Three months ago I was the Veterinary Director of a large brand new Emergency Veterinary Clinic. I was at the top of what a practicing Veterinarian can achieve professionally and still continue working as a clinician. It was a dream come true – after heading two successful Veterinary clinics and completing a Diploma of Management, I was being recognised for what I was good at.
So I was very surprised when after only a few weeks at the new job I began to experience a growing feeling of dissatisfaction. I liked my job title but not my work. I liked the idea of what I was doing much more then what I was actually doing.
As a practicing Veterinarian, I take pride in working at the coal face – doing surgery and seeing clients. But there was less and less time for that left in my day. Instead of talking to dog parents, I was talking to Reps. Instead of looking into the eyes of my patients I was looking at Excel spreadsheets. It suddenly dawned upon me that this in not who I was or what I wanted to do. So after only a month on the job, I held my breath and submitted my resignation.
Now I work as a house call Veterinarian – I went back to the roots, to the lifestyle close to that of James Herriot – the author of my childhood’s favourite books. Now when I see clients, I get to talk about what matters to them – their pet and their lives. I write my notes on the dining room table, look over not just the pet but also the food bowl and the dog bed, and awkwardly decline the invitation of tea (‘Sorry, got to run’). I still do my administration – my Tax and GST, and I still sometimes work in Vet clinics. But now I do it all as myself – the Veterinarian I always wanted to be.
One thing that made it easier for me to transition is the Pawssum app. It is daunting to set off on your own own and takes time to build a client following. The Pawssum app allowed me to connect to my client from day one – and do it with a great deal of support.
My friend is a primary school teacher and the other day I sent him a text which went something like this: “Nice to be back in the I-Love-My-Work town. Population you and me.” and I really meant it.