Ask Shawn: Getting a fair shake as a male veterinary technician
I'm a male technician in a mostly female practice. The practice owner and manager are both female, and whenever they promote, it seems to be based on who they like best and hang out with. I've been here just as long as another female technician who's less experienced than me. She was promoted—I wasn't. How do I get my fair shake? —PASSED OVER
There are only a few places where a man feels like a minority at work, and veterinary medicine can be one of those places. Welcome to what women have been feeling for centuries. That said, two wrongs don't make a right.
Before we assume that discrimination is at the heart of the matter, let's regroup and assume that gender has nothing to do with it. Request a meeting with the supervisor and the owner and voice your concerns about being passed over, even though you had the same credentials as the candidate who got the job—and more experience. Ask what skills you need to improve to be considered for a future job. Don't bring gender into the discussion.If at the end of this interview you still believe that the only reason you were passed over is because of gender discrimination, contact an attorney and explore your options. If you're being discriminated against, you must take corrective action. But know that corrective action will irrevocably change your work relationships at that clinic, and you may need to move on to a more satisfying environment.
Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, is a member of the Firstline and Veterinary Economics editorial advisory boards and is CEO of McVey Management Solutions in Chicago. For videos and articles containing more of McVey's tips and tricks on issues relating to veterinary personnel management, conflict, and communication, visit http://dvm360.com/mcvey.