TotesMahGoats

UTK class of 2020
Aug 18, 2015
137
181
NJ
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Hey guys. Long time lurker, brand new poster. I am a first time applicant this year, and have some issues that I really need some advice on.

At the place I work at, the environment is not only toxic, but abusive as well. Employee turnover is unreal, and I didn't really realize how bad it was until two years in (didn't work much full time until then). I was afraid to leave as the advice given to me was, 'if you don't get a LOR from this vet after working there for 2 years, it will look bad on your part.' I literally shake in the car, and other employees have other physical/nervous reactions to just driving in to work. Illegal things go on here, but I'm not sure what to do.

The relationship I have with my boss is okay, as I just take the abuse with a smile so she doesn't hate me. She is writing me a letter, but after that I have plenty of school to focus on and would like to give my 2 weeks and leave after my application is submitted, but the owner is very vindictive and gives terrible reviews for anyone who quits because she takes it personal (I've heard her giving several over the phone that were awful for employees that just wouldn't stand for the abuse).

So--what do I do? Do I deny VMCAS and the schools permission to contact her, or does that look bad? Do I give them permission, and hope they won't contact her? There is another vet there that I only work with occasionally, but if I ask she may write me a letter. Is there a way to delete a request once you make it?

I have worked so hard for all of this, and have taken so much crap from this place, and now I am terrified it will hurt me. I know now I should have left a long time ago, but hindsight is 20/20, am I right?

I just need a game plan to deal with the next couple of weeks so I don't do anything that will negate the years of hard work I've put in. I am not a person who ever cries or gets angry, but today I had to go to my car and had a physical meltdown because of that place. I don't want a bitter person to be the reason I do not get into vet school.

Stories? Advice? Hugs?
 

pinkpuppy9

Illinois c/o 2019
5+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2013
5,583
3,887
Status
Veterinarian
Hey guys. Long time lurker, brand new poster. I am a first time applicant this year, and have some issues that I really need some advice on.

At the place I work at, the environment is not only toxic, but abusive as well. Employee turnover is unreal, and I didn't really realize how bad it was until two years in (didn't work much full time until then). I was afraid to leave as the advice given to me was, 'if you don't get a LOR from this vet after working there for 2 years, it will look bad on your part.' I literally shake in the car, and other employees have other physical/nervous reactions to just driving in to work. Illegal things go on here, but I'm not sure what to do.

The relationship I have with my boss is okay, as I just take the abuse with a smile so she doesn't hate me. She is writing me a letter, but after that I have plenty of school to focus on and would like to give my 2 weeks and leave after my application is submitted, but the owner is very vindictive and gives terrible reviews for anyone who quits because she takes it personal (I've heard her giving several over the phone that were awful for employees that just wouldn't stand for the abuse).

So--what do I do? Do I deny VMCAS and the schools permission to contact her, or does that look bad? Do I give them permission, and hope they won't contact her? There is another vet there that I only work with occasionally, but if I ask she may write me a letter. Is there a way to delete a request once you make it?

I have worked so hard for all of this, and have taken so much crap from this place, and now I am terrified it will hurt me. I know now I should have left a long time ago, but hindsight is 20/20, am I right?

I just need a game plan to deal with the next couple of weeks so I don't do anything that will negate the years of hard work I've put in. I am not a person who ever cries or gets angry, but today I had to go to my car and had a physical meltdown because of that place. I don't want a bitter person to be the reason I do not get into vet school.

Stories? Advice? Hugs?
Leave the job. I was literally just in your shoes. Leave. I just got out of a clinic where employees cried regularly, the practice manager was a modern day Napoleon, and it was just a complete sh*thole. If there are illegal things going on, you should leave and potentially report those things.

Does VMCAS give you a yes/no option for contact this year? I mean for all they know, she might not want to be contacted because she is super busy. You could always leave her phone number off your application, too.

When I applied, you could delete a request up until the point that the evaluator began the evaluation process, but a lot of things have changed since then.

My advice is to really just get out of there. I hit my breaking point when I watched my boss kick a dog several times because it was being difficult. Everyone has their breaking points, and it sounds like you've just about reached yours. Staying any longer will just be bad for your health and happiness. HUGS!!!
 

LuckySpartan

2+ Year Member
May 17, 2015
200
98
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I think the most important thing here is.. from what you are saying she may not write you a positve LOR and/or may not be a good person to have as a contact. If that is the case and you have other options, think of a polite way to decline her LOR. (I must say it is a little late in the game and if she already wrote it... She isn't going to be very happy.)

Either way, you need to focus on your application and if there is a chance that she could hinder your acceptance, you need to cut ties.
 

Minnerbelle

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2009
5,262
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Veterinary Student
If you think your boss may give you a bad eval, then cancel it (should be an option no?) and have the other vet write it.

I had burned two bridges with two of the major experiences I had prior to vet school. Like it was baaaad. Similar to your situation, I was a good worker but the boss was bad (bad outcomes for the animals). I got letters from other people who could attest to my good character for those experiences. I was honest during my interviews about why I had burned bridges with both places, and I was accepted at all schools I interviewed at. As long as you can come out of it still looking good, you aren't screwed.
 

thecatastrophist

Illinois c/o 2019
Oct 16, 2014
219
94
Status
Veterinary Student
I believe that you can delete requests for letters before your recommender begins the process. Honestly, if I were you I'd ask this other vet that you know quickly so that if she says yes, you can delete the other vet. I mean, it's completely up to you, but I wouldn't want a boss who creates that sort of environment to write me a letter if I could avoid it, especially if she's vindictive (how do I know that she won't write about every little thing I did that annoyed her, giving schools the wrong impression about me?). It seems the general consensus is that you should select your ELOR writers only if you know they'll write you a positive recommendation.

I can't say what schools will think if you deny permission to contact that clinic, but I don't know if it will matter unless you're applying to a school like UGA (I don't know of any other schools that do it) that actually calls the vets you work with. I think it's perfectly fair to ask for them not to contact them. Most schools will use your ELOR's anyway. I'd double check that your school doesn't need to contact them for their admissions process first though.

The 'you must get an ELOR from this vet after working here for two years' advice sounds like BS to me. I mean, I came in with clinical hours on the lower end of the spectrum, but ELORs are such a personal decision. I don't think it's right for somebody to tell you that forcing yourself to ask for a potentially unfavorable recommendation is necessary.

Serious life advice here though: I know people work through bad situations sometimes, but it sounds like this place is emotionally unhealthy for you to continue working at it. You shouldn't go through a job shaking in the car to work, nor should you panic because you're worried about how a reference (that it sounds like you felt obligated to ask) might deny you your chance at vet school. If at all possible, I'd shoot out applications and find a job elsewhere. You shouldn't have to take that sort of abuse out of fear that she'll come back to haunt you down the road. So much more determines your admittance to vet school than one bad boss.
 
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TotesMahGoats

TotesMahGoats

UTK class of 2020
Aug 18, 2015
137
181
NJ
Status
Pre-Veterinary
First off, thanks for everyones replies. It helps to know others have been where I am, and still made it!

To answer some questions, yes VMCAS says I have the right to decline schools from contacting this person, so that is an option, I just thought it might look bad. Maybe this is the easiest, best option?

I think she will write me a good letter (critical, but good) because she usually does the right thing, but I am always nervous because she has always felt threatened by me (?? I'm a child compared to her?), so our relationship is odd. I have always bailed her out when people quit/disappear/get sick/everyone says screw you, so she knows I am a good worker (I am the senior tech there because everyone else quits...) so I should get a good letter, but I am mainly afraid about someone contacting her AFTER I leave. It does not help that the vet's SO does not like me with a passion (again, long, abusive story), so I feel like when I leave SO will poison the vet's image of me enough for her to give me a bad eval if someone called. This is something I have watched over my time there, so it is not as far-fetched as it sounds.

The sh!t hit the literal fan this week (more people quitting, not enough employees to cover the shifts...again), and I had asked for the letter before all of this nightmare crap happened. She hasn't written it yet, but I thought hers might be better than the other, lesser-known vet, as the other vet's LOR would be nice, but impersonal. I have other outstanding letters to overshadow that, so maybe that is the better option. If you're curious and think it would help the decision process, my other letters are as follows: Research coordinator from a summer REU program, LA vet who has known me for 11 years and has pushed me to go to school until I 'caved in', and Department chair of biology who has given fantastic letters previously to get into said REU program. I just thought that an impersonal letter from someone I've worked with for 4+ years would look fishy.

I do have another place to go to work (another vet I shadowed has gotten her clinic together and is ready to hire me! Yes!) so leaving is definitely in the books, I'm just unsure which option is best. Impersonal letter that is nice? I DO know if they contacted the nice vet, she would give me a glowing recommendation just because its in her personality to help me. Impersonal, but nice.

Sorry for all of this, and thanks for reading through. When I got the offer from my shadow vet I almost cried, I was so relieved. The place is awful, I can't believe I felt like I HAD to stay there for so long. (Clearly, I should have talked to ya'll sooner!) Knowing I will be free soon has made me feel so relieved!

Thank you so much already, everyone!
 
Jan 18, 2006
16,875
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Oh good god. Get out of there and don't look back. Please, don't let this person potentially ruin **** behind your back

As someone who spent the last few years in one of the most toxic environments on the planet....do NOT stand for this. They are not gods, they are not your parents. They are sad, insecure adults who get off on putting people down. Do NOT continue to be intimidated. You ARE worth something and don't forget that. There is nothing honorable about being treated like ****.
 

Gwenevre

Pre-Nursing
5+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2014
5,583
5,994
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If you already have a vet letter from your LA vet that convinced you to apply, why do you need a letter from your boss? You've already fulfilled the minimum letter requirements. So leave and don't look back. You're mental state will thank you.
 
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dyachei

vet robot pirate zombie
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Mar 9, 2007
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It won't look bad. I promise if it does it will still be better long term for you to get out.

If that vet is in the same state as the school you want to apply to, they may even have a poor reputation with the school.
 

pinkpuppy9

Illinois c/o 2019
5+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2013
5,583
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It won't look bad. I promise if it does it will still be better long term for you to get out.

If that vet is in the same state as the school you want to apply to, they may even have a poor reputation with the school.
Also a very good point. Most schools seem to invite local vets/alumni to help with interviews and the like. Don't ever think that they don't know the majority of other vets in the area. Vet med is quite a small profession.
 

thecatastrophist

Illinois c/o 2019
Oct 16, 2014
219
94
Status
Veterinary Student
Look, if you're nervous then trust your gut, even if she usually does the right thing. Schools won't think it looks bad to not have a letter from her. It's seriously such a personal choice as to who writes your letters. If it's really so much of a problem, then they'll ask you about it at interviews and you can be honest. They won't just make assumptions.

That LA vet letter sounds awesome! If she's writing you a letter, there really isn't a need to have a second letter from a vet. You could just delete the request entirely, since I'm pretty sure most schools require only one vet reference.

But if you really need that second recommendation, I'd take it from the other vet. The way I see it, a glowing recommendation is better than somebody who may not have your back 100%. Remember, these letters are going to be a way for schools to "know" you as a person. If your boss is really critical of you, but likes you overall, that may come across differently on paper. That LA vet already sounds like she can provide an awesome assessment in her own, with how long she's known you. Given that she encouraged you to choose this career, you know she believes you're capable and wants you to succeed. That's the sort of thing you want to be sure of with recommendations.
 

pinkpuppy9

Illinois c/o 2019
5+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2013
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Also, you can't treat people like **** and "usually do the right thing." It's called being manipulative. My old boss did the same thing-treated people horrendously, then would send out text messages at the end of the night saying how appreciative she was of our hard work and how she knows we're stressed. You don't get to be a huge b*tch and then try to be nice to get people to stick around once you realize you've pushed someone too far.
 
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TotesMahGoats

TotesMahGoats

UTK class of 2020
Aug 18, 2015
137
181
NJ
Status
Pre-Veterinary
whtsThFrequency,
Thank you! :)
Some of the illegal stuff is hard to prove, but it doesn't mean I haven't seen it happen again and again. I'm literally afraid to type any identifying details in case vet's SO stumbles across this and somehow ruins things for me. (This is the same person who went around telling everyone I would never be a doctor, never get into school, etc.).

Gwenevre,

I thought that after working with a vet for 4+ years, it would make ME look bad to not get a letter from "the vet that knows me best". But you are so right.

Dyachei, pinkpuppy9,

Unfortunately my state has no school, although all my boss does is put other vets down in the area and say how much better she is. She has no friends, here.

Also, pinkpuppy9, I so needed to hear that. As much as my boss "hates to lie," as she puts it, I've seen her do it time and time again to benefit her, so I really should know better. We don't even get 'thank yous', so why would I think she would write me a good letter?

thecatastrophist,

Thank you! I agree, and will be asking the other vet. If she doesn't have time, I will still be okay with the LA recommendation.


Thank you so much, everyone, for giving me the strength to protect myself. I deleted the letter recommendation for my boss today, and feel so relaxed--she can no longer use the letter and her recommendation to control me. I can leave when I need to, and don't have to put up with one more ounce of the craziness.

I only wish I would have done it sooner! Being a non-traditional student made it hard to leave without having a job lined up, so I tried to ignore the drama and tough it out. No more--I am worth more than this sh!t!
 
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TotesMahGoats

TotesMahGoats

UTK class of 2020
Aug 18, 2015
137
181
NJ
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I have one lined up already, with better hours and same pay, with people who love and respect me. What a fool I was for waiting so long to take the plunge!
 

Minnerbelle

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2009
5,262
3,063
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Veterinary Student
My new philosophy in life is to gtfo asap if your employer is abusive, because you're not doing anyone any favors. You're just empowering and enabling them by sticking around. Learned this the hard way.

Especially as an hourly employee who gets no share of profits, it is soooo not your responsibility to keep the business afloat or to take the abuse hoping that you can somehow change management.
 
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TotesMahGoats

TotesMahGoats

UTK class of 2020
Aug 18, 2015
137
181
NJ
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Just wanted to say thank you again to everyone, and give a quick update. The second vet at the practice is more than willing to write my letter, so I have that sorted, and my LA vet is ready to put me to good use when my two weeks finish at this crazy place.

To anyone else in my position, please do what I did and ask for advice! Things always settled after the craziness at work and I kept telling myself I could help fix things and make it better... and I never could. I can be a proud person and it was hard for me to walk away from a situation like this, and I am often the voice for the techs, but I realized like minnerbelle stated, it is not my job to keep that place afloat. I hope my fellow employees can also escape (I feel like I'm leaving men behind!!!).

Thanks again everyone! :D ya'll rock!
 

pinkpuppy9

Illinois c/o 2019
5+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2013
5,583
3,887
Status
Veterinarian
Just wanted to say thank you again to everyone, and give a quick update. The second vet at the practice is more than willing to write my letter, so I have that sorted, and my LA vet is ready to put me to good use when my two weeks finish at this crazy place.

To anyone else in my position, please do what I did and ask for advice! Things always settled after the craziness at work and I kept telling myself I could help fix things and make it better... and I never could. I can be a proud person and it was hard for me to walk away from a situation like this, and I am often the voice for the techs, but I realized like minnerbelle stated, it is not my job to keep that place afloat. I hope my fellow employees can also escape (I feel like I'm leaving men behind!!!).

Thanks again everyone! :D ya'll rock!
At least you listened. I asked for similar advice a few months ago and still stuck around at my job :p
 
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LyraGardenia

Kansas State c/o 2020
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Dec 9, 2013
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I was afraid to leave as the advice given to me was, 'if you don't get a LOR from this vet after working there for 2 years, it will look bad on your part.'
Out of curiosity, has anyone ever had a school question why you didn't have a LOR from a specific person/experience, or state that it was a red flag that you didn't? I can understand feeling like you NEED a letter from the experience that's the bulk of your hours, but I'm not sure if that's a recommendation from schools, or just nervous pre-vet speculation. If you've got three glowing LORs from people who also know you well, I wouldn't think schools would be concerned as to why you didn't also get a letter from so-and-so.
 

WildZoo

Illegal in all 50, Unlynchable Wolf
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Apr 18, 2013
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Out of curiosity, has anyone ever had a school question why you didn't have a LOR from a specific person/experience, or state that it was a red flag that you didn't? I can understand feeling like you NEED a letter from the experience that's the bulk of your hours, but I'm not sure if that's a recommendation from schools, or just nervous pre-vet speculation. If you've got three glowing LORs from people who also know you well, I wouldn't think schools would be concerned as to why you didn't also get a letter from so-and-so.
I got the majority of my hours during the summer when I was applying because it was the first chance I had to work full time, and I didn't get letters from either of the vets at that practice because I already had my evaluators chosen before I started working there (people who had known me for a year or more). It was never mentioned to me as a red flag or anything.
 

PreVetMed

Class of 2021!
2+ Year Member
Oct 19, 2014
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I've been in a similar situation, and it's awful. Just make sure you stay on good terms with the vet that you chose not to write your letter. Just in case she contacts the schools or knows anyone there. Yes, seriously like someone said above, ver med is a very small profession and everyone knows everyone. Good luck!
 
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