Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Greener Pastures

I haven't written in a while because I've been very tired, very frustrated, and haven't had anything nice to say.  But things are changing so I figure I would let anyone who cares to know in on the changes.

As you all know, I have spent 3 years since graduating from veterinary school as a large animal vet.  It was what I always wanted to do and I was so excited to find a job that allowed me to actually do it, particularly in this economy. I have gotten to see and some some amazing things.  I have met wonderful people.  I will never regret taking this job, but I may regret staying this long because following the dream came with a price.

In a 2-doctor practice, in addition to seeing my share of the appointments, I have had to be on-call every other week.  For the mathematically challenged, that is 26 weeks a year.  I have spent literally (in the traditional sense of the word) half of my life on-call for the past 3 years.  I have averaged 60 hour work weeks and the vast majority of the time has been spent alone except for client interactions.  I've seen my friends and family only a fraction of the times I would have liked to, missing holidays and life events.  The most frustrating part is that... even when I'm off -call, I'm so tired that I don't do anything.  I haven't gotten involved in anything outside of work, which contributes to stress and feelings of isolation.  The few activities I have tried to be involved in haven't worked out because I never get home from work in time to go.  We won't even get into the injuries (both short term and ones that will haunt me forever) I have sustained on the job.

So decisions had to be made.  Did I continue to follow a career path that I had dreamed of since I was a child (but left a lot to be desired in the real world), or did I choose a different path.  My Uncle Rick once said, "If you don't like where you are, change it." And then I read an article called, "Success Is the Freedom to Say No".  I'm not turning down fame and fortune, but I AM saying that I have the right to enjoy my life.  To actually have a life.  That I am more than my job.  To be happy and healthy.

So I'm changing it.  I am moving to Alexandria, VA to work as a small animal veterinarian in a brand spanking-new stand-alone Banfield hospital. It was not an easy decision to leave because I feel a little like I'm letting down clients that have grown to depend on me, the people who supported me on the long journey, and to some degree I feel like I'm letting down myself by giving up on my dream just because I'm tired. But in spite of my worries, everyone has been amazingly supportive of my decision.  Family, friends, and clients alike have said they understand and many are surprised that it has taken this long for me to change careers.

I don't expect my new job to be perfect because none of them are (which is something you don't find out until you graduate.)  I know that there will still be crazy/needy clients that have to be handled with kid gloves.  I know that I won't like all the management decisions.  I know there are days where I will be tired and frustrated.  I know there will be battles I won't win.  But I also know that when I leave at night, my time will always be my own.  I know that my days off will truly be days off.  I know that I will spend my days working side by side with people as passionate about veterinary medicine as I am instead of alone. I know that I will have more opportunities to be with the people I care about, that I will not miss any more Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners.

So that's what's been going on with me.  I'm very nervous and anxious and excited.  I have a lot to remember from vet school and a lot more to learn.  I have to figure out how to dress for an inside job where I wear a white coat instead of coveralls.  I have to figure out what shoes I can wear for a full day on my feet running between exam rooms and not feel like my feet are exploding...

And I can't wait to tell you all about it  :-)

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