Can a Promotion Lead to Better Work-Life Balance?

May 3, 2018
Kerry Lengyel

Despite what may be intuitive, having a higher position at work may improve your work-life balance.

Many people, veterinary professionals included, believe that taking on more responsibilities and having a higher position in their company will add to an already full workload and negatively affect their work-life balance.

But it turns out that having a higher rank actually gives you more control over your work hours, in turn allowing for better work-life balance.

A study in the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis found that employers were more likely to offer flexible scheduling to employees who have a greater potential to contribute to the company, perform better or work harder — not necessarily to those who may need more flexibility (e.g., parent of small children).

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The researchers discovered several common factors among employees who had more control over their work schedules:

  • Older age, more experience
  • Higher education level
  • Higher skill level
  • Having a supervisory role
  • Having a supportive manager
  • Working in a company where men and women are represented equally

If you feel like these factors don’t apply to you, don’t stress. There are still ways for you to become a top performer at your practice and rise in the ranks, eventually gaining more control of your schedule and, ultimately, your work-life balance.

First, make continuing education a top priority. Hundreds of veterinary conferences are held every year around the world. No doubt there is one near you. If you don’t have the available time off to travel — or if your practice doesn’t offer time off for educational conferences — you can always sign up for a class at a nearby university or take an online course.

Instead of being the go-to person in your practice for every task and responsibility, consider specializing. You may think that being able to do everything equally well is important, but it’s not as important as playing to your strengths in one specific area. Are you the best at recordkeeping for your practice? Do you excel at getting clear X-ray images from even the squirmiest of patients? Try to tackle one specific thing and make yourself irreplaceable.

Working in the veterinary profession gives you a front row seat to the harsh realities of illness, trauma and death, but resilience will not go unnoticed. Foster resilience by honing your communication skills, learning how to connect with clients and lending a helping hand when a colleague may not be able to keep their head up. If you show just how easily you can bounce back from a challenge — and help others come back, too — you may see yourself quickly rise in the ranks.