I just can't quit my bad job

September 15, 2016

When your veterinary job is toxic or ugly or it's making you unhappy, why don't you leave? Practice management consultant Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, susses out what's keeping you in your potentially abusive work relationships.

Are you in a toxic relationship with your bad job? (Getty Images)You gripe about it every day at dinner. You've imagined countless dramatic ways to quit (and even fantasized a bit about how the whole practice will come to a screeching halt when you do). But you just can't seem to quit that miserable, toxic, no-good job. Why?

Short answer: self-esteem, Shawn McVey says. "Long answer: We don't change until we're in enough pain. So what's familiar, even if it's dysfunctional, is better than what's scary," he says.

And some veterinary team members may not have many job options. Considerations like education level, work history and family obligations can all make it difficult to leave a bad job-especially for the risk-averse. But McVey also cautions team members to consider their own happiness.

The other reason people don't leave, McVey says, is that they get promoted financially-even if it's small and after many years-and they find out that if they leave their practice and start over again, they'll probably go back to a starting salary. "So if they're making $18 an hour now, and they go back into the market, they're probably going to be offered $12 to $14 dollars an hour," McVey says. "So that's another reason people put up with a lot of crazy. Because $4 an hour is a big deal when that's a quarter of your income." 

Check out Shawn's complete podcast here, including more on when you should quit (and how to be emotionally mature enough to do it) and how Shawn is managing his own painful transitions with a struggling practice he recently purchased. Then find more solutions and advice from McVey here. Want in-person advice from Shawn? Check out thecvc.com to find out where you can see Shawn next.