vetsquared

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Hi everyone, I was hoping you guys could help me! I am in the very fortunate position of getting to decide between two veterinary assistant jobs and I really don’t know which one I should take. I am also in a time crunch because my offer from the first clinic is only good through tomorrow! What would you do?

Option 1: Small animal emergency
Pros:
-Better pay
-Better hours (swing shift)
-Better benefits, including CE

Cons:
-99% of my veterinary experience is small animal, including ER
-Longer commute
-Stress

Option 2: Exotics-only practice
Pros:
-I desperately need veterinary experience outside small animals. I have thousands of small animal hours, like ~50 equine, and that’s it
-Seems less stressful
-Shorter commute

Cons:
-They want me to work overnights, and I’m worried I wouldn’t be able to handle doing that and being in school during the day (my classes are held synchronously online)
-Lower pay
 

WildZoo

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How often would you be working overnights with the exotics job, and what would the shifts be like? If it's only occasional overnights and you could schedule it in such a way where you could recover the next day, that might be more reasonable with school than if it was going to be more frequent, or if you had to work overnight and then go to class the next day.

I'd say getting that additional type of experience would look better but if it's going to damage your academics it's not worth it.
 
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SkiOtter

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If you can’t schedule it where you can have recover days like Dubz was saying, are you able to shadow at the exotics practice occasionally (even if it’s just a couple hours once a month) and then take the higher pay job that would work better with school? I know things are harder because of COVID, but if you do turn down the exotics job I’d still tell them that you are very interested in learning more about that area of veterinary medicine, but the overnights don’t work with your class schedule but you were hoping they’d allow you to come and shadow a bit.
 
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battie

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if it's going to damage your academics

This. While more and more schools are becoming "holistic", grades are still a significant part of that evaluation. Not for nothing, having the better grades is hedging your bets better than having the more diverse hours.
 
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vetsquared

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How often would you be working overnights with the exotics job, and what would the shifts be like? If it's only occasional overnights and you could schedule it in such a way where you could recover the next day, that might be more reasonable with school than if it was going to be more frequent, or if you had to work overnight and then go to class the next day.

I'd say getting that additional type of experience would look better but if it's going to damage your academics it's not worth it.
Thank you for your response! They're looking for someone who can consistently work overnights, either four 10's or five 8's. I suppose it's worth at least asking if I could work out a hybrid-type schedule working overnights if I don't have class the next day and swing shifts if I do. The worst they can say is no.

Your second point is exactly my dilemma... I really, really need the experience and if I wasn't in school it wouldn't be a question of which job I take. I just worry about it affecting my grades, but there isn't really a way to know for sure without doing it I guess.
 

vetsquared

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If you can’t schedule it where you can have recover days like Dubz was saying, are you able to shadow at the exotics practice occasionally (even if it’s just a couple hours once a month) and then take the higher pay job that would work better with school? I know things are harder because of COVID, but if you do turn down the exotics job I’d still tell them that you are very interested in learning more about that area of veterinary medicine, but the overnights don’t work with your class schedule but you were hoping they’d allow you to come and shadow a bit.
Thank you so much for your response! Based on the feedback from you guys, I think I'm going to try and propose a combination overnight and swing schedule to them, but if that doesn't work I will definitely ask about shadowing. You are completely right that not taking the job doesn't mean I can't still get experience! And at this point I will take whatever I can get to diversify my hours!
 
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WildZoo

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Thank you for your response! They're looking for someone who can consistently work overnights, either four 10's or five 8's. I suppose it's worth at least asking if I could work out a hybrid-type schedule working overnights if I don't have class the next day and swing shifts if I do. The worst they can say is no.

Your second point is exactly my dilemma... I really, really need the experience and if I wasn't in school it wouldn't be a question of which job I take. I just worry about it affecting my grades, but there isn't really a way to know for sure without doing it I guess.
I guess look at it this way
Job 1 probably isn't going to affect your application either way. When you already have a ton of hours in one area, there are diminishing returns on the benefit of getting more.

Job 2 has the potential to help your application, but also has the potential to really hurt it if you can't juggle school and the hours. To me it doesn't sound like a job that would be a good idea to take during the school year, unless you can work out a better schedule. Especially if you're in like, upper level science courses and the like. Those last few classes are where you really want to be able to show the vet schools that you can handle the tougher material, and that you would be starting vet school on an upward trend.
 
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LetItSnow

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In addition to the other advice, I would also consider what you intend to tell vet schools on your app with regards to your future plans. If you plan to tell them that you want to be an rock star ER doctor, like all good DVMs should be, then you should go with job #1. If you plan to do some exotics, then you really should go with job #2 given your lack of experience there.

If you plan to be some other type of vet - industry / equine / LA / lab / etc - then it really doesn't matter much and I'd go with what WildZoo said.
 
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that redhead

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Overnight exotics? Interesting.

I might propose being able to do day shifts only (unless the ad specified wanting someone to work nights), see what they say. Or modify, but that seems stressful too frankly.
 
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vetsquared

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Thank you guys all so much for your input! I've decided to go with job #1. As interesting as the exotics sounded and as much as I wanted to diversify my experience, I can't justify risking my academics with overnight shifts and they weren't willing to compromise. I also got a sketchy feeling about the place since the job posting was for day, swing, and night shifts... but only after doing an interview and working interview did they demand all overnights.

School has to be my top priority. Plus, I love ER and that's the field I want to go into, and I know that I will learn a lot at this hospital. I'll still try and shadow to get exotics experience and hopefully schools will understand.
 
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that redhead

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Thank you guys all so much for your input! I've decided to go with job #1. As interesting as the exotics sounded and as much as I wanted to diversify my experience, I can't justify risking my academics with overnight shifts and they weren't willing to compromise. I also got a sketchy feeling about the place since the job posting was for day, swing, and night shifts... but only after doing an interview and working interview did they demand all overnights.

School has to be my top priority. Plus, I love ER and that's the field I want to go into, and I know that I will learn a lot at this hospital. I'll still try and shadow to get exotics experience and hopefully schools will understand.
Like LIS often says, it’s more compelling to adcoms to present a cohesive application with a story than simply box checking. Yes, diverse experience is important but if you’ve got a solid application otherwise, I don’t think this will set you back much, if at all. See if you can pepper in a touch more diversity but no need to stack up extra hours in every field.
 
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LetItSnow

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Overnight exotics? Interesting.

We have one here in the Twin Cities. As best I can think of, there are 4 24-hr ER/referral hospitals here in Mpls/St. Paul, 1 24-hr GP/ER, and 5 ER-only after-hours facilities. The 24-hr GP/ER is well-known for seeing exotics (both on GP and ER). Bless their heart.

It really is wonderful to have them around because then I don't have to see those pets AND I don't have to feel bad telling people I won't see their pet bird/reptile/pocket mammal at 3AM.
 

that redhead

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We have one here in the Twin Cities. As best I can think of, there are 4 24-hr ER/referral hospitals here in Mpls/St. Paul, 1 24-hr GP/ER, and 5 ER-only after-hours facilities. The 24-hr GP/ER is well-known for seeing exotics (both on GP and ER). Bless their heart.

It really is wonderful to have them around because then I don't have to see those pets AND I don't have to feel bad telling people I won't see their pet bird/reptile/pocket mammal at 3AM.
We have one about an hour away. People go to it but they also have “regular“ ER and specialists there which is how I assume they can continue to function. (I interviewed there for their exotics position after graduation and was pretty much told I’d need to also be doing dog/cat ER overnight.) Most of my exotics clients aren’t willing to spend much without the cost of emergency care factored in, but I guess if you’re willing to take your guinea pig to the ER in the first place, you’re perhaps a step ahead of the curve. Just curious as a truly exotics-exclusive ER seems a bit too good to be true.
 
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LetItSnow

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We have one about an hour away. People go to it but they also have “regular“ ER and specialists there which is how I assume they can continue to function. (I interviewed there for their exotics position after graduation and was pretty much told I’d need to also be doing dog/cat ER overnight.) Most of my exotics clients aren’t willing to spend much without the cost of emergency care factored in, but I guess if you’re willing to take your guinea pig to the ER in the first place, you’re perhaps a step ahead of the curve. Just curious as a truly exotics-exclusive ER seems a bit too good to be true.

Ohhhhh. Gotcha. I assumed the OP was talking about a SA+exotics place, not exotics-exclusive. (I missed where she wrote 'exotics-only'.)

Huh. I've never heard of one of those. I think they are called 'zoos'. :)
 
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vetsquared

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Ohhhhh. Gotcha. I assumed the OP was talking about a SA+exotics place, not exotics-exclusive. (I missed where she wrote 'exotics-only'.)

Huh. I've never heard of one of those. I think they are called 'zoos'. :)
They are actually exotics-exclusive! They do GP plus 24/7 ER. I live in a metro area with a lot of very wealthy tech people, so I guess there are enough clients to keep them in business haha
 

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