What is it like to work in a veterinary clinic? You’ll never eat a hot meal (and some days you won’t eat at all). You’ll never have time to go to the bathroom. You’ll smell all day from the urine, poop and vomit that’s on your scrubs. You’ll get yelled at by clients over the phone or in person. You’ll be disrespected/mistreated by co-workers or even managers. You’ll never be able to make plans because you’ll never leave on time. You’ll feel helpless.
Notice that I only mention the negatives. Unfortunately, our profession is plagued by negativity. It’s easy to get caught up in negative thinking and difficult to stop.
I used to think this way, and had to do something to change my thinking. I mean, we are here to make a difference, right? Negative thoughts day in and day out will eat you up and turn you into someone you don’t want to be. You will never be successful in this profession if you let the negativity take over your life.
Here are the 5 lessons that saved me and helped me fall back in love with my profession.
1) Remember why you chose this profession in the first place
You’re an advocate for the patient. Your patients can’t speak for themselves so you are here for them. You take care of them, console them, and love them with all your heart. You make sure that they are back in the client’s arms better than when they came in. Being a part of their life and knowing that you made a difference may just be enough.
2) You Are In Charge Of You
You have rights as an employee. That includes a break. I’ll be the first to say I’ve gone 8 hours without eating many times which made me cranky and probably an ass to work with. Doesn’t mean it’s okay. I’m convinced that a vet tech invented the word Hangry. If you have to find an unconventional way to eat, then do it. It might be when you’re in the bathroom, but look on the bright side: You ate and you emptied your bladder.
3) You may not control how others treat you, but you control how you react
I’ve been cussed and yelled at, bullied, ignored and talked about behind my back. I was very naive early in my career and worried about everything. I complained every day. It’s exhausting day in and day out to be a negative Nellie. One day, I woke up and realized that I was too tired to care anymore what others thought. I know who I am and that’s all that mattered. Smiling just pissed those people off more which gave me satisfaction and helped me throughout the day.
4) Lighten up
We deal with sickness and death every single day. It’s okay to dance a jig every now and then. Favorite song comes on while you’re filling a script? Checking emails? Even in the MRI cage? Crank it up and dance. Yea, I said it. DANCE! Feel better? Yeah you do. Don’t feel guilty for having a little fun at work.
5) You must have a life outside of work
I was pulling in 50 hours a week and my days off were full of sleeping which left me dull and useless to my friends and family. After years of doing this, I had enough. I got my life back once my co-workers and I took turns staying late. Also, life outside of work means going out with people other than co-workers. When I went out with co-workers after work, we only talked about how miserable we were. I love many of my co-workers and consider them family, but can we please talk about something else? Make it a rule to not talk about work when you go out with coworkers. I promise that you will find other things in common.
I always went home knowing that I was put on this earth to take care of animals. Is it glamorous? No. Does it pay well? Hell no. Will the negative environment eat at you? Absolutely. Only you can choose how to live your life each day. You can let the negativity take over your life or you can choose to ignore it. It took me a long time to get there but I finally realized being happy was more important. I promise that each and every one of you can be successful as a technician when you choose to be happy. I would choose this profession over and over again. The good, the bad and the ugly. Only you can choose which one wins.
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tosha has been a CVT since 2002 working in emergency, internal medicine and neurology. She has a passion for mentoring technicians to create a more positive work environment. When Tosha is not interviewing prospective candidates for Veterinary Practice Partners and their hospitals, you may find her dancing at a country music concert or relaxing at home in her hammock with Jagger and Dirty.