Thursday, August 23, 2012

Stumbling around in the work-life wilderness

I have recently taken on full-time work again (in veterinary speak, that means 6-7 days a week, plus on-call every night) while a work colleague is on holidays.  How quickly it has reminded me of why I escaped to the world of part-time work about 4 years ago. 
It’s not that I don’t like my work.  I really enjoy it (even the very hectic times), and I am lucky to be in such a challenging, demanding and rewarding profession.  But at the same time, it is a career that simply gives you no “time out”.  I drive to work thinking about the difficult cases we have in hospital, and drive home again doing the same.  I get woken up at 2am by a distressed client who thinks their pet might be sick. 
For veterinarians all over the world, this routine is nothing unusual.  Having said that, the average day of a veterinarian doesn’t really resemble an episode Bondi Vet either.  What I realised is that it wasn’t good for my “mental health” to be doing this day after day, week after week, year after year.  Scuba diving and running became the outlets of my work stress initially, and then at some point this metamorphosised into mountain biking and then road cycling.  Right now, although I am still keen to get out and ride my bike, the cumulative stress of way too many ill animal patients is bearing down on me, and I am appreciating all over again why I changed to part-time. 
Taking the easy way out with part-time work?  Yes I might be, but I only get one chance at one lifetime.

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