In the veterinary clinic, there are a ton of jobs that require a collaborative effort. It’s no news to you that in order to keep the day running smoothly, you can’t do it all alone and you need help from your teammates. So, why is it that even with technicians, assistants, receptionists and doctors it sometimes feels like you are the one doing ALL THE DANG WORK!?!

Here’s the thing: when you’re one of the people doing shared work, it always feels like you are doing more than your fair share. I was recently reading a blog by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, on shared labor within the household and I saw that these principles fit in perfectly within the veterinary office. 

When you’re doing a job that benefits other people, (like stocking the surgical suite or cleaning up in between procedures) it’s easy to assume that the other team members are conscious of the fact that you’re doing this work — that they should feel grateful, and they should and do feel guilty about not helping you.

But this is not the case. Often, the more reliably you perform a task, the less likely it is for someone to notice that you’re doing it, and to feel grateful, and to feel any impulse to help or to take a turn.

You think, “I’ve been doing the surgical follow-up calls for three months! When is someone going to do it?” In fact, the longer you make those callbacks, the less likely it is that someone will do it.

Being taken for granted is an unpleasant but sincere form of praise. Ironically, the more reliable you are, and the less you complain, the more likely you are to be taken for granted.

I know this is hard to hear, but this is one of those cases where you need to speak up without getting defensive or argumentative. Most often your co-workers are so focused on their tasks for the day and they see you doing those extra jobs, they don’t think anything of it. They just think you are playing on the same team. 

A great way to make sure everyone on the team is aware of the daily workload? One way my team does this is a daily checklist. Before we leave for the day we see if all the items have been accomplished. As a task is finished the person who accomplished it initials next to the item. Also checking this list will help a team lead see who is accomplishing the majority of the tasks and take appropriate action if a team member isn’t pulling their weight. 

So, remember sometimes sharing IS caring, but just make sure you’re mindful of other team members and the work they are putting in as well. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial team.


Tasha is a Certified Veterinary Technician from Glenside, PA. She is also a certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner and works closely with the IVAPM to educate the public about animal pain awareness. Tasha loves to lecture on various anesthesia and pain management topics around the globe. In her spare time Tasha enjoys reading, spending time with her son, and trying to figure out “what kind of game is Petyr Baelish playing anyway”.