What burnout and Covid-19 did to my career

Life's hard enough as it is, but sometimes the wrench thrown into it can be a good thing.

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I spent 13 years as a Veterinary Technician, I have an Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology, and I have worked in multiple veterinary clinics. I loved helping animals get better when they were sick, relieving their pain when they were injured, or providing the preventive care needed to keep them healthy. I fell in love with so many animals and sometimes, the best thing we could do for them was end their suffering. The job could be heartbreaking. At the very least it was an emotional rollercoaster. When we had to euthanize a patient then five minutes later see our next patient and pretend like we weren’t just sobbing before we came in the exam room. The job itself is hard on everyone working in the clinic, the only thing that makes it even harder is working with those people.

 If you’re lucky, you get to work with a doctor who doesn’t look down on you or treat you like they know everything and you’re just the lowly assistant. I have worked with a few of those, I’ve also worked with the ones who somehow manage to squeeze their heads through the door. When you work with a doctor like that it really effects the efficiency of the team. For example, if a client approves bloodwork for a patient that might need emergency surgery and the doctor hasn’t had time to see the patient yet, it would probably be more efficient to get the bloodwork done before the doctor goes in to see the patient. But when you have an egotistical doctor, they might day “that wasn’t your decision to make”. Meaning it should be up to the doctor as to whether we do bloodwork or not. Just to clarify, it’s actually up to the client as to whether we do bloodwork or not, so if they’ve already approved it and I can’t even start it until the doctor goes into the room, that’s prolonging how long it takes to get that patient into surgery. Doesn’t seem very efficient to me. That’s just one example, I have many more, but I won’t turn this into a rant session.

The average shelf life for a veterinary technician is 7 years. Usually that’s because they get burnt out from working with people who make their job miserable. Whether it be the doctor(s), other technicians, receptionists, or even the clients, they all contribute to burn out. About a year before I stopped working at my last clinic it hit me. I was tired of the people I worked with on a professional level, on a personal level they were all really nice and we got along well. But there was a lot of talking behind people’s backs, blaming others for their problems or mistakes, not to mention the cliques. But my family couldn’t afford for me to not have a job and I live in a small town so demand for someone with my job qualifications isn’t very high. I hung in there. The best thing I could do in my situation was not take anything personally and just do my job.  I had to remember that other people’s problems are about them. Another thought that got me through it was “Not my zoo, not my monkeys”. Then Coronavirus hit.

At first no one knew what to do, we started implementing social distancing policies as well as we could since the building was small. Then we went into lockdown, I took a six-week furlough because my mom has respiratory issues and I didn’t want to risk bringing home the virus to her. Everything seemed to calm down for a while so I went back to work part-time. The following week, my mom developed flu-like symptoms and when I told my boss that I was healthy but that someone I lived with was sick, she fired me and said that she would look for “someone more dependable”. Now keep in mind that I had never been reprimanded for absentee issues prior to this so I was surprised that she jumped straight to termination. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Now I am a stay-at-home mom and I homeschool my two preschoolers. While they sometimes drive me crazy, I love having the time to watch them grow and learn. My husband is now making more money so we can afford to have me stay home, not to mention that schools are closed so they wouldn’t be able to go to school even if I was working.

The point of all this is that we go through hard times, like trying to overcome burn out, being fired, or Coronavirus. But there is always something better waiting for you. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes taking a step back to look at the bigger picture can help you get through it. Blessings really can come in disguise. I wanted a way out of my job, and I got it. Not necessarily the way I wanted it to happen, but it worked out for the better. Embrace life and enjoy your family.

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