Becky graduated from veterinary school this year, but a diploma wasn't the only thing she carried away from campus. She also
unknowingly toted away a motley mob of monkeys. Big ones. Little ones. Monkeys running up and down her back, climbing in and
out of her pockets, and swinging from her head with wild abandon. Monkeys with scary names like student debt, gender issues,
life balance, and motherhood. Chimps that chittered and chattered in her ears, yanked on her hair, and all in all made it
very hard for Becky to concentrate on beginning her career.
And those apes weren't only annoying Becky. Oh, no. They threw bananas at Dr. Bob, the veterinarian who was considering hiring
Becky. They chucked coconuts at Cory, Becky's husband. They lobbed debris at loan officers, family members, and all the other
folks who were a part of Becky's life. Eventually, those monkeys ended up bothering every single veterinarian in the country.
"Ha! That's ridiculous," you say, sitting in your simian-free office. "Becky's monkeys will never bother me." Ahh, but they
will. Those monkeys are big enough to hassle every single one of us unless we can somehow find a way to cage them. So let's
take a closer look at these aggravating apes.
Student debt monkey
Long before Becky donned her graduation gown, she knew what she wanted from an employer. As a young veterinarian, she would
need a good mentor—someone who would take the time to teach her, train her, and grow her abilities. She knew it would be important
to work at a clinic that practiced high-quality medicine, with modern equipment that met or exceeded industry standards. She
would need flexibility, especially since she and her husband planned to start a family in the next five years. And she wanted
to work at a practice where she could maintain a healthy balance in her life, with room for her to grow mentally, physically,
emotionally, and spiritually.
But sadly, like many new graduates, Becky felt like she was driven by her debt. Her student loans were the size of a small
house, and she felt pressured to work for the highest bidder. She wondered how she and Cory would ever afford a mortgage.
She resigned herself to driving her 10-year old compact car for yet another 100,000 miles and was already worried about the
financial decisions involved in starting a family. Dejectedly pushing her dreamy doctor visions aside, she wondered if she
should only consider higher-paying jobs, even if it meant compromising in other areas.
Gender issue monkey
Dr. Bob tugged at his mustache as he scanned Becky's resume. He had liked Becky when she interviewed the other day, and she
seemed to be a good fit for his practice, but dagnabit, she was a woman. A young woman, at that, and he knew what those young female veterinarians did. They got married, had babies,
and then they didn't want to work anymore.
Why, in the 30 years he'd been in small animal practice, he'd heard about it time and again from his male colleagues. In fact,
his friend, Kevin, had recently told him that the only veterinarians he would hire in the future would be those with testicles.