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Veterinary Science Unhelpful Belief #3: Vet science is much harder than other jobs

Posted in Our Community @ Jun 25th 2020 - By Dr Hubert Hiemstra
Veterinary Science Unhelpful Belief 3 Vet Science Is Much Harder Than Other Jobs

You’ve heard those conversations where vets pontificate about the injustice of their lot in life and their poor career choices.

We love to share stories about old acquaintances who are invariably less talented and not nearly as smart as us (we’re vets after all – the cream of the intellectual cream…), yet they have magical careers where they do almost nothing all day and get paid squillions and have 3 month holidays every year that they spend frolicking on their yachts, while we express anal glands for 27 hours a day and get paid less than the pot plants in the reception area at the dentist’s office.

I'm calling BS

Well, I call b.s. Have you ever listened to a group of people from other professions complain about their jobs, especially when they’ve had a few drinks? The bitching! When was the last time you asked someone about the details of their job? About what they do on a day to day basis? About the politics, the paperwork, the bureaucracy – all the dirty nitty-gritty?

But I bet many people have asked you about your job, because guess what – it’s friggin interesting! People love hearing about we do, while poor Kevin from accounts probably never even has the chance to complain about his job because no one ever asks.

There are those individuals who genuinely appear to have shimmering careers that they truly seem to love, but to me, the vast majority of other people’s jobs seem to fall somewhere on a spectrum between soul-crushing boredom and high stakes ulcer-causing relationship busting stress.

There is no doubt that there are real challenges in our job

Yes, our job has some very real challenges, but so does any career. What we tend to ignore are all the great things about a career in veterinary science. Variety, autonomy, never-ending opportunities for continued learning and acquisition of new skills, the potential for leadership positions, for business ownership.

We can travel with our degree, we can work full time, part-time, night time. We can choose to be generalists or we can push ourselves into challenging specialties, or take a left turn into a completely different pathway, like teaching, industry or government. We get to do a job that people swoon over in the media. 

Do you have any idea how many people would give anything to have a veterinary degree? To have the privilege of actually getting paid to work with animals. True, they probably don’t fully understand what it actually involves to work with animals, but the reality is that we DO get to do the thing that many of us dreamed of doing as youngsters. How many other careers can put all of that on their CV? 

Of course there's always room for improvement

I’m all for striving to improve the profession and making it an even better career to be in, but sometimes we need to just get over ourselves a little bit and see the gift that we have under our noses.

Yes, sometimes it’s hard being a vet.

Sometimes work is hard.

But this is not a unique feature of our profession.

And if your career really isn’t going the way you want it to, then maybe you need to re-evaluate how you’ve utilised your veterinary degree so far, rather than the fact that you to chose to have one to begin with.

“But the pay is so bad”, I hear you say Well, we’ll talk about that next time..... 

This post was originally published on 'The Art of Veterinary Science' Blog 

If you enjoyed this post you'll also enjoy the others in the series: 

About Hubert

Hubert is an emergency veterinarian and practice owner in Western Australia.

Over the almost two decades of his career, he has grown increasingly fascinated with all the quirks, intricacies and characters that come with this unique career of ours. One day he’ll figure out exactly what makes for a happy and fulfilled veterinary career and what makes a good vet, and when he does he’ll be sure to tell everyone. 

Check out Hubert & Dr Geraldo Poli's Podcast: The Vet Vault... Your Veterinary Potential Unlocked


lisa blair @ Jun 30th 2020 9:07am
Loving this series - an important prompt to choose the way I think about the everyday. Thank you
Judy @ Jun 30th 2020 11:18am
Thanks Lisa - we love this series too & can't wait for Hugh to write more :) - Judy

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