Time To Find Another Job

How and when to know if it's time to find a new job.

A student from my VSPN class on compassion fatigue asked a question, and got me to thinking (I have to be careful when that happens!). We were talking about how compassion fatigue is centered around the emotional relationships we develop with our patients and our clients. So this student shared that she works at a low-cost spay and neuter practice.

By the very nature of the practice—to offer the best but lowest cost sterilization, thus reducing the abundance of unwanted animals—she does not have the opportunity to create relationships with patients or clients. The pets come in for a specific reason and then they are gone, likely on to another veterinary practice for lifelong healthcare.

Almost always, we talk about small animal general practice so I had never really thought about compassion fatigue in regards to some of the other types of work places. When I mentioned the dilemma to someone in my circle, who was not any part of veterinary medicine, she commented that maybe it was time for her to move on to another type of job where she could get that type of satisfaction. She had worked several years at the low-cost facility. Hmmm, maybe it was time to move along…

For that matter, I can think of many work environments that would not provide that relationship with the patient and client. In emergency practice, the goal is for the pet to not need us again. In specialty medicine, depending on the type of medicine, there may be cases that just do not require ongoing care of the patient besides what is available at their general practice. In shelter work and lab animal work, there is no client to bond with. Maybe we need to realize that these types of work places may not appeal to someone for the whole expanse of their careers, but be an interesting stop along the way.

Perhaps we just aren’t meant to stay too long in some places, so that we leave when we’re still emotionally healthy, rather than fizzling out. When I look at my career, I can say that proves true. From a tiny family practice, to a large urban practice, to laboratory and research, to specialty medicine, and then on to management and beyond…I can honestly say that I’ve learned something from every place in which I worked, and wouldn’t trade the experience (the good and the bad) for anything.

All around us, America is changing. No longer does a person get a job and believe that they are going to retire with that organization. My suspicion is that for older folks, this has changed due to financial concerns: laid off, downsized, an insufficient wage, etc.

But for the younger folks, I think these moves are done for different reasons, to get excited again about their jobs, to find out where their deeper talents lie, to try their hand at something completely new. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so…but you know in human resources they tell you to be cautious of an applicant that has held many jobs in the past. I don’t agree; that might be your clue that this candidate wants to be challenged, wants to grow, and may want to morph their jobs or their talents in the near future. This isn’t a bad thing if we factor this into our hiring. In fact, this might just be the type of person to lead the practice into change down the road.

So, just a thought…

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