Veterinarians are a group of motivated, hard working, kick-butt individuals. Most of us spend 12-14 hours at our jobs daily, sometimes only to be on call for the entire night. We are perfectionists and hate failure. In general, we rock. But there is a new trend in America, and it’s creeping into veterinary medicine. Maybe even “changing” it for the worse. These are the millennials.
I am apparently a millennial. I only graduated four years ago and continue to get grouped into the newest generation of veterinarians. When it comes to discussions regarding why veterinary medicine is changing so quickly, I tend to find myself on the side of the old school veterinarians. I know, I’m a traitor to my own generation! But hear me out.
Millennials aren’t just defined by age, but by mentality. Entitlement is a better word, I believe. We have all seen it, especially in the way our clients talk to us some days: “I deserve this,” even though they do not. When we get into arguments regarding the newest veterinarians, we tend to see a similar mentality. It isn’t everyone, only a select few. But that small number can ruin it for the rest of us.
No one wants to work on call shifts after a 12-hour day. No one wants to do surgery the next morning after being on call. No one wants to sacrifice holidays to work. I’m fairly certain that is a general consensus regardless of age. But the difference between the last generation and now is a lot of new graduates are leaving jobs or not even applying to jobs because of those types of issues.
I was always taught you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Even once I obtained my DVM I knew that didn’t mean I was going to have my dream job right away. I knew I had to work hard, gain experience, and eventually find the best job for me. The entitled generation isn’t giving these jobs a chance. No, I’m not speaking of the clinics that are so stuck in the 1950s.
I’m talking about clinics that are pretty awesome if you give them a chance and keep your mind open. I’m talking about maybe having to move your life to a new place to take a chance on a job. There are jobs out there but they are dwindling. We can’t be ridiculously picky. We can’t ask for more than we are entitled.
We all started in a similar situation. We all worked hard in high school and undergrad to get fantastic grades, all did volunteer work or had jobs in veterinary clinics. We all went through the interview process and the craziness of veterinary school. We all want to feel like those things were the grunt work before obtaining that awesome job.
But we all need to realize that the hard work is never over. We aren’t entitled to an amazing job once we get that degree. We still need to put in the time, work hard, gain more experience, and continue to make our profession proud. Don’t be a millennial, be an amazing veterinarian.
Dr. Nicole Palumbo is a 2012 graduate from University of Illinois. She is originally from the south side of Chicago but chose to move to Northwest Pennsylvania for her first job out of veterinary school, where she currently is still employed. She works with small animals, exotics, and also volunteers her time at the local wildlife rescue, typically performing surgeries and exams on the many raptors that are admitted to the facility. With time she hopes to focus more time on wildlife medicine and also obtain specialization in feline medicine.