When it comes to professional growth and making career changes in the field of veterinary medicine, it’s important to remember that you see your world—your work, your life—through your lens. Seasoned DVMs suggest you “adjust your perspective first, so you can see possibilities.” In other words, to see possibilities in your career or life, you must consciously change your lens. It sounds so easy, so why is it so hard?
We queried more than 2,500 veterinarians for our AVMA Trust 2022 Trend Report: U.S. Veterinarians’ Work-Life Experience, seeking insights from their life experience and advice they would share with colleagues who may be struggling with work/life balance and feeling stuck. The kind of “stuck” that doesn’t respond to unhelpful advice like change-your-inner-monologue, fake-it-until-you-make-it-or take-your-sad-song-and-make-it-better.
Instead, they identified and addressed roadblocks that could be keeping you from seeing new perspectives.
- Don’t try to change your perspective in isolation. Many veterinarians suggested bringing in another voice—a coach, another veterinarian, a professional in a different field, or a therapist. Bounce ideas around with someone who doesn’t have the same lens as you do. It’s hard to change your perspective in a room that isn’t changing. You may be surprised at the insights you hear. Similarly, if you see someone else struggling, offer to be their sounding board.
- Reduce your financial stress, which can cause a mental roadblock to seeing new perspectives, veterinarians said. Focus on reducing debt, living within your means, and even engaging a financial planner to help you see and navigate a life-long financial plan so you can see the big picture. Don’t let temporary financial stress cloud your lens to the point that you don’t allow yourself the freedom to see beyond it.
- Model healthy behaviors. Prioritize nutrition, sleep, and exercise, veterinarians insist. You can’t make important decisions when you are weighed down by stress and lack of sleep. “Make time for yourself” was a constant refrain among the respondents.
- Discover what gives you energy in the profession. What is happening on the days when you are positive and humming with energy? Slow down and think about it. Write it down. Focus on those interactions, picture yourself in a new situation, and give yourself permission to see.
The AVMA Trust 2022 Trend Report on U.S. Veterinarians’ Work-Life Experience is based on a national survey conducted in fall, 2021. N=2,553 Practicing Veterinarians. 95% confidence, ± 3% margin of error.