped with the right job search tools.

9 thoughts on “Front Teeth Hit Pavement: Lessons from the Emergency Room”

  1. One of the first things I learned about networking is that you have to be a friend before you get a friend. If you help people out when they need it, they will be more likely to help you out when you need it. Even if you can’t find them a job, meeting them for lunch to share ideas and give advice when it’s asked for will do wonders for them.
    Lew Sauder, Author, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting (

  2. Great post, Jason, and a great reminder for career professionals to provide the same caring, compassionate, quality service as the ER staff who took care of your daughter. We went to the ER last year and had a similar experience when our youngest son got injured playing football in our backyard and needed several stitches on his face. Our backyard looked like a crime scene, and it was a nerve-wracking ordeal. In the end, though, our son was fine, and now you can’t even see the scar.

  3. Oh-my-gosh Jason, hope your daughter has a full recovery — they do heal fast at that age — sometimes parental recovery is almost worse 🙂 Back to business — the emotions of the job search are so tough to deal with. One of the most gratifying parts of my work is when a client, who expects to get very specific help with written materials and process, finds that they also feel relieved and more confident just from digging deep to tell me their story.

  4. Jason I hope your daughter is doing better than her parents. My son has contracted Ankylosing Spondylitis, which it painful and debilitating and at age 27 both my wife and I would gladly take the pain for him, but he handles it with the maturity of a man many years older. I admire him.

    If I fall and am hurt I want someone to care for me.

    Our approach to our customer base is much the same way. I have adapted a new title for me and my staff … I am “Chief OccuPassion Concierge” and they are “Deputy Chief OccuPassion Concierge” to reflect our commitment to our customer’s needs. This is in addition to my role at job fairs as the “Chief of Résumé Doctors – Résumé Resuscitation Team.”

    When you come down to it we are blessed to be in the helping professions.

  5. This is the experience that JibberJobber has provided to me. In so many ways, Jason, you’re always there coaching me on and providing new ideas for finding my perfect job. Thanks.

  6. Kim is at the dentist right now getting her teeth pulled. No broken bones or anything, which is awesome, but the teeth are not going to heal, so she gets to be one of those kids who has no front teeth for longer than usual. The good news is she was scheduled to lose them in the next 12 – 18 months anyway…

    Thank goodness it was not nearly as bad as it could have been!

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