Practice in the Real World

Practice in the Real World

Not all that glitters is gold
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Sep 01, 2004


David M. Lane DVM, MS
Dr. Perry House looks down at the resume. Before him is a neatly typed presentation of Carrie's work and educational history. Carrie is a registered technician from Texas and has recently moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to her grandparents in Ohio. It also had come out that she has followed her boyfriend to the area. He recently was hired to a good-paying factory job in the next county. They will be living within 10 miles of the veterinary hospital.

"How long do you plan to live here?" he asked.

"I will be here for a long time, hopefully, because my boyfriend's job pays well," she offered.

"How long did you work in Texas as a technician?"

"I worked at two different clinics over a period of five years."

"I see that they paid you quite well. I cannot pay you that wage right away, but we can talk about a raise once you are hired." Perry noted strongly with only a hint of hesitation.

"Dr. House, I really need the money, and I think my resume speaks for itself," she sniffed.

Perry was starting to melt in the face of her resilient poise and could feel that he was becoming putty in her hands. At times like this—and also when he was extremely nervous—Perry's right eyelid would twitch. It was in double-time mode.

"Ok, I will consider it?" he countered meekly and was inwardly shamed by his quick retreat.

Perry rallied enough to continue the interview with probing questions about job issues that were answered in a balanced and straightforward way. Carrie was tall and attractive, and she seemed to be confident. At the same time, she carried with her a deep respect for the diversity and difficulty of her past duties in Texas.

Perry is secretly filled with glee. His heart begins to beat a bit faster as the interview progresses. He then asks the question that is guaranteed to enlarge the circumference of pre-existing stomach ulcers for many hospital owners who think they might have an exclusive situation developing:

"How many other veterinary hospitals are you currently interviewing with?"

Carrie offered that this was her second interview and that she had two more after this one. She also stated that the first hospital had tentatively offered her a job and would be calling her tomorrow afternoon. She casually noted that her previous interview had been with his dreaded competitor—Elsewhere Animal Clinic.

Perry could feel the lump developing somewhere between his larynx and his pituitary gland. He had been looking for a certified tech for more than a year since his last tech departed to start a family. Carrie was just the kind of person he needed to fill the bill.

Dr. House completed the interview in a daze. He looked at the familiar tag line at the end of the resume. It read: "References available upon request."

Perry beamed at Carrie and added, "I will need some references as soon as possible."

As she left, Perry took her phone number and wrote it down in three different places. Later that evening he remained in a pensive mood that made him feel quite uncomfortable. He was desperate. He was in love. He was mesmerized. He was eager to call. He made her an offer the next morning. She could work at her going rate plus a promise for a raise that if things go well. Carrie accepted.

July 2003 Penny Taylor wanted to talk. Penny had worked for Dr. House for three years and was a very able and responsible worker. She now sat across from Perry's desk and was visibly agitated.

"Dr. House, I don't mean to complain but Carrie has created some problems that you need to know about."