Lissarae06

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I have to say that I don't really agree with the article. I know I didn't get into vet med because it would be easy to have a family. I want kids right now but I am in vet school and have decided to wait until I graduate. Also, I want to work in a mixed practice. I fully anticipate putting in long hours. I will have a family eventually, but I don't think very many people go into this field because of the "low career cost to family" aspect. At least I didn't.
 

NittanyKitty

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I highly disagree that this career path is perfect for having a family. So, let's say you go immediately into vet school after undergrad. Four years of intensive schoolwork which you won't complete until age 26 - not really ideal baby-time. And you decide to follow that with an internship, which is supposedly hell-year - again, may not be good to decide on starting a family at that time. Residency? Put it off for another three years. You're now 30, and your career hasn't even really begun. At this point you only have five years to start having kids before it's considered a "geriatric pregnancy". Plus, if you're female and start vet school without a male SO...it's kind of slim pickings for a lot of us. And once you actually get into the workforce itself, the unpredictable and long hours in many aspects of the field are also not perfect for raising kids easily.

While I'm not planning on popping out my first during school, I've had this discussion with more than a few classmates. Yes, school is not the easiest or best place to decide to have a baby. But when is in this profession? During my internship where I am expected to work at least 60+ hour work-weeks? My residency, which includes long hours, teaching, and research responsibilities? When I'm just starting my career, learning the ropes, and maybe looking to become a business partner? I figure, it happens when it happens and you roll with it, because there really isn't a perfect time or place in this career.

I definitely want children, and knowing that I am in veterinary medicine as a career makes me more nervous about being able to juggle both rather than coming as a relief. The article claims that business careers are one of the least-conduicive ways to fit in both job and family. Again, I'd disagree. I've never been in a corporate career, but if you're able to land a job with a home-base and not tooooo much travel, the 9-5 schedule would be much more ideal for having children.
 

Coquette22

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I don't think the author has a leg to stand on here. Ms Shellenbarger seems to be ignoring that I think if you look at most male dominated fields, you will see a trend of more younger women, some middle aged women, and a few older women. It's got nothing to do with that particular career, and everything to do with the fact that society as a whole has been changing over the last 50 years.

I also think she's out of touch with the realities of vet medicine if she thinks it's a family-oriented career. It could be, if you manage to land a job with no on-call hours. At the very least, you're in a career that isn't totally compatible with being pregnant. Plus everything Nittany Kitty said.
 

katryn

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I don't think the article is entirely accurate; especially, I do not think that women pick this profession on the ground that they want to have families. This profession is not inherently easy on family time. If you look at the professional training, externships/internships/residencies, learning the ropes for the first few years, aiming for business partner(or business owner) if that's what floats your boat, etc there really is no "good" time to try having kids. That being said, I did find it a relief to talk to other women who had kids during vet school and made it work, and vets(male and female) who easily found jobs in practices working part time, or full hours over fewer than 5 days, so they had time to stay at home some. There may not be an inherent good time to have kids in this profession, but I do think this profession is more accepting and adjusted to people having families than some other careers.
 

SocialStigma

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I highly disagree with the article..going into vet med actually forces me to delay baby-making plans. By the time I'm done vet school, residency/internship, I'll be nearing 30. And I'd prefer not to have a baby while in school. Ideally I want to be married at 25-26, first kid at 28, second kid at 30-31.

If I had gone into nursing or something, that would be because I wanted to have babies early.
 

Nexx

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I highly disagree that this career path is perfect for having a family. So, let's say you go immediately into vet school after undergrad. Four years of intensive schoolwork which you won't complete until age 26 - not really ideal baby-time. And you decide to follow that with an internship, which is supposedly hell-year - again, may not be good to decide on starting a family at that time. Residency? Put it off for another three years. You're now 30, and your career hasn't even really begun. At this point you only have five years to start having kids before it's considered a "geriatric pregnancy". Plus, if you're female and start vet school without a male SO...it's kind of slim pickings for a lot of us. And once you actually get into the workforce itself, the unpredictable and long hours in many aspects of the field are also not perfect for raising kids easily.

While I'm not planning on popping out my first during school, I've had this discussion with more than a few classmates. Yes, school is not the easiest or best place to decide to have a baby. But when is in this profession? During my internship where I am expected to work at least 60+ hour work-weeks? My residency, which includes long hours, teaching, and research responsibilities? When I'm just starting my career, learning the ropes, and maybe looking to become a business partner? I figure, it happens when it happens and you roll with it, because there really isn't a perfect time or place in this career.

I definitely want children, and knowing that I am in veterinary medicine as a career makes me more nervous about being able to juggle both rather than coming as a relief. The article claims that business careers are one of the least-conduicive ways to fit in both job and family. Again, I'd disagree. I've never been in a corporate career, but if you're able to land a job with a home-base and not tooooo much travel, the 9-5 schedule would be much more ideal for having children.
But the majority of students don't graduate and move on to an internship and residency (granted this is changing a bit).

I think you may have also missed the point where women can work part time in vet med (i.e. have more of a family life) and not be penalized for it in terms of promotion, salary, and other benefits like you find happens in the corporate world.

There is no denying that vet can be (if you choose) to be more of a lifestyle career than other options. And within that, there are even further lifestyle jobs (dermatology, etc) which while they may require advanced study for a few years, you can make a really good salary with minimal 'hard' work.

I think they article has a lot of truth to it in that respect... don't know how many women are planning out their family life at 18-21 years of age enough to think of it for a career though. Maybe some non-trads however...

Then again, I'm not a girl :p so :shrug:
 

nyanko

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Non-trad 30-year old who doesn't want kids. Obviously not why I picked the profession. ;)

One of the big holes I can see poked in this is that a very large number of the pre-vets who go the traditional route have wanted to be a vet since they were a kid. Were they really considering those issues back then??
 

Coquette22

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There is no denying that vet can be (if you choose) to be more of a lifestyle career than other options. And within that, there are even further lifestyle jobs (dermatology, etc) which while they may require advanced study for a few years, you can make a really good salary with minimal 'hard' work.
Wouldn't this be true for a lot of careers, though? Except maybe business, like she points out, where it can be harder to leave and come back. If you choose, most jobs can be "lifestyle" jobs.

And she points to teaching, which I would disagree is not a "lifestyle" career choice. They work long hours and often bring work home with them. I don't ever want kids, but I think if I did want kids, one of the last things I'd want to be is a teacher.
 

sumstorm

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I think you may have also missed the point where women can work part time in vet med (i.e. have more of a family life) and not be penalized for it in terms of promotion, salary, and other benefits like you find happens in the corporate world.

I think they article has a lot of truth to it in that respect... don't know how many women are planning out their family life at 18-21 years of age enough to think of it for a career though. Maybe some non-trads however...
OK, so you'll have to explain the first one to me. Not working = decrease in experience = decrease in total lifetime income because, once again, we do NOT value the skills obtained in child rearing. Working less hours = decrease in pay. If you are working less hours, or aren't able to cover for others, or need to be covered, your not going to get the highest salary increases and likely won't be offered buy in options. Now, if you are an exceptional vet (ie really great with clients) you can make up for that. Some vets work totally on production and make over $100k a year, but you are also forgetting the other benefits. Name a vet practice in the US that offers paid maternity leave? How good are your vet med health care benefits? Maybe that isn't a big deal in a country with health care, but here it is pretty big. Big enough that every speaker we have had during our business selective has mentioned it as a huge issue that is having an indirect impact on the profession.

In the corporate world (my husband is a director in that world) his staff has 3 months paid maternity and paternity leave. Their fellow employees can 'donate' more time to help out if they want. They have top health care benefits and disability benefits including extended care for at risk pregnancies. They have on-site child care facilities, with an NP on staff for basic medical care (with a supervising doctor that stops by.) They have nursing rooms (we have one at our vet school, it is smaller than a bathroom stall.)

Now, I'm not saying vet med is horribly inflexible compared to other careers, but I think this is an extremly simplistic view that it is proactive, and at least in the US isn't comparable to ladder climbers in corporate America (50% of the directors in my husbands work are females and most have kids.)

There was study out recently about women in either vet school or med school that indicated the % increase in the profession was directly attributable to the % increase in attendance to undergrad college due to Title IX. That more women are attending and graduation undergrad, increasing the percentages of applications, while men are steadiy decreasing in attendance at both levels. It was interesting, because it contradicted all the suppositions about why attendance has changed. I read it in a trade journal, but I don't remember which one.
 

Bigcatlover

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Non-trad 30-year old who doesn't want kids. Obviously not why I picked the profession. ;)

One of the big holes I can see poked in this is that a very large number of the pre-vets who go the traditional route have wanted to be a vet since they were a kid. Were they really considering those issues back then??
I'm 25, pretty much wanted to be a vet my whole childhood (although I wasn't so sure throughout my undergrad) and I've never really wanted to have kids. So for me, this career choice certainly had nothing to do with family, just animals :)
 

that redhead

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When I was growing up (and by this I mean when I was like, 10), I didn't want to get married or have kids or anything. I wanted to drive around, day in and day out and work on sick ponies. Now that I'm 22 with a long-term boyfriend, I have different views of my future. I want to be married, and I'd like to have kids. While this hasn't caused me to doubt my choice of veterinary medicine, it has definitely caused me to consider one of my two intended career paths (lab animal versus equine) more favorably. Most lab animal vets have far more regular hours than equine vets and while the necessity to be available for emergencies/holidays/weekends/etc is there, it isn't necessarily out of the norm for any veterinarian. I doubt many vets have strict 9-5 hours but my boss does! The more I consider my career options within vet med, the more I lean toward one that has grown on me as I've experienced it AND affords better opportunities for family time, when the time comes.
 

karmapple

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A quote from the article:

"Goldin said that high-paying careers that offer more help in balancing work and family are the ones that end up luring the largest numbers of women."

In what universe is veterinary medicine considered a high-paying career? Certainly not if you compare it to the salaries of other careers with comparable education. Does this person have any idea how much money a veterinarian makes?

I think it is the opposite. It's not that women are attracted to vet med because it's family-friendly. It's that vet med has been forced to become more family-friendly than it used to be because of all the women entering the profession. And perhaps it isn't so much a excess of women in vet med, but really a lack of men. Perhaps because of the aforementioned low salary?

However, this idea that a woman can work part-time in vet med without any consequences.... well, that remains to be seen. There is so much to learn as a new grad, and the learning curve is steep. I find it hard to believe that it wouldn't count against me to be a new grad with less experience under my belt and making my place of employment less money.
 
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catscatscats

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I think I agree with some parts of this article/thread and not others. Perhaps veterinary medicine isn't so good for actually having babies (as in being pregnant, maternity leave, etc) but can be a good profession for having a family (spending time with kids, spouse, etc). One of the vets I work with has kids and works Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. It leaves her with flexibility in daycare, spending time with the kids, and spending time with her husband. If you are in a relationship where your partner makes enough money that you can afford to work less than 40 hours a week, it seems pretty easy to get a part-time job as a vet at a private practice. We have another vet who works only one day a week with us a 2 or 3 days a week at another clinic. Of course, if you can't afford to lose that pay, then vet med probably doesn't make it any easier than any other profession to have time off for family.
 

SocialStigma

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Non-trad 30-year old who doesn't want kids. Obviously not why I picked the profession. ;)

One of the big holes I can see poked in this is that a very large number of the pre-vets who go the traditional route have wanted to be a vet since they were a kid. Were they really considering those issues back then??
I've wanted to be a vet since I was 8 and back then I decided I'd be married by 18 and have kids by 20-21 - before I entered vet school LOL. I was trying to beat the system.
 

bbeventer

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I would like to know what "research" went into her findings. :rolleyes:
Maybe no one told her Wikipedia wasn't a source.
 

sunshinevet

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Non-trad 30-year old who doesn't want kids. Obviously not why I picked the profession. ;)

One of the big holes I can see poked in this is that a very large number of the pre-vets who go the traditional route have wanted to be a vet since they were a kid. Were they really considering those issues back then??

Fo shiz.

I'm 20 (nearly 21) and the family thing is a huge issue for me - mainly because im deadset on being a stay at home mum before my children are of preschool age. (Maybe you guys call it prep school? Ive no idea). I have been deadset on this idea since I was heaps younger, purely because I personally feel it is the best way to raise kids, and I wouldnt want to miss out on their childhood. After that, while they were in primary school (elementary school) I would want to work mostly school hours.


Three words.
Small Animal Surgeon.

I know some smallies surgeons who clock in and out on the dot every day. Because they are specialists, they get to designate their own time far more than almost any other vet I know. I mean, you will get the occasional surgery that doesnt go to plan and you're there longer, but hopefully that doesn't happen too often ;) (I've worked with several specialist surgeons who have been like this)

I know lots of people are all like, "omg how could you consider ruining your career to be a stay at home mum?' The simple fact is that if i had a choice, between being a vet, and being able to have kids, the latter wins hands down. For me, it is not an issue.
 

karmapple

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The simple fact is that if i had a choice, between being a vet, and being able to have kids, the latter wins hands down. For me, it is not an issue.
Well, good to know I'm not the only one. :) Upon saying something similar, I have received looks from my classmates that would lead you believe I was a ranting lunatic with three heads.

It's definitely a good thing that some of my colleagues have different priorities than I do. So many of them are willing to work crazy amounts and long hours, and someone has to do it. It just won't be me!
 

Mama070609

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As a mother who has had many conversations with other mothers and really looked at how other working mothers juggle everything, I can tell you that flexibility, or at least the potential for such, is a very high consideration for a lot of women. A quick glance at any issue of Working Mother will tell you that.

Veterinary medicine does offer that flexibility...appointments can be scheduled around your schedule...you can basically make your own schedule, unless, of course, your choices of workplaces are limited to those that don't allow you that flexibility. But many time you do have options. Being able to schedule in 30 minutes to get your child from school and to a practice when you don't have someone else who can do it that day is a God-send...or when your child is not extremely sick but is running a fever or simply not feeling well and can't be at school, and your practice allows you to bring them there (either because the boss says it's ok or you are the boss...). And being able to say "I don't want to see any appointments in the afternoon on this day because my child has a doctor appointment I have to take them to," is wonderful. (Of course, obviously you either have to find another doctor to stand in for you or your practice might take a hit in revenue, but of course that's understood...)

In the past, and still today with inflexible jobs/careers, mothers have had to give up a part of their children's lives in order to work. They were simply never able to volunteer in the classroom, go on fieldtrips, be with them after school, etc.. Women have been told not to worry about it...their child would be fine without that and daycare would take care of them just fine. But women haven't been ok with it. And now they're finding that they really can truly juggle home and work life, as long as work gives them the flexibility to do so. Of course, there are other much more flexible careers than veterinary medicine, so choosing this career just based upon the idea of flexibility alone is quite ridiculous. If you don't love it for what it is, you won't want to stay in it...and even those who do love it still get burned out sometimes.

Although I do enjoy the idea of flexibility for my family, I also understand that I and my family have to be flexible for this career. I hope to own a practice someday and be my own boss, and that means I'll be able to set my own hours and workplace rules. But if I wanted something truly and completely flexible, I would get into some other field.
 

Mama070609

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Wouldn't this be true for a lot of careers, though? Except maybe business, like she points out, where it can be harder to leave and come back. If you choose, most jobs can be "lifestyle" jobs.

And she points to teaching, which I would disagree is not a "lifestyle" career choice. They work long hours and often bring work home with them. I don't ever want kids, but I think if I did want kids, one of the last things I'd want to be is a teacher.
I really don't think that "a lot" of career paths can be so-called "lifestyle jobs/careers". Many are becoming this way, but traditionally have not been so. Most corporate jobs are not this way, however, there are many employers who are becoming more family-friendly, mother-friendly, and just generally more flexible. But it's taken the realization that their employees are less stressed, happier, and more productive when their work-life balance (to quote Working Mother magazine, which I'm obviously a big fan of) is better. Others have become that way as women, mothers themselves, gained promotion to positions of power and have changed the "rules" because they understand what their mother-employees are having to deal with.

Any career in which your day is scheduled around appointments you set the time for offers the greatest flexibility. It may not offer the best health care or retirement or maternity leave...but instead it may offer you things like the ability to bring your new born to work with you (of course, this requires an understanding and encouraging staff).

Teaching can be a "lifestyle career". In the United States, most teachers have the summer off. Of course, they work on lessons plans, etc., for the upcoming school year, but they get to be at home with their children on most days. They often get done with work when their child does. They might bring work home, but they are able to be at home and their children don't have to be in after-school care. To extend this discussion to academia at the college level, I know of professors who brought their babies to class with them on a daily basis. So it certainly can be a very flexible career choice. It also has the potential to not be.
 

Bigcatlover

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Just chiming in as another "same here!" :) People think I'm crazy and "why bother" working my butt off to get into vet school if this is my outlook... I never said I didn't WANT to have the best of both worlds, just that if I absolutely had to choose between the two, family trumps career.
:thumbup:

Best of luck to you ladies :)

I just figure those of us who do not want children of our own will just live vicariously through our friends with kids, so maybe we can all create new friendships in vet school :D
 

katryn

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:thumbup:

Best of luck to you ladies :)

I just figure those of us who do not want children of our own will just live vicariously through our friends with kids, so maybe we can all create new friendships in vet school :D
If only everyone felt this way, a classmate and I were discussing our plans for trying to have kids in vet school, and another classmate gave us this look like why did we even bother coming to school if all we were going to do was have babies(under the assumption that we would then drop out).
 

alliecat44

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Any career in which your day is scheduled around appointments you set the time for offers the greatest flexibility.
I think this is true in many fields--say, accounting--but not in veterinary medicine (and likely not in human medicine). If you're talking about being guaranteed to pick your son up from school and take him to soccer practice on time in the middle of the day, I'd say that's highly unlikely. When you have appointments at a vet clinic, you are depending on all of your clients throughout the day to show up on time (big IF) and having no unforeseen "sickies" throughout the day (an even bigger IF). You really don't know how long that vomiting dog appointment is going to take you--are you going to have to admit for in-house bloodwork, radiographs, IV fluids, etc? How many questions will they have? Will you have to phone referral practice X to arrange a transfer/referral? Or how long is Mrs. Smith going to ramble on about her other three cats at home and the two who died last year? Or how long is it going to take your techs to obtain those radiographs, give the vaccines, etc etc etc when they are working with another doctor (or several)? There are so many things that are outside of your control and unforeseeable that it really makes scheduling quickie errand running supremely difficult. :(
 

Coquette22

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Alliecat beat me to my reply, Mama. I think you're right in that vet med can be a "lifestyle" career, but I think that's the exception rather than the rule. I know few veterinarians who can always punch out when they want. Maybe specialities. But if you're just going into regular practice, you're going to have appointments that run over time, you're going to have surgeries that don't go as planned, you're going to have people come in just as you're about to leave and it's a rare vet in regular practice that doesn't have on-call hours. An accountant can tell someone "Sorry, you'll have to make an appointment." But is a vet going to turn away an emergency case because they came in as you were about to go home?

And when I say most careers, I'm primarily thinking of office jobs. I know anecdotes don't equal data, but I've known people who worked in municipal government and my mother worked in provincial government, and they were very flexible in terms of scheduling for families.
 

karmapple

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I absolutely believe Alliecat's response, and that is what I plan on, because it is what I have seen as a tech. But...

it's a rare vet in regular practice that doesn't have on-call hours.
I have worked in three different companion animal clinics, and I don't know a single GP vet that has on-call hours. Ever.

But is a vet going to turn away an emergency case because they came in as you were about to go home?
Yes. You make sure they are stable, then you send them to the ER clinic. No sense in paying everyone overtime for one patient. Plus if they need overnight care, you'll be sending them to the ER anyway. Note: I'm assuming you don't live a very rural area, so there is an Emergency Clinic nearby. I can't imagine living where there isn't one.

I fully don't expect vet med to be a career where if I'm scheduled to leave at six, I will actually leave at six on the dot. No way. I do expect it to be the kind of career where if I'm scheduled to have four days off a week, I actually get those days off. That's all I want!
 

Coquette22

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Note: I'm assuming you don't live a very rural area, so there is an Emergency Clinic nearby. I can't imagine living where there isn't one.
Ah, this is where your assumption is wrong. This is also why all the vets I've known have on-call hours. I'm rural (I'm city right now, because I'm at university, but when I'm home with my dad, I'm very rural). There is no emergency clinic. There nearest one is an hour and a half away.
 

karmapple

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Ah, this is where your assumption is wrong. This is also why all the vets I've known have on-call hours. I'm rural (I'm city right now, because I'm at university, but when I'm home with my dad, I'm very rural). There is no emergency clinic. There nearest one is an hour and a half away.
Yes, but your assumption was wrong that all or even most vets have on-call hours.
 

Coquette22

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So, we're both working from faulty assumptions. Still, my point applies to the article, which seems to treat vet med as a whole as too general a concept. As I said, vet med CAN certainly be a family friendly career, but I think there's too many specifics to draw the generalization that the author is trying to. If you have to qualify it with a bunch of assumptions, something stops being a generalization.
 
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david594

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Three words.
Small Animal Surgeon.

I know some smallies surgeons who clock in and out on the dot every day. Because they are specialists, they get to designate their own time far more than almost any other vet I know. I mean, you will get the occasional surgery that doesnt go to plan and you're there longer, but hopefully that doesn't happen too often ;) (I've worked with several specialist surgeons who have been like this)
I'm lost. So you want to go to veterinary school for 4 years, then do another 4-5 to become a boarded surgeon, only to then take of 4-5 years of school so you can stay at home with kids? Then go back to work part-time only doing mornings while the children are in school?

Boarded surgeons are really the only small animal vets I know of that regularly have on-call hours. Pretty much every speciality hospital will have a surgeon on-call 24 hours a day.
 

Bill59

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Having a family and a career is always hard. But one of the advantages of veterinary medicine is that it offers a lot of diverse options. Sure, if you're a solo mixed animal practitioner in a small town you're going to have long hours. But there are plenty of job opportunities in practice that have no call at all, including part time.

I know a lot of female veterinarians that have young children and successful careers. It's just a matter of priorities.
 

karmapple

OSU CVM c/o 2013
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Mar 26, 2007
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I'm lost. So you want to go to veterinary school for 4 years, then do another 4-5 to become a boarded surgeon, only to then take of 4-5 years of school so you can stay at home with kids? Then go back to work part-time only doing mornings while the children are in school?

Boarded surgeons are really the only small animal vets I know of that regularly have on-call hours. Pretty much every speciality hospital will have a surgeon on-call 24 hours a day.
I was wondering this as well. I've never known any boarded veterinary surgeons in private practice, so I wasn't going to say anything in case I'm wrong. All I know is that the surgeons at the veterinary teaching hospital here seem to have NO life. Seriously, it's like they never leave!
 

Chinola

UF 2015!
Nov 21, 2010
393
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Gainesville, FL
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I was wondering this as well. I've never known any boarded veterinary surgeons in private practice, so I wasn't going to say anything in case I'm wrong. All I know is that the surgeons at the veterinary teaching hospital here seem to have NO life. Seriously, it's like they never leave!
The board certified veterinary surgeons that I've worked with don't actually have a physical location. There are 2 vets in the practice, one owns the "practice" and the other works for her. They go to different veterinary hospitals in the area to perform the difficult and more technical surgeries (ie. cruciate repairs, really crazy tumors). They are on call in the sense that the vet from the practice they performed surgery at can call them if there's a problem and they technically would have to come back in an emergency. But in all of my time working at the private practice that used their services, I never saw either of them come back. I never asked either of them about their family lives but I would assume that they do have a much easier schedule that they can kind of make by themselves. They have their own technician that travels with them from practice to practice and depending on the amount of surgeries and consults for that day they either stay at one practice or work at two.
 

david594

The-OSU CVM c/o 2013
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I never asked either of them about their family lives but I would assume that they do have a much easier schedule that they can kind of make by themselves. They have their own technician that travels with them from practice to practice and depending on the amount of surgeries and consults for that day they either stay at one practice or work at two.
I would ask them about their family lives and relative free time before you make any assumptions.
 

Chinola

UF 2015!
Nov 21, 2010
393
1
Gainesville, FL
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Veterinary Student
I would ask them about their family lives and relative free time before you make any assumptions.
I don't work there anymore so I can't ask them. But I can say that they at least never work weekends. And they have a receptionist that works from her home that takes their calls and schedules their appointments. So even if their weekdays are crazy, they at least have weekends off.
 

luplodw

Mississippi c/o 2014!!
Jun 13, 2009
798
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Nashville, TN
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So I didn't read all of the responses, but i'll state my opinion.

I have wanted to be a vet my whole life. Having family time is not why I chose the profession, BUT I have considered the flexibility in veterinary medicine a HUGE plus. I do think that this may influence some women...especially those that are already thinking about having children or have had them already. Those of us who have wanted to be a vet all of our lives probably haven't thought about this all that much. I know that I thought about what i'd do if I didn't get into vet school, and I considered pharmacy school based solely on the fact of the flexibility and pay...not because I thought i'd enjoy it, so I DO think that this may be a factor for some people (but of course not all)
 

bunnity

Penn 2014
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So glad I have an SO that can't wait to be a stay at home dad right about now :D

ETA: That sounded like I meant like that would happen soon. Which it won't. I meant this conversation is making me glad he wants to be a stay at home dad.
 

that redhead

7+ Year Member
Feb 26, 2010
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Any career in which your day is scheduled around appointments you set the time for offers the greatest flexibility. It may not offer the best health care or retirement or maternity leave...but instead it may offer you things like the ability to bring your new born to work with you (of course, this requires an understanding and encouraging staff).
I hate to ask this because it comes across as rude (which I don't intend), but: have you ever worked at a busy small animal hospital or with any veterinarian who works off of appointments? Maybe you have in a non-traditional clinic, but as Alliecat mentions, there is very little predictability in an appointment-style clinic. People are late, people go over, some dogs may need more than you thought, people bring in emergencies or ADRs that weren't on the book that morning. Maybe one of your best techs gets sick or someone gets bitten or one of myriad other things that can throw a wrench into it all. You aren't going to drop your scapel in the middle of a spay gone wrong to take your son to soccer practice, just like you can't just dip out on Mrs. Smith with her crazy cat that suprisingly needs blood work or something else. In theory, appointments make life so easy because hey, you just block out a couple hours to go get Junior and shuttle him off to whatever. In practice, it is only smoothly running what, 1% of the time?

Perhaps you already know all of this; I don't mean to be patronizing! Just reiterating Alliecat's very valid point.
 

Mama070609

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Yep, I worked in a busy general practice animal hospital which kept patients overnight under the care of a Night Nurse. I definitely understand all that can 'go wrong' and make plans go completely awry. As an assistant, I needed to stay past my scheduled time often to help out in various circumstances. However, at the same time, I worked for a vet who was able to make and keep plans for shuttling her kids to practice, etc. Sometimes she had to go pick them up and drop them off at another parent's house. Sometimes another parent dropped them off at the hospital and she took them where they needed to go. But she also had other people whom she could call last minute when she was not able to follow through on plans, and this did occur. She was prepared. Other times, it was as simple as another kid's parent dropping her kids off at the hospital to wait on their dad to come and pick them up. She made them do their homework while they were there, etc.. Two of her kids started working in the kennel area when they got old enough. She was also part-owner of the practice. Her husband, who worked more predictable hours, did most of the running around with the kids. It also helped that there were other doctors in the practice who were able to help out when it was really needed. And most of our clients were really understanding, as they knew she had kids, and they really, genuinely, were good people. The rest of us on the staff pitched in to help get things done so that she was able to keep plans...so we worked together to make sure an appointment didn't run over if it didn't have to, etc.. And when she was away from the hospital, she was completely accessible via her cell phone. Our practice was a really close-knit, tight, and family-friendly one though. The practice manager and one of the techs were able to have their kids there when it was needed. There were areas in the back that were kid-friendly, just for those circumstances. Everyone on the staff kind of kept eyes on them as they went about their job. It was a really great working environment in that sense.

And I do have to point out that the majority of women going into the veterinary field are likely to end up in a more suburban or urban area, close to an emergency hospital. So the point that emergencies are sent to a emergency/over-night hospital is a valid one. There is a difference between working in a rural area where there are no close emergency hospitals and working where there is one.

My primary point is that the flexibility is possible. It may not always be the most convenient for clients, but those sort of choices are individual to the veterinarian/practice owner. We can talk about how you "should" approach things from this particular way or what way is the most "responsible" all we want, but when we get down to it, any time you're working for yourself, you get to choose. And if you're working for someone else, they get to choose whether you can choose. (This goes for seeing patients after-hours, seeing them if they're late, sending emergencies somewhere else, running out while the tech draws and runs the bloodwork that needs to be done on a sick patient, etc..)

Of course, I think it's highly probable that in most cases, a vet's focus is on his or her patients and clients, and they will almost always shape their day around them and whatever lateness/incidents/accidents/emergencies happen. And I have no doubts that I will be that sort of vet. I see myself, in the future, crawling out of bed at 3 am to go check on the mare who seems to be having a difficult labor or is collicing or who decided to escape the pasture and run in front of a vehicle...or any other emergency situation you can conjure up in your mind. Thus, given my husband's career choices, we will need a good live-in nanny who understands all this prior to starting. (On the other hand, though, I know that if something happened and I decided for some reason that I must have more stability, I have options in more densely-populated areas.)
 

lnlong

OK State c/o 2015!
Apr 19, 2010
18
0
Oklahoma
Status
Pre-Veterinary
To be completely honest, I find the whole idea insulting. Yes, I have girly bits - this does not mean I chose Vet Med because I love all the little fuzzy wuzzy things so much and can't wait to share them with my own horde of offspring. I'm 26, married, and have NO intention of having children. I'm non-trad, I got my undergrad, started a master's program, and then decided to change everything. If I get in this cycle, I'll graduate the summer before I turn 31. I'm not spending this much time working for this career so that I can put it on a shelf and say "Look I have letters behind my name! Let's have babies!!!"

I know what I'm trying to say is not really coming across well. I'm not trying to say that women who go into vet med and want to have families are bad people (because I'm not!). However, I do find it annoying that mothers (in general) assume that the rest of us totally want to work extra, or late, or come in early so they can pick up child X, or take child Y to the Doctor, or any other shenanigans. Yes, I chose (choose) to be childless - this does not mean I want to pick up the slack because someone else chose to have children -because the fact of the matter is, children demand one's time.
I've never been a fan of the whole "mommy track" thing. It frustrates me that my husband can't take time off during spring break, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas... Why? because all the Pharmacists with kids have to take off so they can keep their kids who are on vacation from school. It is the same reason why I am never able to leave work early (for a doctor's appointment, class review session, etc.) - the other Technician I work with has children and has to leave by 4 so she can me home shortly after they get off the bus.

So, I guess, what I'm trying to say is - if you want to be a DVM and have children - kudos to you. Just remember that every time you take off early to pick up a kid or rearrange the day to take your child to the doctor...you're screwing with other people's schedules too. Your tech, who may have a class, or a dinner date, now has to work late unexpectedly. Or, if you close for the day because you have a sick child - your hourly employees are losing hours, do this too often, and you may lose good employees who must work to make ends meet. If you work in a multi-doctor practice, one of your colleagues has to stick around to make sure things are covered. Be grateful when people agree to help you - but don't exploit their kindness.
 

Mama070609

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To be completely honest, I find the whole idea insulting. Yes, I have girly bits - this does not mean I chose Vet Med because I love all the little fuzzy wuzzy things so much and can't wait to share them with my own horde of offspring. I'm 26, married, and have NO intention of having children. I'm non-trad, I got my undergrad, started a master's program, and then decided to change everything. If I get in this cycle, I'll graduate the summer before I turn 31. I'm not spending this much time working for this career so that I can put it on a shelf and say "Look I have letters behind my name! Let's have babies!!!"

I know what I'm trying to say is not really coming across well. I'm not trying to say that women who go into vet med and want to have families are bad people (because I'm not!). However, I do find it annoying that mothers (in general) assume that the rest of us totally want to work extra, or late, or come in early so they can pick up child X, or take child Y to the Doctor, or any other shenanigans. Yes, I chose (choose) to be childless - this does not mean I want to pick up the slack because someone else chose to have children -because the fact of the matter is, children demand one's time.
I've never been a fan of the whole "mommy track" thing. It frustrates me that my husband can't take time off during spring break, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas... Why? because all the Pharmacists with kids have to take off so they can keep their kids who are on vacation from school. It is the same reason why I am never able to leave work early (for a doctor's appointment, class review session, etc.) - the other Technician I work with has children and has to leave by 4 so she can me home shortly after they get off the bus.

So, I guess, what I'm trying to say is - if you want to be a DVM and have children - kudos to you. Just remember that every time you take off early to pick up a kid or rearrange the day to take your child to the doctor...you're screwing with other people's schedules too. Your tech, who may have a class, or a dinner date, now has to work late unexpectedly. Or, if you close for the day because you have a sick child - your hourly employees are losing hours, do this too often, and you may lose good employees who must work to make ends meet. If you work in a multi-doctor practice, one of your colleagues has to stick around to make sure things are covered. Be grateful when people agree to help you - but don't exploit their kindness.
I don't think anyone assumes that another person wants to work harder in order to give a parent more flexibility. The parent obviously should try to work in a place that is friendly to this sort of flexibility. Obviously, you should probably avoid those places. ;) I don't expect other people to bend over backwards for me, but I do expect respect and understanding, even from those who do not have children. I know this is going to come across wrong, but from the sounds of your post, without any additional information about you, it almost sounds like you have a vendetta against parents. Maybe you've had some really bad experiences with parents who did expect the whole world to bend over backwards for them? I don't know.

A well-prepared working parent always has a plan and a backup plan. So when a doctor appointment is scheduled for one of your children, you know that you either already have that time off or that there is someone else who has already agreed to cover for you. There will certainly be emergencies...they always come up with kids. Your child breaks a bone on the playground at school...your baby at daycare spikes a scary-high fever...the school calls and says Johnny is throwing up and all three other people you have given the school permission to allow them to pick him up are unable to do so at that time...your babysitter locked herself and the children out of the house, or they got into a car accident on the way to practice...there is a whole slew of emergency situations that could occur. And, I believe, it's only respectful of other people to understand that the parent doesn't choose for these to happen, nor do they want them to. Not only is it inconvenient, but it is a potentially really bad situation, and the parent has to leave work, thus losing out on income.

Of course, I'm all about flexibility, LOL. Being a Marine wife means I live the motto "Semper Gumby". So when plans are changed last minute, I just roll with it. It might be stressful, and I don't always make the change in good spirits...but I do it because it must be done. I let that rule my life, whether at home or at work. Obviously, there are some things that I just can't do and that's that. But, in general, you just deal with it.

I'd like to point out that your husband not being able to get time off over spring break is no different from any other time or any other field. In some places, people can't get time off around the holidays because they have less seniority than their co-workers. Or maybe a person can't take time off in late summer because others who have been working there longer than them or who are higher on the ladder always take vacations during that time. Of course, on the other side of things, those same parents can't really take their vacation while their kids are going to school. I mean, I guess they could...there are parents out there who take their kids out of school for a week of family vacation, but it's really not ideal.

There are always two sides to a coin.

And other side of the 'don't exploit their kindness' coin is that if you feel like you are being taken advantage of, you need to speak up and say something respectfully and professionally. If you don't say anything, they may never know that you feel this way.
 

Mama070609

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I do want to add, however, that I agree with you on your first paragraph. As much as I love my children, and could never see myself not having children, I think it's insulting that people assume that being a female means you want kids and that marriage must equal procreation. So it should never be assumed that all women look to get into a certain field of any sort for the purpose of flexibility for procreation and raising children.

Maybe I need to go back and read this particular piece again, but I didn't get the initial impression they were making the assumption that all women did this...just that this was an aspect of veterinary medicine that some women found to be a positive because of their desire for children or because they already have children.
 

lnlong

OK State c/o 2015!
Apr 19, 2010
18
0
Oklahoma
Status
Pre-Veterinary
In response, yeah, I have interacted with several parents who expected everyone else to bend over backwards for them, it didn't help that they held the idea that they were saintly solely because they were parents.... So, yes, my experiences have shaped my opinions. I know there are good, professional, responsible, etc. parents out there who believe they made the best choice for themselves and are doing the best they can with what they have - the bad ones just stick around longer in the mind than the good ones.

That being said - I have no desire to start any flame throwing battles, so I will gladly extend the olive branch to anyone I might have offended. As women aspiring to a professional career, we should be working to stick together, despite any differences we may have, because if you're like me - you're the first person in your family to earn a college degree, and you're the first person in your family who will earn the it's-so-awesome-I can't-wait-till-that-day-comes title of "Doctor."

There's something (magical, intriguing, challenging, fun, etc.) in this career path that we all found and attached ourselves too - and I think my problem with this article at the very core is that there are as many reasons to become a Veterinarian as there are people who want to become Veterinarians. Reducing a trend to an overarching (simple) explanation seems to... I dunno... cheapen all of our drive, determination, experiences, and desire... It just makes me feel poopy... :(
 
Sep 30, 2010
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To be completely honest, I find the whole idea insulting. Yes, I have girly bits - this does not mean I chose Vet Med because I love all the little fuzzy wuzzy things so much and can't wait to share them with my own horde of offspring. I'm 26, married, and have NO intention of having children. I'm non-trad, I got my undergrad, started a master's program, and then decided to change everything. If I get in this cycle, I'll graduate the summer before I turn 31. I'm not spending this much time working for this career so that I can put it on a shelf and say "Look I have letters behind my name! Let's have babies!!!"

I know what I'm trying to say is not really coming across well. I'm not trying to say that women who go into vet med and want to have families are bad people (because I'm not!). However, I do find it annoying that mothers (in general) assume that the rest of us totally want to work extra, or late, or come in early so they can pick up child X, or take child Y to the Doctor, or any other shenanigans. Yes, I chose (choose) to be childless - this does not mean I want to pick up the slack because someone else chose to have children -because the fact of the matter is, children demand one's time.
I've never been a fan of the whole "mommy track" thing. It frustrates me that my husband can't take time off during spring break, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas... Why? because all the Pharmacists with kids have to take off so they can keep their kids who are on vacation from school. It is the same reason why I am never able to leave work early (for a doctor's appointment, class review session, etc.) - the other Technician I work with has children and has to leave by 4 so she can me home shortly after they get off the bus.

So, I guess, what I'm trying to say is - if you want to be a DVM and have children - kudos to you. Just remember that every time you take off early to pick up a kid or rearrange the day to take your child to the doctor...you're screwing with other people's schedules too. Your tech, who may have a class, or a dinner date, now has to work late unexpectedly. Or, if you close for the day because you have a sick child - your hourly employees are losing hours, do this too often, and you may lose good employees who must work to make ends meet. If you work in a multi-doctor practice, one of your colleagues has to stick around to make sure things are covered. Be grateful when people agree to help you - but don't exploit their kindness.
Wow, so basically you think people should choose a career OR a family? I don't know if you have noticed, but we live in a very expensive society and it isn't really possible for working class people to have one working parent and one stay at home without sacrifices. When you are the head DVM, you can choose not to work when you don't want to, if it is your practice. I'm guessing that your husband is probably not the head pharmacist where he works either. Even if the others did not have children, they would not work when they didn't want to because they have seniority.

Good for you, that you have thought about and decided that you don't want to have children. If that is what you want, it is probably best. But other people's decision to have children or not, is their decision. Not yours. To imply that they shouldn't for your convenience is selfish of you.
 

nyanko

total trash mammal
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Sep 8, 2006
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Good for you, that you have thought about and decided that you don't want to have children. If that is what you want, it is probably best. But other people's decision to have children or not, is their decision. Not yours. To imply that they shouldn't for your convenience is selfish of you.
Don't think she was trying to dictate that others should or shouldn't have children, just that they shouldn't get preferential treatment if they choose to do so...

For the record, it often has nothing to do with seniority when parents get preferential treatment in the workplace as far as choice of days off, or having to take emergency leave.

And I certainly wouldn't want to work for a veterinarian or other employer who had the attitude that because he/she is in charge it's okay for him/her to force me to stay extra time or leave extra appointments with me or whatever just because their kid's ride home from soccer bailed on them. That's BS, sorry...
 

Tator17

Purdue c/o 2015
Dec 8, 2010
141
1
Indiana
Status
Veterinary Student
To be completely honest, I find the whole idea insulting. Yes, I have girly bits - this does not mean I chose Vet Med because I love all the little fuzzy wuzzy things so much and can't wait to share them with my own horde of offspring. I'm 26, married, and have NO intention of having children. I'm non-trad, I got my undergrad, started a master's program, and then decided to change everything. If I get in this cycle, I'll graduate the summer before I turn 31. I'm not spending this much time working for this career so that I can put it on a shelf and say "Look I have letters behind my name! Let's have babies!!!"

I know what I'm trying to say is not really coming across well. I'm not trying to say that women who go into vet med and want to have families are bad people (because I'm not!). However, I do find it annoying that mothers (in general) assume that the rest of us totally want to work extra, or late, or come in early so they can pick up child X, or take child Y to the Doctor, or any other shenanigans. Yes, I chose (choose) to be childless - this does not mean I want to pick up the slack because someone else chose to have children -because the fact of the matter is, children demand one's time.
I've never been a fan of the whole "mommy track" thing. It frustrates me that my husband can't take time off during spring break, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas... Why? because all the Pharmacists with kids have to take off so they can keep their kids who are on vacation from school. It is the same reason why I am never able to leave work early (for a doctor's appointment, class review session, etc.) - the other Technician I work with has children and has to leave by 4 so she can me home shortly after they get off the bus.

So, I guess, what I'm trying to say is - if you want to be a DVM and have children - kudos to you. Just remember that every time you take off early to pick up a kid or rearrange the day to take your child to the doctor...you're screwing with other people's schedules too. Your tech, who may have a class, or a dinner date, now has to work late unexpectedly. Or, if you close for the day because you have a sick child - your hourly employees are losing hours, do this too often, and you may lose good employees who must work to make ends meet. If you work in a multi-doctor practice, one of your colleagues has to stick around to make sure things are covered. Be grateful when people agree to help you - but don't exploit their kindness.
This is a fantastic post. Absolutely fantastic. Well said.

And I saw that it was suggested that the childless speak up professionally about how they are feeling when unable to take holidays off etc., but in reality, how does that make someone look/feel? I think it takes an EXCEPTIONAL boss to make this system work well. I would love to take the week between Christmas and New Years off, but if there are two employees, and both save their vacation, and one has children... it just makes me the terrible person if I insist we take turns taking that week off. After all, I only have a boyfriend and a dog. Who am I to keep a parent from his/her children at Christmas?

So I'm relieved that my boss intervenes and makes us take turns. That's the reality of the situation.

And I'm not saying it's my co-worker's fault for choosing to have children, or that it's my fault for being reluctant to speak up and be the bad guy. That's just the reality of the situation. The needs of the parents (because of their children) will always be ranked above the needs of the childless by society and by the parents themselves.