Friday, July 30, 2010


I have a totally dysfunctional relationship with my job.

I work for a veterinarian - a job for which I have no formal training and to which none of my many years of higher education apply. I took it as a part time position four years ago, just something fun to do while I waited to get knocked up.

I had such high expectations for my life.

Now, years later, I am full time, part office manager, part vet tech, part doctor wrangler, marketing coordinator, client satisfaction specialist, poop recipient and cleaner of various bodily fluids. I wear many hats at work.

I love animals, so any time I get to have contact with them, or help puzzle out a diagnosis, is sweet. There is nothing better - nothing - than going about my daily routine with a kitty in need of TLC in my lap. I like to help people too, and so there are days when my job rocks.

Lately though, I've been feeling burnt out. Part of the problem is that my work world has been insulated from my infertility woes because for a long time none of my coworkers had kids or wanted them. Then, a coworkers best friend got knocked up and the insulation started to get torn away. I hear a lot of baby talk these days. And then, a new girl was hired.

She has a kid. He's four. And yet somehow, she still manages to tell a story every day about her pregnancy. If that weren't annoying enough, she has taken to harassing me about having babies because she "just loves them."

Insulation - gone.

I know that she couldn't even imagine my history - and I don't like her enough to tell her - but I still find her assumptions fucking rude. Soon enough, I will call her out on her rudeness.

Anyway, I thought I would bless you all with my very own top 5 list.

Top 5 Most Awful Things About My Job

1. I play with poop. Namely, I take samples from clients and mix the poop with a solution that will make parasite eggs rise to the top of a little glass slip, which is then read under a microscope. Daily, I get to smell the wonderful aroma of dog/cat (and occasionally, ferret) ass, fermented in plastic bags. If that weren't bad enough, the other day a lady literally walked in, threw a bag of poop in my face, and walked out (without paying!). Seriously, people, poop in my face. Go ahead and laugh - you know you want to.

2. Speaking of ass, let me mention anal glands. They are supposed to express a very pungent liquid when an animal defecates. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, they do not express as they should, and that is when we come in. I get to restrain the animal while my coworkers glove up and dive into the rectum to express the glands. Usually, the smell is the worst part. Every so often, though, something goes awry and that dark horrendous liquid from a particularly juicy gland ends up shooting onto a person. Hair, eyes, skin, mouth - all have been invaded by stinky anal juice. Hungry?

3. People suck. Some neglect their animals, or let them suffer because of money, or just don't train their dogs so even minor procedures become a wrestling match. Once, I got elbowed in the head - by my boss! - so hard I nearly passed out while trying to restrain an untrained dog. Some people are simply rude, like the folks who come in talking on their cell phones and expect me to stop what I'm doing to help them while they chit chat away.

4. Knowledge is a burden sometimes. I will now freak out whenever my animals seem off, because I always envision the worst case scenario.

5. I am (almost) an animal hoarder. It comes with the job. I dare you to find a veterinary employee who does not have a ridiculous number of pets (I have 6). You will fail. We all work in the field because we like animals, and part of the job inevitably becomes bringing the needy home (such as my latest addition, a 17 year old cat whose owner died and was facing euthanasia. He came home with me that day). The problem? See number 4. We obsess over their health, to a ridiculous degree. It becomes expensive, and stressful.

None of those, though, are enough to make me quit (yet). I need to find a new direction for myself, especially now that my insulation has been torn away, but I don't know which way to turn.

Hopefully, that magic fucking pill will help me figure it out.


  1. Give it time, sweetie. I've been on anti-depressants before and they make a MAJOR difference....but not for several weeks. It could be MONTHS before you're feeling like your old self -- but it will come. Hang in there.

    As for your obnoxious co-worker, I would set her straight. I've had fellow teachers make stupid ass comments to me before, things like "isn't this job great birth control?" and "are you SURE you want kids?" and the ubiquitous "just relax! it will happen in God's time." Finally I snapped, and I gave this particular teacher a lesson in basic anatomy and what, exactly, our problem was. I also told her that maybe SHE didn't find parenting her kids all that it was cracked up to be, but that had absolutely no bearing on me.

    She never mentioned it to me again.


  2. Wow... I have always thought that working in a vet's office could be my job in an alternate universe. I knew there would be bad stuff about the job, too, but whew.

    As for your co-worker, if she comes right out and asks you, you might want to fess up and add that you are sensitive to talking about babies and pregnancy and you'd prefer that she keep her mouth shut. Or you could just accidentally elbow her in the face the next time you're helping express anal glands. Either way...

  3. I love that you took that cat home so it didn't get put to sleep. If I worked in a situation like that, we would be in big trouble. We already have 3 cats as it is.

    I have always told everyone I work with about our fertility issues. Yeah, it's hard to share, but then it's over and nobody ever talks to you about it again. I worked at a daycare, so it was a big help to have the talk...or else it would literally never stop coming up.

  4. Thank you for your work at the vet's. Know that you and people like you are so appreciated. As a pet-owner who recently lost our dear Fluffy to Chronic Renal Failure, I am so grateful to the dedicated staff of the vet hospital that treated him and helped us through the terrible choice of putting Fluffy "to sleep."

    I would have a discrete discussion with the co-worker and ask her to please be more sensitive.

  5. wifey, i'm sorry ... but 1 and 2 made me laugh. hard. i have 2 pugs and frequently take baggies of shit into them for analysis... i've never thrown it at them, neglegted to pay or chatted on my cell phone while handing said shit in baggy over...

    as for the anal glands, my 7yr old pug has the worst time with them and has to get them emptied every 2 months. last time, the vet came back into the room i was waiting in without my dog and with soaked bangs. turns out, the glands sprayed her right in the face and hair. GROSS!

    i am SO appreciative of every single person working at my vet's office ... i know how hard they work and how much they care about my pets and everyone elses. you sound like you're just like them. so thank you for doing what you do.

    as for the co-worker, i'd tell her. everything. then maybe she'd shut the fuck up. thats the approach i take with just about everyone now. i dont give a shit who knows anymore - just stop asking me when i'm having kids. if you don't, you'll hear more from me than you'd probably like to. for the most part, its worked like a charm.

    hang in there. i'm really hoping the magic fucking pill kicks in really soon :)

  6. I too have a fantasy about a vet's office, as my alternate universe job. Thanks for reminding me that ALL jobs suck... so there's really no need to switch careers :).

    Also, there's really something sad about someone whose favorite topic of conversation is a pregnancy that happened FOUR YEARS AGO. Sheesh. Eventually I am sure you will prepare something very snarky to throw into her face about her inability to move on...

  7. Just stopped by to check on you. Hope all is well. Miss you!

  8. God bless you and everyone who works with animals. I don't think that I would have the stomach or emotional strength to deal with what you' guys do. I'd want to punch the idiots who mistreated their animals and cry every time one had to be put down.

    I'm sorry about the obnoxious co-worker. I've vowed that I will never be like that!

  9. I completely understand about the anal glands. I have 2 shih tzus, one of which needs his glands emptied quite frequently. That has got to be the nastiest stuff!

    I hope that in addition to the assholes who come in there, you also get to meet some great people. I love the people at our vet's office and I would never throw poop at them. But maybe that is just me...

    I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you...

  10. Just checking in to see if you're okay. Hope you're hanging in there. XOXO

  11. HI Wifey,

    I have been thinking of you and wondering if you're okay. Hope everything is fine and you're just busy.