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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Vet's Life, Part 2

Here are more of Lani's questions...

Do you get the freedom in your job (ie. do you get to be your own boss?)
Like the situation with hours, it depends on where you work. If you are working for someone, your freedom is limited, as you have someone else making the decisions as to what you are going to stock, what you are going to charge, and how the practice is going to be run. A good practice owner will listen to your suggestions and may implement them if they are reasonable, but in the end it's their decision, not yours. Owning your own practice definitely gives you complete freedom, but is more business responsibility than most people want. Running your own business is a huge responsibility and just as much of a headache. But for the person with the right skills and personality, it can be extremely rewarding. There is an middle ground, which is what I'm doing. I manage a hospital for a multi-location practice. I have a lot of freedom to manage via my style, but I still have to stay within the practice's guidelines and still have people I answer to.

Do you ever get tired of working with animals?
For the most part, no. I love animals, or I wouldn't be in this field in the first place. There's something in me that craves being around animals (which is why we have two dogs and three cats). However, I get very, very tired of having to deal with aggressive animals, which happens at least once or twice every day. It's part of the job, but I don't like risking a serious bite or scratch. There are many days when I'd be happy dealing only with my own pets.

Do you get a lot of time for your family?
Nowhere near as much time as I would like, and it's a problem sometimes. Truthfully, though, it's no different than any other job. I leave for work around 8:15 most days and get home around 7:30. That gives me about an hour with my kids each day, and about 3-4 hours with my wife. I do get two days off per week, and when the kids are in school my wife will meet me for lunch about once per week. I also get enough vacation time that I get to have time off with the family. So I can't say that it's really much worse than most other jobs. If you do your own emergency calls it can be tougher on family time, as you may not even get those few hours per night with your family. If you own your own practice, it's even worse, as you often have a hard time leaving the place in the hands of other people. As a business owner, your entire existence is tied up in the practice, making it hard to get away.

Tomorrow...the last of Lani's questions.