I want to dedicate this to all my fellow associate veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and vet assistants….basically anyone who doesn’t own or run the clinic. You’ve got a difficult and challenging, yet rewarding job. Don’t worry, the managers and owners have their own sets of challenges and tasks to take care of because they have a lot of responsibility. But your job has its limits and it very likely isn’t your show to run.
Now this may sound awkward, but yes, it’s not your circus. This may bring a flood of conflicting emotions, or maybe it won’t. Many of us in the veterinary field are those type “A” personalities. We want to take charge, make change, do things for the greater good. Yet, for a large number of us, this may not seem possible and it can get very frustrating. This may bring on a whole new level of stress or displeasure in your job. You may choose to quit, let your job performance suffer, or lash out at co-workers. This was me….and I hated my job but also the stress I had let creep into my life. It’s difficult but – stop.
Some of those things you might think are so important or other facets of running the clinic you might think are crucial or the most important things in your day aren’t. Face it; some things just aren’t yours to deal with and that’s okay. If you keep jumping in to take charge, it’s an excess burden on yourself but you’re also usually picking up the slack for somebody else. People need to be accountable for their own responsibilities. This doesn’t mean that you can’t help but instead of taking charge, ask what you can do to help. Let someone else take the lead.
Remember, above all other things, you have one job to focus on…the welfare and care of animal patients and their families. You may be asked to help out or work on projects that will ultimately help the clinic reach that goal but that means that you should not focus your energy on seeking those things out especially if the animals aren’t all taken care of first. Trust me, running around like a bull in a china shop with ideas is not the way to get things done. It might feel good to vent all those ideas, concerns, or problems, but chances are less than 25% of it will actually lead to the change you want to see.
You may be in a unique position. Chances are you may have experience at another veterinary clinic and have some valid ideas. Ask yourself though, what your reason for getting involved is or what will it do to you in terms of your time and energy? Take that moment to step back, think, and maybe don’t spearhead the project. There’s a time and a place to share and try to implement some positive changes so that everyone can benefit. Remember, “not your circus, not your fleas.”
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