Regardless of what field you intend to enter after the completion of your education, there are certain constants that will hold true. You’ll need to dedicate yourself fully to becoming a valuable member of your workplace as well as continue to learn as you go about your job.
All of this can be made considerably easier and more rewarding if you put in the work during the application and interview process to ensure that you end up in the right workplace. This is particularly true of students who intend to become certified veterinary technologists.
Working in a veterinary office presents unique opportunities and challenges. While this is a wonderful scenario, it means additional effort must be put into determining that you end up in the right office the first time around. Whether you’re currently looking for a job or are anticipating hitting the job market after you finish your coursework, take a look at these suggestions for finding the right veterinary practice:
Observing current employees
Few things can provide as strong and reliable an indication of your fit for a workplace as close observation of the other veterinary technicians already employed there. Following this, you may want to take some time to try and view their daily routines and the way that they respond to the rigors and benefits of their workday.
Consider asking a given practice, during the interview process, if it would be alright for you to sit in on the office for a day or, better yet, to shadow a current employee for several days. This will allow you to get a truly accurate sense of exactly what will be expected of and provided for you within a given practice, allowing you to make judgments regarding if you’re a fit for them. While the opportunity is rare, you’ll want to try to get a look into the way the job affects employees personal lives as well, if at all possible.
If you have a friend currently working for a practice that you’re interviewing at, take some time to speak candidly with them about their work life balance. The Workplace Therapist recommends considering how the job affects loss of sleep, mood and physical health.1 If you see that it isn’t working out well for others in this regard, the odds are it isn’t the right fit for you.
Determine the nature of the office community
Perhaps no single factor in a workplace is quite as important as the strength of the office community. According to The Brazen Careerist, determining what is being done to promote a healthy community and environment around the office is important in any interview.2
This will be particularly true for certified vet techs, as the job requires long hours, flexibility, and a great amount of determination. During your interviews, take the time to ask the people conducting the discussion and your potential superiors exactly what the state of the office community is around their practice. Do they simply work together, or are people there invested in knowing one another and interacting outside of work hours.
This may seem like a small benefit while you’re still conducting your studies, but being a part of a workplace where you actually enjoy time with your colleagues is important. It’s this sort of companionship at the professional level that makes the negative aspects of any job more bearable.
Consider hidden variables
Unfortunately, the conversation regarding finding the right workplace for you is never going to be a particularly simple one. As a veterinary technician, you need to be aware of the added factors that can make or break the work environment for you. For example, when you’ve put in a long day preparing animals for surgery, doing paperwork and maintaining the office with your coworkers, the last thing you’re going to want is a 45 minute commute home. Location is key to finding the right workplace, as are the amenities it provides.
The Telegraph recommends considering the way that the office itself is structured to help determine if the practice is right for you.3 Are there ‘breathing spaces,’ places where you can take a few minutes to collect yourself in the midst of a chaotic day? Are the staff working in such a manner where they interact with each other regularly instead of going about their day wordlessly? If you find that a few of these hidden variables are readily apparently being met in a practice, it may be worth committing to a job there.
1) Smith, Brandon, The Workplace Therapist, ‘Prescription – Finding the “Right” Culture for You, 2013, http://theworkplacetherapist.com/prescription-–-finding-the-“right”-culture-for-you/
2) Campbell, Bobby, The Brazen Careerist, ‘Ask These Interview Questions to Find the Right Workplace,’ 3/7/2014 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/03/07/ask-these-interview-questions-to-find-the-right-workplace/
3) The Telegraph, ‘Choose a Workplace You Love and You Will Never Have to Work a Day in Your Life, 4/24/2012 https://jobs.telegraph.co.uk/article/choose-a-workplace-you-love-and-you-will-never-have-to-work-a-day-in-your-life/