“Everybody starts somewhere.” We’ve all heard it, but how often does it actually sink in? It seems the longer you’re in a career, the the easier it is to forget how it is to be a newbie. Many people view it as a negative to have a new grad in their practice. Personally, I think new grads are grossly underrated.
When people picture life in a vet clinic, we all know what comes to mind. Happy puppies bouncing around in one pristine exam room while playful kittens chase a toy on a string in another. And some (very rare, very precious) days, this is true. But guys, the truth is, veterinary medicine is HARD.
Question for you: do you get a regular lunch break every day? Did you just actually LOL? It’s more common than not to hear our veterinary colleagues say they do not get a chance to take a break for lunch (or even to use the bathroom) on a daily basis.
The reactions I commonly experienced when I told someone that I worked veterinary overnight shifts ranged from horror to pity. Most people can't fathom sleeping during the day, and being awake at night. The thing is, the saying that you really don't know what it's like until you experience it, rings very true in this case.
Here are some of the top ways that I was able to stay sane, focused, and make it to sunrise!
A high school student recently told me that she was thinking about becoming a vet tech and she asked me what I thought of the choice. I found myself surprisingly tongue tied and I didn't know why. Part of me wanted to say "That's fantastic, welcome to the club!". The other part of me wanted to talk her out of it.
Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love it for so many reasons, most of which are intangible. After almost a decade in vet med, I often look back wistfully at my early days in this career and think about what I would tell that new tech fresh out of school. It hasn't been an easy road. We all know the path this career takes is an emotional, under-paid, and often challenging one. Knowing what I know about the industry now, what would I say to someone wanting to be a vet tech?
I went to your pretty average, midwestern high school where FFA, show choir and wrestling ruled the roost. Milton, Wisconsin is pretty small (population 5,000), but very proud. The teachers were amazing, the students were typical and there were few true cliques since we all went to school from elementary and on. The problem was not with the high school itself, but the structure of nearly every high school across America.
How many of you out there have more than just one tech job? One part time job? Two? Three?
It seems to me that veterinary technicians tend to be workaholics, always keeping busy taking care of other people’s animals, their own, their families, and still finding time to shower. Now that’s impressive. I was talking to someone the other day who said that all of her vet tech friends that she knows have at least one other part time job. If I think about it, most of the techs I know do have two jobs (at least!).
I myself had two (at one point three), up until a little while ago, and I only am taking a (hopefully brief) hiatus on specific instructions from a (human) doctor much to my dismay! :(