So I came across this beauty of an article while browsing my twitter feed this fine evening/morning (yay for crazy sleep schedules on ECC). And I have a MASSIVE bone to pick with this one.
It states, and I quote: "With a median pay range in the top 20% of the 2013 Jobs Rated report, veterinarians can be well compensated for rewarding work. People love their pets, and as a result the demand for veterinarians is expected to increase 36% over the next seven years per Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. Combine that with low stress, and veterinarian is a promising career option."
Now, I'm not going to argue with the fact that the job is rewarding. Getting to hang out with animals as a job, helping them and sometimes saving their lives is an amazing feeling. I wouldn't change it for the world.
Here's the list of problems I have with this article:
1. Being a vet is the opposite of low stress.
Dealing with irritable cats, horses that are trying to kick you, and trying to explain to clients that yearly check-ups are necessary to renew a prescription is NOT low stress. Which brings me to my second problem with this article.
2. People may love their pets, but they love their money more.
I'm not saying that some people won't do everything in their power (and wallet) to save the family pet. But when it's perceived that we've not done our job (when we have) or that we're trying to squeeze money (when in reality we just want to make sure our diagnosis is correct or that medication is effective), we're accused of being in it for only the money. I've seen it while out on practice, and I've had vets tell me about it time and again. There's a lovely blog out there called Vets Behaving Badly that posted a very well-written explanation about this (aptly entitled "You only do _Blank_ for the money!").
3. An expected job growth of 36% is bullshit.
Yeah, I said it. Bullshit. We're all grown ups here. With veterinary class sizes increasing and loads of new vets flooding the market, logic (and my sophomore economics course) tells me that the laws of supply and demand mean more vets equals more competition which means lower salaries and fewer jobs. Again, I don't think I can find a way to express this bullshit any better than the lovely vets over at Vets Behaving Badly.
4. The pay may be good, but the debt is overwhelming.
I think I remember reading a NYTimes article to this effect in the past year. Something about the average veterinary graduate getting out of school with an average of over $180,000 in debt? (Oh yeah, I think I mean this one.)
I mean, that's not even close to what I've taken out in order to achieve my dream. And it's not just veterinary students suffering from massive amounts of debt. My generation is coming to terms with the fact that we will most likely never be as prosperous as the previous generation (click here to read the wonderfully articulated frustration we all feel by blogger Adam Weinstein).
I'm trying to decide whether to specialize in something that I've wanted to do for YEARS, and the ONLY THING keeping me back is the fact that most internships and residencies pay what should be below poverty line (especially considering that my loan payment each month will probably be twice my parent's mortgage). And I don't get a break from paying back loans while an intern or resident just because I'm only making enough to live in my parent's house/a crappy studio apartment and eat practically nothing. I'd like to someday be able to afford to get married. Maybe even have a few kids. Buy a house. This all feels impossible when I think about how much I'll end up paying back by the end of things.
So pardon me if I've ranted and raved a little bit, but when is the constant sugar coating of this whole situation going to stop?