Not too long ago, I was put in a position that was out of my control and my thoughts drifted into a negative space. I was hurt and felt like maybe my voice should be silenced. Maybe I didn’t belong anymore, and I should just walk away from a career that has been my life for the last 19 years.
It seems as though more people are leaving our profession after a long career and the reasons vary. From low pay to toxic environments, the profession as we know it has changed from when we first became a part of it. What was once a love affair has turned into a bitter divorce.
How can a profession consisting of compassionate, empathetic and caring individuals also attract mean, unkind and apathetic ones? We may never have an answer, but I do know what category I fall into which is why I continue to advocate for this profession.
I get it. Our profession is hard. We literally put in the blood, sweat and tears. But it is also easy in that caring for animals and being their advocate completes us. It is also a rollercoaster of emotions that can make or break our day and we must choose how we react to the continuing loops.
I also understand that most of us in this profession experience mental health issues which are triggered by our experiences in practice and staying committed takes strength. Dealing with coworkers who are bullies, clients who take their anger out on us and management who doesn’t seem to care takes its toll emotionally day after day. What is left for us to give?
I asked myself why I should stay and what I came up with was this: There are amazing people advocating for all of us every single day and want us all to succeed. There are support groups we can turn to for advice and for the most part, people are positive and encouraging. There are more resources than ever available to us regarding mental health issues. There are clients who love us and depend on us. There are patients that love us unconditionally and rely on us to speak for them.
Although I am no longer in practice, I am still as determined as ever to make this profession a better place than when I found it. Sure, there are many obstacles in my way, but I must believe I can push my way through them. I have always been known as a positive person who doesn’t like to give up on something I am passionate about.
I realize that I am still in love with the profession after 19 years even though it continues to challenge me. It makes me laugh and cry. It makes me angry and happy, makes me smile and frown. After all these years, I couldn’t imagine leaving. I hold out hope that I can help the ones still here realize how wonderful it still is.
I do belong and still have a lot to say but I also understand how hard of a profession it is. It is not for everyone and sometimes it is just better to walk away especially when it comes to your emotional well-being. I promise to continue to be a positive advocate for this profession and please know that there are many others like me who love this profession and truly want to make a difference.
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.