Out of office – John Makin discusses his love of skiing

John Makin skiing

John Makin talks about his love for skiing and the importance of hobbies to avoid burnout within dentistry.

Please introduce yourself

My name is John Makin and I am head of the Dental Defence Union (DDU).

I qualified in Manchester in 1983. Worked as a general dental practitioner in Lancashire and Devon before joining the DDU as a dentolegal adviser. I was involved with foundation training for many years as both a trainer and VT adviser/training programme director.

What do you get up to in your spare time away from dentistry?

I am an infrequent golfer and a keen skier.

I enjoy spending time with my family, in particular our three-year-old granddaughter. They do say that ‘out of the mouths of babes comes forth truth’. She certainly keeps us grounded and focused on the things that matter.

Are you a foodie? Why and what particular food do you go for?

I very much enjoy cooking in the evenings and at weekends. My signature dish is probably steak with a peppercorn sauce.

However, being originally from near Wigan but now resident in the south east, I must confess that I do miss a good pie.

Are you into any sport? If so what sport and why did you get into it in the first place?

Golf, skiing and football. The latter spectating from the terraces when we eventually are allowed to again, currently via my sofa season ticket.

What type of television/movies do you like – any guilty pleasures?

I don’t get much time to watch TV. But I do love a good addictive binge-worthy box set, such as Line of Duty. My guilty pleasure is to Escape to the Chateau.

Film-wise, I think you’d go a long way to beat Donald Sutherland’s portrayal of Sergeant Oddball in the iconic Kelly’s Heroes.

Do you like to travel and do your hobbies take you anywhere in particular?

I’m a real Francophile. We’ve skied there many times but it has so much variety. I think of it as a mini-USA with its rugged north west coast, Alpine resorts, wine regions and Mediterranean coast.

I could spend a lifetime exploring there and still only see a fraction of what it has to offer.

Since our three children have grown up we’ve travelled further afield, but for me the attraction of France is irresistible.

Why is it important to have hobbies away from dentistry?

It’s absolutely important to switch off from the pressures of practice and avoid burnout. Hobbies are a great way to do that.

A portfolio of professional interests for variety along with enjoyable hobbies can really help with achieving a good work-life balance, which is really important.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Dentistry remains a fantastic and rewarding profession to be a part of. However, the pressures are many and varied and it is obvious that in 2020 the pandemic has put a real additional strain on colleagues in so many different ways.

At the DDU our role is to relieve some of this pressure by fighting our members’ corner both individually and collectively.

If there’s one message I’d like dental professionals to take into 2021 it is that perception and reality rarely marry up. The actual likelihood of a career-changing dentolegal event remains relatively low. With risk management advice we aim to reduce that even further.

Rest assured, if you are unlucky enough to face a dentolegal investigation, we are here for help and support when you need it.


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