Lessons Learned (turned into frustrated rant)

12 Apr

Maybe the wrong one in a perfect world, but the system is flawed.

100% True Statement:  I worked my A$$ off for veterinary hospitals all my (employed) life.

Go ahead, click on my blog’s search bar or in these tags.  Type in DVVH to see how hard I worked–and gave my life to that hospital, only to have my boss/former-mentor go through a midlife crises and refuse to write me ANY letter for my veterinary application.  I guess if you catch your closeted boss cheating on her wife with your hairdresser (and a mother of 3), hostility will ensue.  In Seattle, I volunteered for the weekend kennel duties that no one else wanted to do.  At my current job, I, at first, took the cleaning position (impossible to fill) that was set up for off hours.  And type in Noah’s Ark to get an idea of the crazy schedule I worked for 6 years.  And an idea of how shitty some of my coworkers–and the younger vets–were.  And how those same co-workers are finishing up vet school right now.

My first nine-ten years as a veterinary assistant, I was always the first to volunteer to work weekends and holidays.  I ALWAYS worked extra when the hospital needed it.  I understand the value of teamwork, and knew the position the veterinary business-owners were in.  I knew I should look at the bigger picture.  Every time some flake quit and we were short-staffed, or someone refused to do a bit extra for the good of the business and the good of their co-workers, or if the schedule got overbooked and overwhelmed–I stepped up.  I was always one going above and beyond.

Though, I hardly ever got anything out of this (extra money, bonus pay/trinkets, make-up time off, put on the “good-list”) I looked ahead.  Back then, it was enough to know that in the end all the effort and sacrifice would be worth it–I would realize my dream of being a vet.  One day, I would make my OWN rules.  And they would be superior.  MY hospital would not have these same problems, because I lived through them as a grunt.  I did the hard work so I knew I was bound to reap all the benefits.

Vet school admissions did not care. Instead they rewarded my flaky, absentee, and dead-beat co-workers who only sort of worked. My hard work got me nothing but tired, bitter, in debt (low pay, high school loans) and rejected from veterinary school.  As a matter of fact, I would blame a lot of the extra working and stepping up for my lack of 4.0 GPA that got me HERE.  “Here,” being 28 years old, paying impossibly high undergrad loans, in a dead-end job with low pay/high stress, in SpoCompton, and starting over from the very beginning on a new career.

Lesson 1:  Loyalty and dedication will get you–nowhere.

Since my dream has alluded me, I am much more wise to the cost-benefit scenario.  Which is why I just refuse to let the vet hospital I work for right now (or any vet hospital ever again) to use me up.  When it comes down to it people are going to look after their own self interests.  This is not good or bad necessarily–just human nature.  As long as your boss isn’t directly affected by a short staff or tasks undone, they don’t care if the work-load is unequal.  They will approach the weaker links and guilt them into doing more then normal, in the name of trust and respect.

Lesson 2:  The employees that go above and beyond, work hard, help extra, get things done fast–are exploited.  

Fact A)  If you are lazy, adhere strictly to your schedule, refuse to trade or accommodate others:  The boss will stop asking you to do so.  Sure they see it as not trusting/respecting/depending on you, but in effect–you are rewarded, by NOT having to do any more then the bare minimum to keep your job.

Example A)  People that went on, or are going to go on, vacation are complaining about working extra when it is someone else’s turn for vacation.  To amend this Employer, first, uses snide comments to employee with impending day off.  Secondly, tries guilting employee to get them to work MORE than the previously discussed extra days.  Third, tells whiny employees to call co-worker into work on their (my) day off.  And I’m certain, finally gives the cold-shoulder to “lazy” employee who had the audacity to take their normal day off while someone else was on vacation.

As a side-note:  I DID go in to work on my day off.  It didn’t sit well either because I was the first employee there on the “crazy-busy day.”  There were 4 hospitalized cats.  The schedule showed one dental, then 3 appointments starting late morning–one was a recheck and one was a simple drain removal.  Ummm–I suppose “crazy-busy” is subjective.  The tech pretended she didn’t even have a CLUE I was called into work.  Until the other co-worker came in, and she said, “she did get your message” and I knew that at least those two had discussed my coming in.  And everyone acted like–you should be here, not thankful in the least.  One of our doctors called and my co-worker said, “She did show up.”  *insert snarky tone* So I knew my boss and all my co-workers had been conspiring against me, and looking down on me for (intending on) taking my normal time off.  Anyway, I cleaned all the cages, started laundry, and finished setting up for the only procedure of the morning–by myself.  Then, the answering machine was checked and the dental had cancelled.  So I had come in (out of guilt) on my day off, to clean 4 cages and start laundry. . .  The tech said, “Aren’t we lucky?!”  Then looked at me and said, “Well you’re probably wondering why you’re here now.”  And I said, “Somebody is lucky, but I don’t think I’m a part of that ‘we.'”  And I just left then and there.  What a waste of gas.

Which brings me back to my point of everyone only looking out for themselves.  So the employer LET everyone go on vacation during the same month.  When you approved simultaneous vacations, you made a conscious choice–I had no part in that decision, so I should have no part in that decision’s consequences either.  Not my fault, so it shouldn’t be my problem.  Maybe the boss should have come in on HER day off to help clean cages and start laundry?  Why should I (or anyone else) have to forgo their normal time off?  What do I GET out of it?  You shouldn’t offer vacation time if you have no back-up plan, anyway.  If you can’t schedule accordingly or have a substitute when people are absent, let people TRADE for strings of days off.  If the tech wants days A, B, and C off she could trade the assistant for days D, E, and F.  And it’s up to those two to work out which days work for both of them (with employer approval of course).  No day is left short, and two people have taken strings of days off.  Winning.

Fact B)  It’s true, when it comes right down to it co-workers are going to look after their own schedule, make sure their own vacations are plausible, and do however much, however fast they are comfortable with, no matter the burden on you, the business, and everybody else.

Example B)  So you want Thursday, Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday off (just for the summer!) and want me to give up my Thursday-day-off to accommodate YOU?  And you had the worst timing ever, asking during the short-staffed month, when semester projects and finals are impending for school.  Honestly, what kind of reaction were you expecting during this time of high stress???  This is not a mutually beneficial scenario.  Not only did I apply for all my vacation time so it is expanded by my day and a half off, but I am still the ONLY employee to work every Saturday.  WHY IS EVERYONE, BOSS INCLUDED, SO QUICK TO FORGET THAT?!  In addition, I would still have to fight (see previous sentence) to get my half day off–every friggin’ week.  People, I have a weekly half day off because I work all Saturdays.  All. Of. Them.

AND trading days off with you would then get put smack dab in the middle of a week–which sucks.  Wednesday only works for you, because you already have TWO full days off, and every other Saturday off (a better schedule then my current one).  And, worst of all if I traded around with you I would have to work with Dr.  “Makes me effing crazy.”  Three.  Days.  In.  A.  Row on some weeks.  I would have to be institutionalized.  Serious–no exaggeration.  My answer is N-O, and I think it was disrespectful and selfish for you to even ask me and then for you to act chilly toward me when I gave you my honest reason for not wanting to.  And why put it all on me anyway?  Ask the receptionist to work out an A and B schedule with you–since you two already rotate Saturdays.  If you offered to work some of her Fridays so she could have Friday through Monday off every other week, things might work out well for BOTH of you.  I don’t need to be involved at all.

I can compromise.  Compromise being doing something I don’t really love, in exchange for getting something back–that the other party may not love.  I can compromise.  And I will.  But I’m no longer going to put myself in a lose-lose position.  I will mentally run a cost-benefit and fairness analysis first.

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