13 Apr 2022

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Down for a 10 count?

I published the following to the VSGD site back in June 2021. I am not sure much in our world has changed since….

If it ain’t broke.  Don’t fix it.

Which is cool.  When things ain’t broke (I am going to drop the dodgy street slang now).

Let us not kid ourselves.  Our profession is down for a 10 count.  Each and every survey, analysis, or report is indicating that the vast majority of Vets want to visit the 12 year old version of themselves and slap them hard across the face whilst screaming, “what the fuck are you thinking”, until 12 year old you realises that a career dancing around a pole in a sequinned outfit is preferable to dancing with a stethoscope in a consult room for a client, manager, owner (independent), owner (corporate) or team leader for 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. The only element of our lives not listed in the previous sentence is the patient. They are still incredibly kind, thankful and appreciative of the magic you conjure up on their behalf. They keep you here.  They are your reason. 

Are things really as bad as we all feel? I guess it doesn’t matter. If it is how we feel. It’s important.

It’s also incredibly sad.  12 year old you deserved better (and doesn’t deserve slapping).

It’s easy to write a punchy job advert using lots of glib phrases about work / life balance but there are only so many times to you can tell someone you have a good sense of humour before they realise that you are the dullest person in the world. Just repeating something over and over doesn’t make it so.

So here goes.  I need to create a job advert against a back drop of Veterinary Facebook Groups slagging off any boss that buys Pizza for their team. Lucky me.

We are hiring. SA Vets. We have a great work / life balance and we pay you in pizza.

Only kidding. 

Our work life balance is still a work in progress. But it is being worked on.  Every day it is at the forefront of our minds.  Yesterday we tweaked it again.  We removed the last consult of each day and banged in a paperwork slot instead. We have ensured that the consult preceding is booked as a booster or post op check reducing the chances of a 5pm full on work-up. 

Why? In the hope that we can get the team out the door as close to 5.30pm as possible.

In reality will we? Probably not everyday.  But we are trying and we will tweak, change, adapt and keep tweaking, changing and adapting for as long as is needed to achieve the desired result.

We book each consult automatically for a minimum 20 minutes.  Our front of house Commercial Team are as savvy as a drug fuelled ferret and they know what a 7 year old un-neutered Labrador bitch who is off food, drinking lots and dull could equate to, so its an automatic 40 mins booked.

I enjoy sitting with peers from other large veterinary practices who preach over a dinner table that it is impossible to generate profit from a business with anything above a 10 minute consult.

I giggle like a small girl when I hear them. Because I know they are wrong.

Over the last 12 months we have made 47 changes in an attempt to improve our business.  47 is a made up number. The figure might be higher, it might be lower, but it feels like 47. 

If you are a Small Animal Vet who is in the middle of deciding to Stay, Go or Diversify then we would love to have a conversation with you.  It might be the time to consider diversification.  It might be the time for you to just go and do something not connected with your Vet Med degree.  It might also be worth considering to stay. Maybe.