Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bitten by the bike industry bug

Can’t seem to help myself and I am returning to work at a bike shop. After a few months off just doing the “vet” thing, I am back helping out at another new shop.
Why? It’s rewarding work. But isn’t veterinary work rewarding too? Yes, but in a different way.
I spent years and years at university in Australia, and then overseas, to get myself an incredibly versatile degree. I chose to branch out into a small animal referral speciality because it was “tougher”. I thought I’d enjoy the extra challenges. I didn’t just have to know all the information, I also needed to be able to problem solve. Sometimes the problem solving was also “against the clock” because some animals were very ill, and maybe even dying, while I tried to work out what was wrong with them. But then came the stresses. The long work hours, and high pressure situations. The seemingly endless counselling of owners with very sick pets. Would the pet survive? Would the pet suffer? Was euthanasia an option?

It’s difficult not to take things personally when an animal can’t be saved. And being a bit of a perfectionist, I would take things too much to heart. Then unexpectedly, my mum died. It was the last straw, and my life was falling apart. I needed to change things. I didn’t want to quit my veterinary work because I still found glimmers of hope that I could get back to being more rewarded by a career I had worked so hard for. So I went part-time.
Then suddenly I had all this spare time. What to do next? I enjoyed riding my bike, so why not do that more often? But somehow, although I enjoyed the extra time to ride, I felt a bit “lazy”. I felt like I wasn’t using my time on this planet very wisely. In hindsight, I suppose I could have chosen something else rewarding like charity work… but for some reason I wanted something “different” as my second job… so I asked the local bike shop if they would consider me helping them out when they were busy. “But you’re a vet aren’t you?” was the response I got. “Yes but I am willing to learn about retail”. So I started the next week.
During my entire time working at that bike shop, the owners (Pip and Shayne) encouraged me and I found I really enjoyed the work. What I also discovered was that it gave me a new lease of life on my veterinary work, because it gave me some new experiences and I was shown some new ways of helping people and dealing with problems. Even my veterinary bosses have admitted to me that my attitude to my veterinary work is much better since I started the bike shop work. So even after Pip and Shayne sold the shop and moved on, I found the work so beneficial that I stayed on with the new shop owners. A few years later, I was still working there. Then some things changed towards the end of last year, and my veterinary work started to demand much more of me, so I gave the bike shop position away.
I wasn’t sure I’d miss the work, but I did. A lot. And fortunately for me, Pip and Shayne have just begun a new adventure with a new bike shop. Thankfully, they have room for me in this new endeavour, and I am really pleased to say that I can once again tell people that “I’m a veterinarian, but I also help out part-time in a bike shop”. :)

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