Maybe this will age me. That’s OK. As an aging Gen X’er, I am reminded often of the “Choose Your Own Story” books. For those who don’t remember, with these stories, every choice the reader made, they were instructed to skip to a section in the book that either gave you another choice or you had to read what fate your choices had sealed.
I remember often being unhappy with my end result and flipping the pages back to try and find the ending that was least traumatic. Often it was the ending I felt my character deserved. Although these books may bring nostalgia to some, my thoughts often go back to them whenever I am faced with a difficult choice. I can definitely say that I’ve made several wrong choices in life and in my career. Those choices often felt so permanent. But ultimately I always had the power to reflect and decide if this was the story I felt that I deserved.
As I began my journey as a kennel assistant, more moons ago then I would like to admit, I realized all my choices pushed me closer to the chapter I felt was next. As an assistant, I remember stumbling when I had to decide if I wanted to be a licensed veterinary technician. It meant making choices to work hard, study my butt off and put substantial effort into doing what I felt made the most impact when working with my patients. What made the most impact towards having a career that I wanted. No one else got to choose my journey. It was mine. There were times I failed and times I struggled. But every thought, every small expenditure of energy brought me closer to what I believed was MY story.
As an LVT, I realized those choices didn’t stop. Every action I took either brought me to a place where I could give up and accept this as my story. Or I could keep flipping back the pages to see if there was another choice. When I was toxic, I could read back to see what I could do differently. When I found myself in clinics that didn’t appreciate me, I chose to focus my energy on changing my path. Sometimes it meant making tough decisions and stepping away from comfort to take a plunge into the unknown.
As a practice manager, my job is to encourage others to choose their story. To give them the options to decide what this path of veterinary medicine means to them. I cannot write their story. Perhaps their time at my clinic is just the beginning. Maybe it’s not where they see their vet med story ending. My goal is to give my team the tools, resources and freedom to make their way through the pages. My story hasn’t ended, but it’s shown me that the greatest thing someone can do is encourage others to find their best ending.
So often we are caught up in our bubble of our current clinic, our coworkers, our friends and family that we forget we have those choices and can make choices for our happiness at any time. We choose what we love about this profession. We choose where we work. We choose who surrounds us and what we give energy. Now is the time to remember that we can always choose our happiness. Remember vet med is your story. You create your journey. Not your coworkers. Not your manager. But you.
If you find yourself questioning your happiness, flip back through the chapters. Yell “Plot twist” when things go wrong. Don’t allow villains to shape your future. Above all, never give up and never stop looking for the ending you deserve.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.