You’ve finally made it, you’re a vet. But you keep hearing about vets who hate their career. Who regret their choice. Is that the fate you’re going to be doomed to too? No! Tons of vets still love what they do every day. You just need to make sure you’re the one in charge of your career and your life. Here are five tips to help you do just that…
1) Set Appropriate Boundaries
Everyone has different boundaries. Some people would rather take that phone call over lunch rather than have it hanging over their heads. Other people need lunch time to be sacred. But whatever your boundaries are, figure it out early and stick to it. If you start out your career saying yes to everyone and everything, you will quickly find yourself getting burned out and feeling resentful.
2) Focus on the Positive
It’s easy to get caught up in the clients who yell or the cases that go wrong. We’re hard wired to remember the bad stuff so we can avoid it in the future. But those negatives are part of this career and something we need to learn to live with. So, if we get stuck stewing on them, we’ll just be miserable. Make a conscious effort at the end of every shift to think of three things that went well.
3) Get Control of Your Finances
Student loans can be overwhelming. Which means you’ve probably spent a fair amount of time figuring out how you’re going to repay them. But financial security is so much more than that. Have you set up a retirement plan? Do you have savings account? If you’re constantly stressed about playing your bills, you will start to resent this job as just a way to make ends meet. Meet with a fee only certified financial planner to come up with a comprehensive financial plan.
4) Develop a Hobby
You’ve spent so much of your life trying to become a vet that it can sometimes be hard to remember that you’re not just a vet. Don’t let your life be subsumed by work. Take up an instrument, explore some hiking trails, make time to read; whatever it is that brings you joy. Because a well-rounded life doesn’t just help keep you sane, it also makes you a better vet.
5) Find a Support System
Being a veterinarian is hard; not just mentally, but emotionally. You are now responsible for making life and death decisions every day. You are responsible for the health and wellbeing of members of people’s family. That’s a lot of responsibility. It’s important to have a strong support network in and out of vet med. Having people you can lean on and talk to separate from your job can help you keep healthy boundaries (see #1). But having the support of people who know what you’re going through, who have been there, and who you can feel comfortable venting to about the struggles of your job is just as vital. And it can help to have that support both inside and outside of the people you work with day in and day out.
If you want to enlist the support of a community that’s there specifically to help you make the transition into life as a practicing vet, then check out my new Bounding into Vet Med Mentorship Mastermind. There you’ll not only find a support system of other new grads, but you’ll also get additional training and mentorship in areas such as personal finance, client communication, and setting boundaries.