The Baby Vet

11 Jul

About a year ago, our clinic got a new vet. Fresh out of vet school with very limited experience, he seemed nice if a little naive, but I was optimistic and willing to give him a chance. We quietly referred to him as the baby vet.

I don’t know what happened between us or if there was something in particular that I did that upset him, but within a couple of weeks, he started treating me differently. He made a point to have me wipe his patients’ behinds after he expressed their anal glands (not my job), clean soiled cages (not my job), and even clean up vomit in his office (seriously not my job.) When I would tell him I was busy doing other things around the office, he would throw what can only be described as grown-man temper tantrums. I watched him throw bandaging materials, stomp to his office, slam the door and refuse to talk to anyone. He would brag openly to the receptionists that I was a horrible tech, a horrible person and that he was going to get me fired. Once a week, he’d take a list of things he didn’t like about me to my bosses and tell them what a waste of money I was.

I get the whole “you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea” thing, but it hurt. I work hard. I try and do the best job I can. It felt awkward to go to work everyday knowing that there existed a contingency of people that were rooting for my demise. It made me angry. Who was this kid to come into my place of work and try and get me fired? I started making a list of my own. The baby vet has a bad habit of saying racist and sexist things around the office. I’ve seen him overcharge clients that he knows are wealthy. I’ve seen him take drugs from the office and give it to friends for free. Worst of all, I’ve seen him miss key parts of an exam, misdiagnose animals and practice some sloppy medicine. I was building my case to take to my bosses to try and get HIM fired.

Then I saw the “When they go low, we go high” speech that Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic Convention. Her eloquent and noble message resonated with me, especially within the situation I found myself. I thought long and hard about it, and I tore up my “why baby vet sucks” list and decided to try a different approach.

When the baby vet first came to the clinic, he got us a good deal on a dental x-ray machine. He was supposed to be in charge of integrating it into our dental cleanings. We had never taken dental x-rays at the clinic, and everyone struggled with it, including baby vet. We couldn’t seem to get non-distorted films. So I took my downtime at work, and I started studying. I pulled out my textbooks from Penn Foster and started reading radiograph techniques. I watched youtube videos and read vet tech websites. I mastered that machine and began taking perfect dental x-rays. I remember showing Dr. S a set of x-rays I took once I really got the hang of it. Baby vet was awkwardly standing by staring at his phone, eavesdropping.

“Perfection,” Dr. S said. “I’d expect no less.”

Baby Vet’s face flushed red, and he stormed out of the room.

I was given the responsibility of training the rest of the staff on how to use the machine, and I still advise my co-workers on more difficult shots. I made a point of going to my bosses with a new list, a list of why I deserved a raise. But they didn’t even let me read it. They just gave me the money I wanted. I asked them if there was anything they wanted me to work on, any issues they had with the job I was doing. I was certain they’d bring something up, one of the complaints that I know had been made about me. But nothing. They simply told me that they are happy with the work I do and to keep it up. It was the easiest raise I’ve ever gotten.

I don’t know if baby vet still complains about me. He avoids me as much as possible which I’m fine with. He’s so young and new at his job that I’m not quite sure why he’s focused so much time on bringing others down instead of trying to improve himself. But I don’t have time to worry about that. He isn’t even on my radar.

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2 Responses to “The Baby Vet”

  1. caldivergirl July 11, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    Wonderful story of overcoming this type of activity that is too common in the workplace. Good for you.

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