Same crap, different day," is Sarah's usual reply when Ashley asks how she's doing. As she catches up on the surgery logs
at the Whereami Veterinary Hospital, Sarah's mind wanders. What happened to those days when everything was new and exciting
and she just couldn't wait to get to work?
As she starts her car that evening, Sarah thinks, "I am so out of here." All the way home she builds her list of frustrations:
"No training, no way to get a raise, nobody listens to anything I have to say, no one tells me what's going on, I never learn
anything new, and it'd be nice to go a week without a new employee going to lunch and never coming back. It's time to move
Sound familiar? The 2005 Advanstar Veterinary Healthcare Communications (AVHC) Veterinary Team Study shows that many of you
list lack of empowerment as one of your top frustrations in practice. And for years, team members have urged practice owners
and managers to give them more control. But you don't have to wait for change—unless you've decided to accept feeling disappointed,
frustrated, and under-compensated as part of the job description. You have more power than you realize.
Set your course
Arguably, the most damaging assumption you can make about your career is that you work for someone else. OK, you do receive
a paycheck, and you report to a boss. But ultimately you make the decisions that put you on the path toward—or away from—success.
You're essentially self-employed, and you offer your services and skills to your client, the practice. Embracing this idea
takes you from just having a job to having a career. (See "Are You Self-Employed?" below.)
This shift from being just an employee to being a skillful, self-employed entrepreneur is the first step to building a fulfilling
career. Successful self-employed people know that to increase their value, they must help grow the business and be true partners
in the practice.
What do you do that influences the practice's success? If you're not sure, start keeping a monthly list that highlights the
things you've done to help build the practice. See "Create a Success Journal" on for inspiration. Once you've finished, take
a moment to read your list and feel pride in all that you do.
Sample job description—Whereami Veterinary Hospital
Ask for directions
The 2005 AVHC Veterinary Team Study also shows that you want feedback about your performance. And that's not unique to veterinary
practice. Almost everyone wants more feedback. And you're not alone if you've found that waiting for others to offer input
hasn't worked well so far.
So take charge. Solicit the feedback you need to grow and enjoy your position. Start by asking your manager what he or she
sees as your strengths. Then ask, "What are three things that I could do to enhance the practice?"