Episode 55 | Vet Med Alignment Part 1: Job vs. Career

Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and all members of the veterinary healthcare team often grapple with the question “Am I cut out for a career in Vet Med” at some point in their careers.

The complex experience of being a veterinary professional, along with the negative emotional impact that often accompanies it, has many concluding they are not personally equipped for what this job requires.

However, the question does not have a binary, all-or-nothing, answer.

The job and the career are different things.

The job is the way in which a veterinary professional is utilizing their skills and knowledge in exchange for money at a given point in time.

There are many different veterinary-related jobs.

When a veterinary professional finds themselves in a bad-fit job, it doesn’t mean they have also picked a bad-fit career. 

Unfortunately, because bad-fit jobs tend to be a pretty common occurrence in the veterinary profession, a growing number of veterinary professionals are concluding they have chosen the wrong careers.

The impact of believing you’ve made a wrong career choice should not be disregarded.

Choosing a career is a major life decision. 

Much thought, time, money, and effort goes into pursuing a veterinary career. 

Therefore, when a veterinary professional concludes they made the wrong career choice, they often experience a wave of self-judgment, guilt, and shame.

This is compounded with beliefs about time lost, being trapped by debt, and a foundation-shaking mistrust of one’s ability to make the right choices for themselves.

Together, this can lead to myriad secondary challenges: anxiety, depression, fear of the future, hopelessness… 

… all of which block the ability to see the Absolute Truths of the situation.

Understanding the difference between Career Fit and Job Fit is the best place to start. 

Click here to determine your Vet Med Career Alignment Score.

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Vet Med Career Alignment Score



Career alignment, part one, that's what we're talking about in Episode 55.

Welcome to the Joyful DVM Podcast. I'm your host, Veterinarian, and Certified Life Coach, Cari Wise. Whether you're dealing with the challenges in Vet Med, struggling with self-confidence, or you're just trying to figure out how to create a life and a career that you actually enjoy, you'll find encouragement, education, and empowering concepts you can apply right away. Let's get started.

Hi, everybody. Welcome to episode 55. Today, on a podcast, we begin the first part of a four-part series on alignment. So if this is the first time you've checked out the Joyful DVM podcast, welcome. I'm Dr. Cari Wise, Veterinarian, Certified Life Coach, Certified Quantum Human Design Specialist, and Founder of Joyful DVM, which is a personal development organization dedicated to increasing joy, wellbeing, and balance for veterinary professionals and veterinary teams while also helping them to decrease stress and anxiety. That's what we do here at Joyful DVM.

Today, I want to talk about alignment and I think this is a really, really important topic because it's one that we tend to not really understand and to make some pretty big decisions based upon. So alignment first off, what does that even mean? Alignment is the concept of every component of your life, kind of being headed in a single direction, all being about a single purpose. Really, if you think about it, if you had a mission statement for your life, then the way that you would spend your time, the things that you value, the things that you're working toward would all be in support of that mission. That's really what alignment is.

Alignment is how all the components of your life really filter into your one purpose to your one mission. Now, part of the problem with getting in alignment is first off not knowing what your life mission is; not knowing what your purpose is; not knowing what you're here to do, or not knowing what you want to do. I think that's even a better question. What is it that you want to do with your life? If you haven't actually asked yourself that; if you haven't answer that question beyond the degree that you've already earned in the job that you've already secured, then it is hard for us to get everything in alignment because we don't know where we're headed. We have to always be looking forward, guys, and oftentimes we get into the daily grind of our careers and our lives and all the other components of our lives and our responsibilities and our obligations and we don't look up.

For many, many of us, we get years down the road and what we do recognize is we're unhappy. We're frustrated. We're discontent, and we try to figure out why but because we spend all of our time at work in obligations that we haven't even kind of redecided and intentionally to continue pursuing, we tend to draw conclusions that it's those things that are keeping us from the life that we have. But what's really contributing the most to keeping us from the life that we want to have is not where we're spending our time at this moment as much as us not having any idea of where we would rather be spending it. Until we figure that component out and we kind of test it out and try a few things and really do some soul searching to figure out what it is that we want to create for ourselves in this lifetime, it's really hard to get an alignment. So that's kind of a quick overview of what alignment is.

But what I want to talk about today is the difference between career alignment and job alignment. What I see happening a lot is a massive misalignment in our job that has us concluding that our career is also out of alignment. So what if we kind of tease that apart a little bit and offer you a few thoughts about the difference between those two things.

Job - the job is the place where you are employed right now in whatever component you are in veterinary medicine and whatever career field or role that you're in. The job that you have right now, where you're spending your time with your degree, or if you're even on the job train, remember this is for anybody that's working in the veterinary field, wherever you are working at this point is your job and we're looking at the alignment of that. It's very possible that that may not be aligned for you. That your current job, the place that you're working now may not be the best fit; may not be aligned.

What does that alignment mean when we think about a job? When we think about job alignment and actually career alignment as well, but we're going to talk about the job first, when we think about job alignment, there are basically three areas that I think are really important to consider.

First off, do you like how you spend your time? That's one of the components of alignment. Do you like how you spend your time? So we're thinking about the job specifically, the one that you're in. Do you enjoy what you're doing when you're there? Is that how you want to spend your time? That's the best way to ask that question. Is this how you want to spend your time?

The second piece is, does the environment that you're in allow you to show up as yourself every day to do your job, or are you compromising on that?

The third component of this alignment for the job that you're in right now is, does this job provides resources that will help move you closer to what you want for your life in the future? Those three things are super important. Do you like how you spend your time? Does the job allow you to be who you are? I think along with this one includes, are you able to uphold your own personal values, morals, and ethics? That would all come into this. Does it allow you to be who you are? Are you compromising your values, your morals, or your ethics in your current job?

Number one, do you like how you spend your time? Number two, does it allow you to be who you are, including support of your values, morals, and ethics? Number three, does it provide you the resources that you need to move closer to what you want for your future? Resources could be money. It could be time. It could be experience and education and training. It could be all kinds of different things. Don't take resources and just think dollars because resources are, there are lots of different types of resources that play into us, building something different for ourselves. Those are the three questions that you want to ask yourself.

Now, many of us may go through that checklist and ask ourselves those three questions about job alignment and decide, "No!  No, Cari. I'm not aligned in my job at all." Many of us have kind of drawn that conclusion, which then has us drawing a secondary conclusion that we picked the wrong career, but I want to slow it down just a minute and just offer just not necessarily is what I'm trying to say here. Just because you may be able to identify that the job that you're in right at this moment in time, isn't aligned with you and your life and where you're going, and what you want to create for yourself, that doesn't mean you picked the wrong career. This is a conclusion we often draw. If we draw that conclusion prematurely; if we don't understand what actually goes into career alignment, then that ends up creating a whole downward cascade of self-judgment and doubt and lack of self-trust and worry about our own ability to make good choices for ourselves and regret, and maybe even hopelessness and anxiety and feeling trapped. There are all kinds of things that can happen if we tightly and quickly connect job alignment -so lack of job alignment with lack of career alignment.

Career alignment is a little bit different, I still think the same three questions apply, but you have to step back away from the environment that you're in at this moment in time, and look at the big picture. Is this how you want to spend your time? This being in the field of veterinary medicine, serving clients, treating patients, supporting animal welfare, supporting animal wellbeing, educating about animal health and wellness. There are so many components when it comes to what we can do with experience and education in the veterinary field.

Number two, the career support who you are. Are you able to be you? Are you able to work in this field in a way that supports your own personal values, morals, and ethics? Do you get to be yourself in your career?

Then number three, does it support and provide the resources for where you want to go? Does it create more of what you want in the future? I'm not going to say the future is going to be immediate. All your goals and dreams and all of your, all of that stuff, doesn't just come in an instant. It is a progression to get there, but is your career helping you move toward that? Or is it holding you back?

Those are the three questions that you want to ask yourself when you're looking at career alignment. I know it can be really confusing. We can get really stuck in the weeds here because it's very difficult sometimes for us to differentiate career alignment from job alignment. When we're struggling in veterinary medicine, often the job that we're in at that moment in time is not the right one. We're in that job for lots of reasons, and some of those reasons may sound very logical and responsible, and appropriate. But if they don't support who you are as a human being; if that job in that environment doesn't support what you want for your future; if it has you questioning yourself and your abilities and your self-worth and your prior decisions, then there is opportunity there for you to experience something completely different. We need to take a step back though and look at the career before we go hopping into another job.

Let's figure out where you are in the career alignment spectrum. This is important because if we're looking for another job through the lens that this is just not the right career field altogether, then likely what's going to happen is we're going to land another job and ended up having the same experience. The new job may be totally different. It's obviously going to have different people. It's going to be a different physical plan. It's not going to be in the same building. So we know those two things are going to be different. It may have different hours. It may have different pay. It may see a different type of client. It may actually focus on a totally different service area in veterinary medicine, but those are all just factual frameworks. Those are all just the circumstances that are changing. We've got to figure out if you are actually in alignment with the career choice, to begin with. Some of us are, and some of us aren't. Even if you're not, you haven't made a mistake. I want to say that again, even if you're not, even if you're career alignment score, I'll tell you how to get that, even if your career alignment score pops up that you are not aligned with your career choice, you have still not made a mistake, my friends. This is so important to understand. I've created an assessment for us to kind of sort this out so we can have a vocabulary to use to talk about it and to describe it and really to provide that extra support to get you moving forward again, toward your future, toward the life that you want. You can take that assessment for free. It is joyfuldvm.com/quiz. It's the vet med career alignment score quiz.

Again, to determine your vet med career alignment score, visit joyfuldvm.com/quiz. When you take that assessment, you're going to answer a series of questions. I think there are maybe a total of six questions. It's a pretty darn quick quiz. Make sure you answer every single question. Then you're going to get your score at the end. When you get your score, then you're going to have the opportunity to also get a report. It's a multiple-page PDF report that talks all about your score type. The scores fall into three basic types of alignment in veterinary medicine. So you can get your multi-page report that talks all about that and your opportunities and your struggles that are associated with the type of score that you end up with. So joyfuldvm.com/quiz, go take that assessment and get your free PDF.

What I'm going to do here over the next few weeks is I'm going to then talk about each one of the types of career alignment scores that pop up. We have those three main categories of career alignment scores and I'm going to talk about each one of those here over the next few weeks.

Before I get into that, I want you to know where you're at. I want you to really think about what we talked about today, which is that being in alignment with your job. The place where you work today, if that's not a great fit, if you're not aligned - you don't enjoy spending your time that way; if it doesn't support who you are as a human; if it has you compromising your values, your morals, your ethics; if it doesn't provide the resources that you need, time, money, experience, education, support that you need to create the future that you want - you might be out of alignment in your job. But that doesn't mean you're out of alignment with your entire career. If we try to make the career, if we automatically conclude the careers are the wrong fit because the jobs are the wrong fit, then we're really blocking a lot of our own opportunities.

So let's understand where we actually are from an alignment standpoint so we can see what the opportunities are to create what we want intentionally as we move forward. That may involve a change in career. It may involve a change in job. As you get further into understanding who you are and understanding your own personal score and the challenges and opportunities associated with that score, the path forward is going to become much more clear.

All right, my friends, I'm going to leave you with that for today. If you want to determine your own veterinary medicine career alignment score just jump over to joyfuldvm.com/quiz, answer six fast questions, and your answers will be available to you immediately. Now, don't forget, next week on the podcast is part two of this four-part series. Over the next three weeks, we're going to be digging into the three categories that these career alignment scores fall into. So you're not going to want to miss it. Hope you guys have a great rest of the week and I'll see you next time. Bye for now.

Thank you for listening to the Joyful DVM Podcast. If you'd like to learn more about the concepts and ideas discussed here, and how to apply them to your own life to create confidence and empowerment for yourself, you'll love Vet Life Academy. To check it out and learn more, visit joyfuldvm.com/vetlifeacademy. And if you're loving this podcast, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it with your friends and leave us a review on iTunes. 

We can change what's possible in Vet Med together.