Having a life outside of work...(are your hours too erratic?)

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onedoorclosed in Wilmington, North Carolina

82 months ago


I've been working as a stablehand for some years now and am looking for a change. I believe I would love the work of a vet tech...I have the dedication to the horses--nearly gone crazy and broke and maxed out on caffeine in consistently understaffed barns to do my best for them. But I've pored over these discussions and other internet-provided statements from vet techs, and noticed a thread of discontent...well, several, but one I'm particularly concerned about.

Since I graduated college (with a completely unmarketable degree, hence the stablehanding), I haven't had any day of the weekend off, rarely had two consecutive days off in a week, sometimes had only one day off and for one memorable stint no days whatsoever. I think the fewest hours I've ever worked in a week was 50; more often somewhere between 60-80, sometimes paid for overtime and sometimes not. The hours have been erratic and all over the place; I've often been more or less 'on-call' and essentially not allowed to stray too far from the premises or take vacation time (it was there, theoretically, but I couldn't take it because there was no one to fill in). This together with the barely-minimum-wage pay has made it damn near impossible to have either a social life or any life outside of work whatsoever. And this, I've decided, is not okay.

So. I know the pay isn't great, I've heard stories about mean vets treating people like dirt (...wouldn't handle that very well but I'm aware this can happen in any job), I know there's mess (right now I have doxycycline paste smeared across my boob, hay in my bra, poop on my sock and I'm probably not going to bother taking a shower)and blood (I've already seen gross punctures and witnessed a surgery and thought it was super cool) and all that...but what really matters to me is, can you guys have hobbies and a social life outside of work? Vacations even? I need a life badly...sanity's already slipping :)

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cindyrvt in Henderson, Texas

81 months ago

As someone who previously worked in an equine hospital I would recommend that if you want a life outside of work you should seek employment in a very large facility. Small equine practices typically have to have their whole staff "on call" during the foaling season because getting a horse anesthetized and dealing with a foaling issue has to be done extremely quickly and takes alot of hands. We were not allowed to be more than 20 minutes from the clinic for about 3 months out of the year, nor could you be in any way impaired so no glass of wine with dinner or beer while watching tv. The rest of the year we were pretty much on call as well because you just never know when an emergency call is going to come in that requires all hands on deck.

And also because of the small number of staff we typically didn't get to take vacation unless the vet was also going to be out of town.

But in large facilities where you have alot of staff, these duties can be spread out so that all the staff gets at least some time when they are completely free from the posibility of having to drop everything and run into work.

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