It was a Friday night during my very first semester of high school. I was home alone and was settling down to watch Netflix with my cat Pumpkin. Just as I had picked a show, I heard a car horn…
This week I decided to hand in my notice from my present work and move on.
The reasons are not related to my working colleagues. The practice is nice and my colleagues are ok. Since I joined the practice, it grew exponentially and the standards of care are very good.
I was unhappy for a while with working for the setup there, mainly, being one of the big corporates in the veterinary market. My unhappiness grew over the years, the more I saw how they work and think and the more I understood the way they deal with things the more upset I became.
Although the veterinary staff in the practice does not differ from the veterinary staff in any other practices, the fact that you have to deal with the so called support office is a major setback.
Whilst true that I had clinical freedom that is where the good stuff ended.
Dealing with people which are not veterinary qualified is not a problem but dealing with people which are not qualified in any way for the position they fill is not a positive.
I soon realised that the veterinary staff and to be honest the whole veterinary practice based team are seen as pawns on a production line. There does not seem to be a lot of concern with the level of clinical care but more with the turnover that the practice has. If you don’t hit the budget for whatever reason than is your fault, if you go over budget than is because of the excellent support of the head office. There is also no concern about selling things at a loss since any pound in turnover means more money for the head office.
It became clear to me that despite that the partner in the practice was trying to make a profit so as to pay the extensive depts the head office was only concerned about the turnover from which they will get their hefty percentage. The percentage is taken even if you go bankrupt, and then your money are given back to you as a loan with a hefty interest.
There were always to different agendas with regards to the best way to go about running the practice, one of the veterinary staff trying to work at an acceptable clinical level and make a profit without skinning the clients alive and the other of the head office which was interested only in the turnover. Over the years I can say that we received no valuable advice or support and that the massively staffed head office did nothing to justify their existence.
This upset me a lot.
There was also this idea that we should be glad that the head office is paying us. From my point of view the veterinary staff is paying from their hard work all these people at the so called support office.
The final straw was when I accidentally read this article in which this CEO of one of the corporates is presenting his thoughts and ideas for all to see (Innes).
After reading the article I sat down and reflected on the whole situation. I realised that I have one life and for me to work 10–12 hours a day every day so as I can pay for an infinite number of unknown people which as far as I am concerned do not help me in any way is not fair on me.
Also after 6 years of university and another 3 years of certificate I am not just a line worker or a cash cow. The fact that the veterinary staff is seen as a money making machine is the most upsetting thing of all.
I realised that if the corporates would implode and the head offices would close it wold make little if any negative difference to the working veterinary staff. I am absolutely sure that they would actually do much better financially and clinically and these people which at this point are living on our backs would have a reality check.
I also think that the corporate setup puts more pressure on us as vets and affects adversely our wellbeing at work (MMI RCVS). They put on more stress on an already stressed system and its an unnecessary stress. They offer nothing for the money they take.
I will look for another job in an independent veterinary practice. At this new place will again make money fore someone else but at least I will know for who and I am pretty sure that the money wont be squandered on paying for 300 people which struggle to justify their jobs.
It is a sad state of affairs in which the veterinary profession as a whole finds itself. I personally do think that things will change for the worse once the Americans come in as well. I remember when a cat neutering clinic was a profitable place to run. Long gone are those days.
I see the corporate entities in the veterinary business as an unnecessary evil and it will be impossible to rid ourselves of them as long as there is a profit to be made.
With a heavy heart I told my colleagues that I will be leaving. I do not think is fair on them but my conscience does not allow me to work for the present employer anymore.
My feelings are mixed on this but for the sake of my well-being I have to move on.
I know that this has little to do with leadership but this is what happened this week.
The rest went smoothly.
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