12 December 2017

2017: a year in perspective

I wonder, sometimes, if I made a poor decision going into veterinary medicine. I'm 3 years out, have gone through some truly awful and harrowing experiences (two internships, shitty ass job), and feel like it never. Fucking. Ends.

Yes, I said fuck.

And yes. I have a dream job. It's everything I've ever wanted. Except that I never wanted to be a solo veterinarian working as part of a group practice. Essentially, that's what I am. Sometimes I wonder how I could be duped into taking a job without knowing the full extent of what I would have to go through. Truthfully, it could be much, much worse. I could be on call all the time (oh wait...). Or I could have no real time off to myself (oh wait...). I could feel burdened unnecessarily and needlessly by clients because I'm unable to set boundries that will protect my emotional and mental health (again, oh wait...). 

It's still a dream job. I work with (mostly) wonderful clients. I have a super supportive partner in crime, my technician K (I would have fallen apart long ago without her). I have an awesome apartment that I love (and can be quite cold because I still don't make enough money to pay for a $200 energy bill). I managed to meet a wonderful guy (albeit a bit complicated, but who isn't) and feel like I've actually found someone who will challenge and support me in ways I didn't know I needed. 

But yet, burnout has still reared it's ugly head.

I've been on call the majority of the last 6 and a half months. And when I say majority, I'm talking 90-95% of the time. So when I say I have no downtime, or minimal downtime, I'm not kidding. I try to step away, or at least compartmentalize, but it can be downright impossible. I have had difficult clients drive me through a wall and leave me with no emotion left to give them: sadness, anger or otherwise. I find myself getting angry at every little text from a client simply because I can't deal with their questions at 7am on a Saturday morning. My client care has wavered, and I feel like I'm not in control of my own life. Explaining all this to the people who run the practice now? I've tried. I explained, and waited for 3 months for something to come through. And it's still only maybe 1 weekend off a month, and I feel like a burden to my per diem counterpart. 

It's suffocating, it's frustrating, and it's overwhelming. And I feel like no one is listening.

This is veterinary medicine as I see it. Can I leave? Probably not. I owe so much money, and I can't even imagine how I can pay it back without incurring a massive tax on the discharged balance in 20 years.

Can I try and do something else within the profession that doesn't involve me being a primary care? Fucking right. That's the plan. If only I could figure out a way to actually get time to get it done and pay for it at the same time. 

I thought these days of extreme burnout were behind me, but I was wrong. I used to love veterinary medicine. Now I wish I had never read James Herriot.

09 March 2017

2017: the year I get to kick ass

I posted around this time last year, so it seems to be a trend for me to update once a year to whomever is still reading/interested.

I got no job offers in the last few months of my internship. I had a tearful goodbye with my intern-mate (who got the surgery residency at Missouri, and I'm so proud!), drove back across the country to my parents' house, and put my stuff in storage.

As an aside, I did not apply to surgery residencies for 2016. I realized that it was crazy talk for me to do another 3 years of training, and Missouri really revived my love of ambulatory practice. It reminded me of what got me excited about veterinary medicine in the first place. Thus, applying to general practice jobs.

Anyway. So I moved back in with my parents, desperately still applying and setting up interviews. I interviewed with a regulatory position with a race track organization, and ended up taking the position because I needed a job. For the past 8ish months, I've been working as a regulatory vet, not loving it and feeling bored out of my mind. It hasn't been the healthiest workplace for me, and it's caused me a lot of grief. Also, living within arm's length of NYC and driving on NYC parkways/thruways/streets is enough to drive the most sane person crazy.

After a really honest conversation just after the new year with a close friend from vet school, I decided to get off my butt and apply to jobs. I had an interview with a private practice in CT much closer to home, with much more green space and a lot cheaper to live (yes, pay cut in income but whatevs). They offered me the job, and I accepted. So at the end of the month, I'll be going on a cruise, moving to CT, and starting a dream job.

2016 sucked quite a lot, but 2017 is gonna be my bitch.