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New Jobs Suck

12 Jun

Nail trims are the most dangerous things we do. Here’s proof.

My job as a technician isn’t new. I’ve been training at it for months. But, now I’m full-time. When they offered me the position a couple of weeks ago, they put me in the tutelage of my co-worker Christine who was due to give birth the first week of July. Dr. Z (the practice owner) very firmly told me that I had two months to “sponge Christine’s two years of college-level tech training and her 16 years of experience. You must become the best technician.”

One and a half weeks into my intensive training, Christine is out on bed-rest, and I am completely unprepared. I am a perfectionist. I hate not doing things well and starting a new job kills me. I hate being discombobulated and feeling useless.

Last week went really well. Christine is an awesome trainer. I was inserting catheters in pit bulls, intubating poodles, running ear swab cytologies, setting up ultrasound equipment and scrubbing in a dog for a nasty gastrotomy. I was feeling amazing. Drawing blood from the jugular vein of a cat? That ain’t no thang.

I don’t know what was wrong today. All I could think of is watching Mariner’s games where Felix Hernandez doesn’t pitch well. He’s such an amazing pitcher with exceeding talent, but sometimes things are off, and it gets into his head, and he pitches a shitty game. Today, I pitched a shitty game.

I made so many simple mistakes. I was tripping over myself, and I felt like I spent most of the day just standing around taking up space. It makes matters so much worse that Dr. S, the vet that once told me he’d help me in my path to becoming a vet tech and that he had complete faith in me, now wants me gone. He was happy when I quit, and I only got the tech position because of Dr. Z and Christine’s efforts. He glares at me. He snaps at me. But most of the time, he pretends like I’m not there. The man hates me for a lot of inconsequential and silly reasons. Stupid metaphor, but I feel like the dog that keeps getting kicked.

It got into my head. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to criticism, and I’ll beat the shit out of myself mentally when I make mistakes. At some point in the afternoon I was running an ear swab cytology for Dr. R. I could not for the life of me focus the microscope. I kept checking the oil lens, readjusting, making sure the slide was in place. It just wasn’t happening, and Dr. S was standing nearby staring me down while flipping through his charts. I felt like crying. But I didn’t. I just kept focusing until I found the swabs I was looking for. But it took forever. Dr. R appeared at my side.
“How’s that slide coming? Got a yeast party for me?”
“Um, the left ear has tw0 to three yeast per field with occasional cocci, but I’m still checking the right ear. I’m so sorry it’s taking so long.”
“No worries. Listen, you are doing fine. It sucks that Christine had to leave early, but if you need help, I’m here. I’ve been exactly where you are. I can answer any of your questions.”
It was reassuring, but I hate being so helpless.

After that I held a Cairn Terrier for my co-worker Daryl to cut his nails. The dog started flipping out the second Daryl touched its paws. I tightened my grip and braced myself. This dog was going crazy. I had the dog in a muzzle and a headlock to keep him from biting us, but his foot got up under my arm and sliced me (see above.) I’ve been scratched a million times before, so I didn’t think anything of it until another technician Clive walked by.
“Woah, he got you!” I looked down at the gashes in my arm, gushing blood. No dog had ever broken skin before. Clive and Daryl started clapping.
“Welcome to being a technician! You are one of us now!” They patted me on the back and started to show me all their scars.

I’ve been staring at that stinging wound all day. I rolled up my sleeves on the subway so everyone could see.

I was a shitty barista at first, and my boss wouldn’t let me anywhere near a steam wand. Now I can make you gorgeous latte art and the silkiest milk imaginable. I was originally dead weight with the Mariners, but I ended up running my own kiosk and raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars for the team I love.

I am a technician now. It’s just going to take a while before I’m a really really good one. But I will be. I’ll be the Felix Hernandez of veterinary technicians.

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6 Responses to “New Jobs Suck”

  1. Cindy S. June 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    I love your blog!! Im thinking about going to school to become a vet tech 🙂 good luck in your endeavors!! it looks to me your not a quitter 🙂

    • Chrissy June 27, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

      Thank you so much! Being a vet tech is such a rewarding job. I highly recommend it to you. You have to really, really love animals though, and not just the cute ones.

  2. Cindy S. June 28, 2012 at 1:29 am #

    I used to work in a nursing home and the mental health field, found out that humans are far more exhausting and cruel than animals. Ive always loved animals plus I want to get a vet tech degree and work as a vet tech while I get my degree in environmental science as well, going to school so I can become a biologist 🙂 long road ahead, im 27 and it took me long enough to figure out my calling 🙂

  3. Angela July 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Yes, strange as it may sound, once they really break the skin you are a vet tech. I spent almost two tears at a small clinic and I loved every second of my job. I left in December due to issues with the vet and other clinic staff. I swear to you not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. I still wear my many scars as a badge of honor. I hope to get back to it soon. But as long as you love it you can make it work. You will spend countless hours cleaning you and coworkers wounds at the back sink. You will find yourself correcting the vet’s typos on prescriptions. You will leave work at the end of the day and find yourself going back two and three times throughout the night to check on patients. You will grieve losses, experience amazing joys, be peed on during neuro exams, learn to maintain your grip on feral cats even after your hands are numb, and most importantly you will save the lives of innocent animals that cannot care for themselves and are not always very accepting of help. To me it is the most beautiful, tiring, ans satisfying job in the world. And I am sure you’ll feel the same.

    • Chrissy July 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you so much for such a beautiful comment!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Penn Foster Vet Tech Program: A Review | Chrissy's Blog - October 13, 2015

    […] was a rough road at first. But, at my job, I am surrounded by talented technicians who I am still learning from. […]

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