Podcast #30

Man sitting in a tree, sawing off the limb of the tree he is sitting on, such that he will fall
Quitting without learning WHY you don’t like your job, or seeing if you can make it work, is setting yourself up for future professional falls, over and over again!
Being in a job you like is important, but remember no job is perfect. There will always be bad days, and always be things about any job you won’t like, but overall you should be happy in your work, and happy with your team.
If you are feeling unhappy with the profession, you should first look to see if you are just unhappy with your job. Many vets feel that it is time to leave the profession, and instead they switch clinics and realize they were unhappy with the clinic, not the profession! Not all clinics are created equally, and play a huge role in our job satisfaction!
Also, new grads are told over and over that their first job is so important. They are told that it will shape them as a veterinarian, and it is vital they pick the right one. This is a LOT of pressure!

A common concern new grads have is how to know when to ‘stick it out’ and when to quit.

This isn’t limited to new grads either… many experienced vets struggle with staying in their current job or quitting (See Superhero Syndrome and Anti-Vaxxer on Life blogs for some causes of this internal debate).

Firstly, if you pick the wrong clinic, it’s OK. You can change clinics at anytime, you are not tied to any job! You won’t fail as a vet life-long if you pick the wrong first job! Yes your first job is important, but it is not as important as identifying that this job is not for you, and to move on to a clinic that is a good fit!

This blog will focus on ways to identify if your job just isn’t right, and if you should quit:
Scrabble pieces saying 'moving forward'
Employers SHOULD be OK with you moving on if you are pursuing a 10% or greater increase in salary, a change in location or personal situation, or a change in job description or role.
‘Acceptable’ Reasons To Quit:
When talking to employers, there are reasons to quit that are typically deemed as ‘acceptable’. This means that your employer SHOULD be supportive of you leaving if you are fulfilling one of these categories. (This doesn’t always mean they will be supportive, but they should.)

1. 10% or greater increase in Salary
2. Changing Location/Personal Situation
3. Change in Job Description/Role

When looking at new jobs, and asked why you left a job, try to frame your answer into one of these three categories, as it will appear more professional.

If you want to not burn bridges with your current employer, which is always a good idea, you can try to explain your reasons for leaving in one of these categories. How honest you are about the true reasons you are leaving is up to you, and honesty is the best way to help your current employer grow and improve the clinic, but if being honest will hurt you or put you in jeopardy don’t feel you have to!
Why You Really Quit:
Now, let’s cut the bullshit. There are LOTS of reasons to leave a job, especially in the vet profession. Reasons to quit that are less tangible and maybe more ‘controversial’/‘unacceptable’ or upsetting for your boss to hear, include but are not limited to:

1. Being bullied at work
2. Toxic environment
3. Uncomfortable with the level of medicine
4. No room to grow / no professional development
5. Your ideas and knowledge are not being valued
6. You hate going to work everyday
7. The clinic is disorganized (work schedule, day-to-day work flow, etc.)
8. Personal belief disagreements with employer/company culture
9. No mentorship/support
10. Equipment (or support staff) are dysfunctional
11. Inappropriate compensation

These are all reasons that may lead you to wanting to leave your current job, and are damn good reasons too. However, some problems have solutions. It is worthwhile to see if you can find solutions, because you might just be able to make THIS job your DREAM job!!
Before You Quit:
Lab equipment, beakers, test-tubes, etc.
Analytically looking at your job, and determining rationally exactly what you like, don’t like, and need out of a job will help you better decide if you need to quit, or if you can make it work in your current job.
If you don’t know why you are quitting a job, and don’t know what you dislike, then you won’t be able to avoid these problems in the future. It is important to identify exactly what you don’t like about the job before leaving so that you can properly pick the next job.

Also, you should TRY to make a job work. You should give your boss the benefit of the doubt, and tell them what is bothering you, and what you need to fix your situation. Your boss might just come through, or might not. This will help you determine if your situation is fixable.

Before you quit any job, you should ask yourself the following questions, and make sure you really understand the answers:

1. What are the positive aspects of this job/clinic?
2. What are the negative aspects of this job/clinic?
3. What is making me unhappy?(work, environment, managers, co-workers, clients, equipment, bored, overwhelmed, schedule, etc)
4. Can I personally change to fix the problem? (Is this something I am willing to do? How much of the problem is me?)
5. Is this a problem I have had in previous jobs? (Is it me?)
6. Is there a solution to the problem that would be acceptable and would have me stay in this job?
7. What exactly/specifically would need to change for the problems to be resolved?
8. What are you relationships like with your managers/employers and with your coworkers?
9. What are your career goals for the next 2 years? 5 years?

By very carefully and systematically going through each of these questions, you should be able to narrow down exactly what you don’t like about your job, who the root of the problem is, and if it is a problem that can be fixed or if there is no possible solution. Also, keep in mind that sometimes you get so traumatized emotionally with a situation/clinic, that even if there is a solution to the problem you are so scarred that you will never feel comfortable. At this point you need to move on!
When looking for a new job, and it is always best to secure a new job before leaving your current job, be prepared with an answer to “Why do you want to leave your current job?” Or “Why did you leave your last job?”.

This should be short, concise and avoids negative comments or gossip. You never know who is friends with who, and the vet world is VERY small. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

Try to spin your answer to focus on the positive aspects of the new job, and have your answer fit into one of the three ‘acceptable’ categories listed above.
Forest filled with trees
Sometimes you are so upset in a job you can’t see the forest for the trees. If you are unhappy and can’t figure out why, consider getting outside help/opinions.
Anytime you are unhappy in a job, sit down and try to pick apart and analyze each aspect. By addressing your work situation with a fine-toothed comb, you can better figure out what you like and don’t like, if the problem is fixable, and what to avoid or look for in future employment.

Sometimes when you are unhappy, stressed, overwhelmed and burned out in a job, it can be very difficult to see the forest for the trees to properly assess your situation. Having mentors outside of your clinic is helpful, and we are always available with KICK ASS Consulting to help you go through your options and situation. Also, try taking a vacation! A week, or even a few days, away from work can help you better assess your situation.

Please feel free to Contact Us anytime for any questions or comments!
Written by Dr. Ann Herbst BSc, DVM

Published April 9th, 2020

Advocate for yourself, you are the only one that will!

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