Ask Katie: My new job was hiding a toxic team member!

November 17, 2018
Katie Adams, CVPM
Katie Adams, CVPM

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

Dont beat up on yourself, folks. Just because a new job at a veterinary practice sounded good, and you were hired, doesnt mean its a good fit for you.

(Photo: bychykhin/Adobe Stock)Q. I've been at a practice for about five months now. There aren't any protocols in place, and when I try to make suggestions, they aren't welcome. Additionally, there's a really toxic technician here whom the practice manager is reluctant to fire because she's female and over 40. What can I do?

It sounds like you're in the “encounter” stage of your orientation into this practice. During the encounter stage, our preconceived notions and expectations collide with reality, and we're forced to decide whether we can live with the differences.

I think the question you have to ask yourself is this: Are the values of this practice aligned with your personal values? If you value lack of protocols, lack of process and complacent management, then you're in the right place. Since you've written me about the situation, my hunch is that your values don't align, and if that's the case, the best thing for you to do is move on. Find a practice whose values match yours.

Don't be afraid to interview potential employers just as they interview you. Ask about their culture, values, processes and communication style. People with a strong sense of self don't work in toxicity, so don't beat yourself up that this didn't work out.

Katie Adams, CVPM, is director of Curriculum Development at IGNITE Veterinary Solutions. Got a question for Katie? Email us at