Vet Tech (Former Employee) – Austin, TX – November 3, 2018
I've been employeed in multiple shelters and other animal specialist positions, and this was probably the worst job I've ever had. I've worked a few different positions here and every program is severely understaffed. The people who run this place expect volunteers to fill in the gaps for everything, but don't provide proper staff coverage if that doesn't happen, meaning you'll sometimes be working 10-12 hours 6 days a week. When I was a Dog Walker, I'd be routinely forced to stay past midnight (while managers left as soon as the sun started to set), because they expect volunteers to cover but if that's doesn't happen then too bad. Everyone who's a salaried office worker there is out of touch with the people who are doing the actual hard work, and just want to save money by overworking the same few people until they break down. And of course employee turnover is ridiculously high because of all these things. There's about 3 salaried people to cover every single position for the office jobs, and they make up and hire for a new position about once a month. Instead of hiring more HR people to figure out how to make staff happier, they should think about allocating some of that money to hire staff that would lessen those employees burdens. I'm honestly surprised they haven't been fined or shut down for how they treat staff.
You'll never get fired because they're so desperate for staff
Work/life balance is non-existent, low pay, constant stress
Vet Tech (Current Employee) – Austin, TX – April 11, 2019
The mission that APA works towards, keeping Austin no kill, is fantastic. Because of this, the staff that are attracted to work there are generally great, and everyone is in it for the right reasons. This sense of community and "all in it together", and putting the animals first, is the greatest thing about working there.
The issues come from upper management. There's such a focus on volunteer retention and foster retention, while staff are seen as expendable or replaceable. Discipline can be harsh or unfair, and great employees end up leaving because no one made them feel valued enough to stay. Rates of pay vary enormously from department to department in an arbitrary way.
I wouldn't recommend working there with the current staff culture, because it's all on you but you get the least amount of latitude and support. However, they treat their volunteers/fosters amazingly and that teamwork culture really thrives in those spheres. If you're committed to helping the animals in Austin, I would highly recommend volunteering or fostering, but find some other way to pay the bills.
Cheap healthcare/benefits, flexibility to change departments, great animals
No room for constructive negative feedback, staff receive poor feedback and personal development, little to no training, disorganized management style