Ask Katie: How do I handle the veterinary practice owners family?


What can you do when the practice owners niece doesnt pull her weight? Anything?

Aaron Amat -, illustration work by Roxy Townsend.

Q: One of my coworkers is awful to work with. She doesn't pull her weight around the practice and only wants to do the “fun” stuff as a technician. I'd like to talk to the practice manager about it, but this person is the owner's niece. How do I have that conversation?

Nepotism is a tough area to navigate. The key is to have the conversation with the same thoughtful respect that you would about any other coworker. I recommend you speak with this coworker first about your concerns. If she's indifferent or unresponsive, then it's appropriate to involve your manager. Speak to both parties about specific behaviors that are hindering the practice. Don't attack your coworker's personality by using words like “lazy.” If you do those things and she gets to keep her job because her uncle owns the practice, there really isn't anything you can do. Sometimes family gets preferential treatment and it's not fair, but it's ultimately up to the owner to run their business in the way they feel is best.

Katie Adams, CVPM, is owner and management consultant at Agrygation Consulting.

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