Aug. 5th, 2011 12:21 am
nohanii: (Default)
[personal profile] nohanii
So last you guys really heard, I was studying for the MCAT to apply to med school.

Yeah, about that.

Studying lasted for a few solid weeks, maybe a month or so. Then in November, the parents dragged me off on some half-cocked trip to Washington to see their ~*new property*~ which I'd <i>already seen</i> and they wouldn't take no for an answer and and AND. I tried <b>so hard</b> to study during the 12 hour drive there, the 2 1/2 day stay, and the 12 hour drive back, all to no avail. I got maybe 3 pages of notes done the entire time. Try as I might, I couldn't get any studying done after I got home.

Med school hard started out rather iffy, and it dropped from there.

Flash forward to Christmas time. I asked everyone around me a simple question: In your opinion, would I be happier as a doctor or a veterinarian. The unanimous, vehement answer was veterinarian. I thought about it, and it seemed to make sense. I'd thought about it often in the last few years, even planned on it a time or three. 

I started reworking my resume and cover letter <i>again</i> and applied to nearly all the local veterinary clinics. I got an interview with one, but it went no where. Most just weren't hiring, weren't even looking. But one caught my eye. I went there several times to pick up various forms and drop off my resume. Every time I went in, I was greeted with big smiles and cheerful hellos. It seemed like everyone I saw was really happy and friendly, chipper even. On top of that, they saw <i>everything</i>: the usual dogs and cats, but also birds, reptiles, and exotic mammals. A dream come true. Only problem was, it didn't seem like they were hiring. So I offered myself up on a silver platter. I would intern For Free. That brought an immediate response. The doctor even came out to meet me. She seemed nice, I explained my situation and my experiences, and we parted ways.

Then I didn't hear from them. I called after a few days, and was told the doctor was busy. They would call me later. A week later, I called again. Still nothing. Another week passed, and right as I was giving up hope, I got a call. They wanted me. Could I start interning next week?

I started interning at WildWood in early February. Everyone was really very nice and eager to show me things and let me sit in on exams. I learned a lot.

When one of the kennel assistants announced towards the end of March that she would be moving soon, Christina (one of the vet techs) told me I should go for her spot. It was a Wednesday, and I ended up not having time to talk to Dr Welsh. I came back in on Friday and got a Death Glare from Christina.

Christina: "You didn't talk to Dr Welsh! Why not?!"
Me: "Sorry! I didn't have time, she was busy!"
Christina: "That's okay, we all talked to her for you! =) "

Apparently, the techs announced that they already knew and loved and trusted Catherine (me), so she would be a suitable replacement for Carmen. I was flabbergasted. I did not expect that, not in a million years. I spoke to DrW briefly personally, and basically just said that I would appreciated being considered for the position. Two weeks later, she asked when I could start working.

So I've now been at WildWood for 6 months -- 2 months interning and 4 months working. I've seen a lot, learned a lot, done... not quite a lot, but a good deal. I've loved my time here. The staff is genuinely nice, and hilarious to boot. Everyone smiles constantly. We pull faces, we joke, we tease -- even DrW. And we bake for each other. This is honestly the best work environment I have ever been in. Even though the work might not be ideal (kennel assistant, beh), I still love going to work for the people I will be with and the things I might

But I've seen downsides as well. Working in the veterinary field does not pay exceptionally well. They work long hours. Techs are routinely there from 8 or 9 am until 6, 7, 8 pm. DrW gets in a 9 am and is routinely in the office until well after 9 pm. It's not uncommon for her to stay as late as 11 or 12. People usually get time off when they request it, but that tends to only be one or two days around their weekend. Neither the doctor nor the 3 current techs have families. One of the techs does, but she's been gone since before giving birth to her daughter in March. They put so much of their time and effort into this that I feel like they're just techs, or just  vet -- like they have no identity outside of work. Maybe that's just my mistaken perception of the situation, but that's what it looks like to me.

I don't want that for me.

Date: 2011-08-05 07:48 am (UTC)
subluxate: Sophia Bush leaning against a piano (Default)
From: [personal profile] subluxate

When I was a tech--and, granted, it was a very, very small clinic with Dr. Natt--that wasn't the case. I know it can be, but I was working from about eight to one at my second clinic, staying longer if it was a heavy surgery day or whatever. The first clinic, I did do full days, and the tech did full days, but those days were, for the tech, nine to six with an hour for lunch. Sometimes there would be overtime, but not all the time. Christine was married and had two kids; Renee and Reba both dated. Dr. Shirey had a huge house on a golf course, a wife of something like forty years, and two kids.

So it doesn't have to be that way. You can have a life and be in the vet field. It takes finding the right clinic, yes, but it's possible.

Date: 2011-08-09 12:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Didn't Dr. Shirey also sell a clinic to VCA and make bank on it? With how tiny his clinic was, I find it hard to believe he was able to do that without some other kind of income.

Date: 2011-08-09 05:32 am (UTC)
subluxate: Sophia Bush leaning against a piano (Default)
From: [personal profile] subluxate
He did at one point, and before Almaden South, he ran others. His wife also did/used to do accounting for other clinics, so that helped.

Date: 2011-08-05 01:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What Kelly said--and also, does it maybe seem like the clinic you're working at could use another tech or two, so that the existing employees are doing so much more work to cover that? I know you said the place wasn't even hiring at first and you got the job because someone else left, but perhaps finding the right clinic for you would help. It sounds like a fun place to work, especially with great co-workers that you get along with and like being around, but that much work all the time would put a toll on anyone. Maybe now's a good time to put in another few rounds of applications or resumes to see if any other clinics are hiring? At least that way you could see that being a vet doesn't automatically mean no life ever. If this is the job you want to have, I hope you can find somewhere to have it and the rest of your life at the same time.

Date: 2011-08-09 12:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
One tech has been on an indefinite maternity leave since March(ish). That leaves three techs to cover 8am to 6pm+, five days a week. On average, they tend to work 8-10 hours four days a week with one half day. Since DrW hired a second vet last month, she's mentioned hiring another tech and another kennel person at some point in the near future to give the current techs more normal work weeks. (The techs made a contract and agreed to work extended hours, presumably until Jeanna (pronounced Geena) returns from leave).

I've considered getting a second job, but I might be moving within the next month or so, so there's really no point in that right now. Same thing goes for just switching work places. I might do that after I move. We'll see.


nohanii: (Default)

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