Being an animal care professional requires a tremendous amount of commitment. While being a veterinarian is incredibly rewarding, it also comes with a significant number of frustrations. There are times when you can smile through the vexation, acknowledge that there are certain aspects that won’t change, and work through what’s troubling you. And often, your job satisfaction can come by balancing self-care (as discussed last week) and being confident in your own carefully honed skills.
However, there are signs to take note of when it comes to veterinary job satisfaction. These can be signs that your commitment to your current position is holding you back from your career goals. They can also be signs that your dissatisfaction goes further than just everyday frustrations and that it’s time to find other opportunities elsewhere.
It’s careful to be cognizant of when loving what you do interferes with making the best choices for your career. Here are some of the things to be aware of:
The landscape for veterinary care and studies is constantly changing. If you are not developing within your career and your field, it might be time to start looking for new opportunities. You deserve to be working in an environment where your desire to learn about new treatments, medications, procedures, and skills is encouraged and supported. Your skill set is contingent on being on top of new medical trends, and growth is essential in being able to provide the best care to your patients. If this isn’t supported, you could fall behind in the essentials within your field of specialty and it could compromise your abilities. Do you feel like you’re not moving forward in your career? Is your employer not assisting you in achieving further educational opportunities? If so, it is likely time you moved on to a new position.
Do you experience trepidation and anxiety about going into your office or clinic? When you get to your workplace do you find it hard to concentrate on the day’s tasks? The unease of being in your place of work can cause you to shift your focus to other things, namely being the moment when you can leave to go home. If your job dissatisfaction starts to lend itself to your concentration becoming compromised or you are more focused on how quickly you can get out of the office, it might be time to start moving on. You can mitigate these problems by asking for assistance from higher-ups in the form of additional trainings or exploring new job opportunities. However, if this assistance isn’t supported you should likely start exploring job opportunities elsewhere.
Do you feel like the majority of your conversations outside of work are focused on the negatives of being there? Is the lack of support within your workplace lending itself to a toxic environment? Animal care is a competitive field filled with professionals who need to be at the top of their skillset to handle difficult cases and explain complicated issues to pet owners. This kind of personal pressure can start to dissolve the feelings of working on a team. But collaboration and professional and emotional support should be a part of your workplace. If you are experiencing a workplace where you are being undercut by other members of your team, are feeling unable to say “no” to the requests and demands from other professionals, or are having your judgment calls second-guessed, then it’s time to leave. Being a veterinarian is difficult enough without having to work in a place where collaboration and support aren’t encouraged and supported. It is not part of your job to put up with bullying and unconstructive criticism, it’s essential to find an environment where you and your skills are supported.
Every day is going to be different when you’re a veterinarian. Some cases will be more difficult than others, requiring hard calls when it comes to the health of a pet. However, if you are feeling that the care being provided at your clinic doesn’t meet professional standards, then it is time to leave. Staying in a place where ethics are compromised and bad patient care is performed could compromise your reputation and dissolve the years of work you’ve put into your skills and professionalism. It is not worth it to stay in any place where patient care isn’t being promoted as the most essential aspect of your job responsibilities.
In the last two posts, we discussed the importance of focusing on self-care and noting the signs of when it’s time to focus on your well being. Within those blogs, we looked at how the difficulties of the job can affect your mental and physical health. But when you consider all of the signs of stress in your work environment, such as lack of job opportunities, bullying, or poor patient care, it can start to manifest in physical problems. If these problems are causing you distress, be it mental, emotional, or physical, it is necessary and important to explore job opportunities elsewhere. You will not be able to deliver the best pet care if you are suffering from the stress of your workplace.
You deserve to work in a place where you are supported, offered great opportunities, and where your skills are lauded and celebrated. Veterinarians are highly in demand and if you are experiencing stress and burnout because you are working in an uncooperative and toxic clinic it is time to move on. Your future self will thank you for making the best decision when it comes to your career.
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