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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Do We Love It?

One of the comments on yesterday's blog was an interesting one to me.

I'm starting to question whether most vets love what they do or not. A great majority of the ones I talk to do not. 

Several years ago I saw a survey in a veterinary journal stating that around 80% of practicing veterinarians loved their job and would choose to do it again.  I had a hard time relating to that study since I was in the 20% that didn't feel the same.

I think that most professionals reach a point in their career where they question their choice.  What was once a dream and a passion becomes routine and just a job.  When I first graduated from vet school I loved my job.  I was eager to put my knowledge to use and took pleasure in going to work every day.  As I practiced longer I began to feel the stress of the duties and responsibilities.  I also kept seeing the same kinds of cases day in and day out, which was not very exciting or interesting.  Fast-forward a few more years and I hated what I did and dreaded work every day.  Now the pendulum has swung back and I don't mind work most days, even though it is still a job.

As I mentioned yesterday there are a lot of stresses that come with being a vet, especially when you start realizing how many serious decisions you have to make on a daily basis.  For the most part I would say that it is a rewarding career, and I've gotten so I actually like what I do most days.  But would I do it again?  No.

As is typical, hindsight is 20/20.  My interests have also changed over the years to where I enjoy other sciences and history more than I did when I was younger.  I also discovered a love for teaching.  So if I had to do it over again I would likely go for a PhD in history and become a college professor.  Knowing then what I know now would have completely changed my future.

Would I recommend a career in veterinary medicine to someone at this point?  Possibly, yes.  The circumstances are different than when I applied almost 20 years ago, mainly in regards to the financial picture and debt load.  I do think that someone could really enjoy themselves and it's a stable career. However, the salary and hiring prospects are the worst they've been my lifetime with no signs of getting better.

All of this being said, I doubt that veterinary medicine is alone in these feelings and outlook.