Veterinarians: Don't feel guilty for your success

January 17, 2020

You work hard in veterinary practice. You earn your income. Don’t be afraid to enjoy it.

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You finally mail off the last payment for that massive veterinary school loan. (I daydream about the day!) Suddenly, a weight is lifted off your shoulders and a significant amount of income freed up.

You think about how you can finally buy that new car you’ve been dreaming of … but in the back of your mind, you worry about what your clients will think when they see you roll up into the hospital parking lot.

Maybe you made double payments on your house so you could build up enough equity to invest in a nicer home in the country because you wanted your children to grow up around cows and horses like you did. But you wonder what will your clients say. You ask yourself: Will they judge me?

Now that you have more in your paycheck, will your team members be jealous of the perks you have as an associate veterinarian or practice owner?

Maybe you bought some new equipment for the business or made some improvements around the clinic. I don’t know about you, but I spend more of my waking hours at work than I do at home, so I want the hospital to look nice, feel comfortable and have the tools I need to practice good quality medicine. But if the hospital’s nice, will clients think you charge too much?

Somehow, some way, we veterinarians always end up being our own worst enemy. We beat ourselves up about every decision we make. We question not only our failures but also our successes. We try to please everybody—our family, our clients, our staff and colleagues. We’ve all heard that veterinarians are only in this profession for money, so how can we allow ourselves to have nice things? That will only validate their accusations.

I don’t have a solution to change your thinking, but I just want you to stop for a moment and listen to what I believe. It’s OK to be successful in your career. You work hard and handle a mountain of emotional stress on the job. Veterinarians have the right to be successful like any other professional. Stop letting your self-doubt, public perception and insecurities wear you down. When you’re financially ready to buy that new car, don’t be afraid to do it. When you pay off that student loan debt, celebrate!

You deserve all the success in the world. Work hard and play harder. Life is too short to not enjoy each and every moment.

Shana Bohac, DVM, owns Navarro Small Animal Clinic in Victoria, Texas.