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Why are you Still Here?

  • March 15, 2016 2:52 PM EDT

    Veterinarians often work long and erratic hours. Some work nights or weekends, and they may have to respond to emergencies at any time. According to Tuffs University, in 2012, about 1 in 3 veterinarians worked more than 50 hours per week.

    I have found that many of my coaching clients stay at work 1-3 hours after the clinic has closed to catch up. My coaching comment is: Just because something is normal does not mean it is good for you. What are the effects of long hours on your quality of life and professional sustainability? What are your options?

    Everyone has a unique situation and a need to find a balance that fits their practice or time in life. The research is solid that working too many hours takes a toll on you personally and offers a decline in output.

    Negative impacts of long hours:

    • Sleeplessness
    • Conflicts with relationships / family
    • Increase in mistakes that create more work
    • Increase in stress
    • Lack of time for activities that improve wellness
    • Decline in efficiency for normal tasks
    • Increase in health issues

    In sum, the story of overwork is literally a story of diminishing returns: keep overworking, and you’ll progressively work more stupidly on tasks that are increasingly meaningless. Read the full article here.

    I suspect that no one is surprised or immune to the effects of working long hours week after week. Yet why do we keep doing it? As a coach I have found that our beliefs drive our actions. There is a deeply held belief that working harder is expected as a veterinary professional. There can be a belief that in order to build my business, I must be there all of the time. I suggest you look at your overall health and quality of life then go back and reflect on those beliefs. How does working longer hours help your or hurt you? The goal of professional development is based on being challenged and thriving in an environment that supports your own needs.

    The first step in making any change is to increase your awareness of your current patterns and situation. As a coach, I don’t have the answers for you. I do have the questions that will prompt you to seek the best solution for your own needs. What do you want and need to create a sustainable working environment? Start there and see where that leads you. 

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