I know that an associate veterinarian who's juggling a hectic schedule, a crazy personal life, and pressure-packed workdays can easily get lost in the minutia of the moment. Before you realize it, weeks, months, and even years can float by. At the same time, critical decisions—about your career, your cash flow, and your potential—can get pushed to the back burner, or worse, never even considered.
Don't leave your future to chance! Instead, take a step back from your busy life at least once a year and ask yourself the following questions. Ideally, you'll mull over these issues while you're away from the job—preferably on a sandy beach or a frigid ski slope. The farther you are from the worries of work and home, the easier I think you'll find it to give your goal-setting the attention it deserves.
Tom A. McFerson, CPA
The answers to these questions may come easily, or agonizingly slowly. Either way, it's the process of considering, analyzing, and making the decisions that's important.
Should I stay or should I go?
A place to think
As an associate veterinarian, generally speaking, you're a free agent. Because you're not tied to a practice by ownership, you have the flexibility to pick up and walk away whenever you choose. So here's one of the most crucial decisions you make each year: Do I want to keep working here?
I recommend that you approach this question by first analyzing your skills. For example, ask yourself:
Does no mean it time to go?
- Am I improving here as a doctor?
- Am I still learning?
- How much am I being pushed?
- Am I growing as a professional?
Next, look at your environment:
- Do I like the practice culture?
- Am I proud to say I work here?
- Do I like the people I spend my day with? I once spoke with an associate who was happy with his place of employment. His only complaint: A few bad clients sapped the practice's positive energy. Feeling this was an area that he could change, the associate got permission to "fire" unreasonable or problem clients. With these bad clients gone, the associate was happier and stayed with the practice.
- Am I proud of my contribution to the practice and of the medicine I practice?
The next step is to review your compensation:
Finally, think about the future:
- Am I paid well for what I do?
- How are the benefits?
- Is there the potential to make more? How much more?
- Is ownership a possibility?
- Can I see myself at this practice in three years? In five years?
- Is there a better situation for me out there?