"I just saw my last client. Can I leave a little early today?" Joanne cooed.
Henry was bushed but had two more clients to see. He waved to the door and weakly smiled. He would have to stay after work
Joanne opened the driver's side door of her Toyota and started the engine. She quickly cocked her head to the left and placed
her cell phone in a familiar depression along her neck. She voice-activated her voicemail as she punched various buttons on
her satellite radio and slipped away for a night on the town. She had $57 in her checkbook and an $18,000 credit-card debt.
There were no calls.
As she drove away, she contemplated a strange dichotomy. Joanne loved animals but hated her job. She really didn't know why.
She had never really asked to join any of the associations that published professional journals. That seemed to be Dr. Henry's
domain. He paid her dues, and she read the journals.
She had progressed slowly from eagerly reading entire articles in the professional journals to glancing at the abstracts.
Recently, she found herself only reading the classified sections looking for greener grass.
Last week, she had found what seemed to be her perfect job across town: It had the basics she already had—no call, good salary
and fringes. But this job, although it paid a little less, included three weeks of paid vacations and no Saturday work. She
had agreed to an interview next Wednesday. She reminded herself to call in sick Wednesday.
Joanne turned the bass up and smiled.
A few hours later, Dr. Henry piled into his aging Taurus after having checked on Millie one last time for Joanne.
The Candy store
Too often new graduates look upon their prospective places of employment as a cafeteria or candy store to browse over and
ultimately pick based on a value that favors his or her side of the equation. This has created an unrealistic expectation
of practice and dissatisfaction that leads to a quick professional divorce.
Once the divorce is final, there is a new chase for some form of nirvana in the next practice environment. The current American
culture of consumerism largely has brought this upon us.
A whole new nation of Americans has been brought up to think that life is an equation that needs balancing in their favor.
This mindset has them looking for value in everything around them. This approach to life says that when you are seeking to
do anything, you must at least break even on the deal. Therefore, any added input on your part is wasted and is of no benefit.
This means that if the other side of the equation is seen to benefit more than your side, then it is somehow unfair. In other
words, it is self-centered. If, on the other hand, you perceive yourself to have gained on the transaction, then value has
been added to your life. This is the goal.
Education in America
Everyone expects the government or someone to deliver quality education to our children. As children become young adults,
a small minority enter veterinary school. They are "trading" their time, efforts and money for a degree. In return, they expect
the school to offer them the credential of graduation. It has become, in their minds, a consumptive behavior. Consumption
begins with the mantra, "I want to be a veterinarian," and so the consumption process begins. There seems to be very little
thought to a contribution to society unless it involves personal goals, such as, "I want to protect animals from ________."
Thus, we have evolved a profession based on the desires of individuals—not necessarily societal needs. This has led a portion
of our young veterinarians to have a self-centered approach to the profession. "What can it do for me?"