Whether it’s a work related New Year’s resolution or you’re on the hunt for a job, this is the most important tip for your workplace mental and emotional health: have the craic with your coworkers. (Craic loosely translates to fun in Irish.) This applies to most jobs, not just veterinary related workplaces. Wherever you’re working closely with other people for prolonged periods of time, especially in potentially stressful situations, the one thing that might get you through the day are your coworkers.
Don’t get me wrong, having a borderline insane boss or clients with no social etiquette make for toxic workplaces as well. But if you have someone in the same boat that can make you laugh it off or lighten the mood, it makes a huge difference. It also means you have emotional and professional support a playful shoulder punch away.
Every day I deal with at least one if not five highly emotionally charged cases; people’s animals are sick or dying, and at the time may be their closest friend on earth. There’s a lot of pressure to to be sympathetic but professional, to give the right advice, administer the right drugs, make the right diagnosis. It gives me solace to know that in the next room I can ask one of the other vets or vet nurses for their opinion or support, and later that day laugh when they (poorly) mimic my American accent when I say, “antibiotics”.
From personal experience I know that working with toxic people can literally ruin your quality of life. It can destroy your outlook on your profession and make you think you aren’t cut out for your line of work. And sometimes we can’t choose who we work with. But if you can, be picky! Go for the job where if you rip a whole in the backside of your pants, your coworker giggles and tells you they can see your arse hanging out of your trousers and then hand you some electrical tape to patch it. Imagine if she didn’t like me?! I’d be bending over giving a dog a physical and mooning their owners repeatedly!
What’s your top tip for workplace wellbeing?