• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Work-life Balance?

  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

“Work-life balance” is a common catch phrase embedded in our social fabric, oft times associated with one’s state of well-being. A work-life balance Google search yields a notion of a proper priority of “work” – career and ambition, and “life style” – health, family and leisure. A few guiding principles pave the path I follow – “opportunity abounds in animal health”, “the vision to recognize opportunity” and “courage to say yes to opportunity”. These principles allow me opportunities and experiences beyond my wildest dreams, many of them life changing. My quandary is reconciling this seeming dichotomy – work-life balance versus doing it all. I speculate this dichotomy is a significant component of the rampant emotional distress our profession experiences.

What’s my beef with work-life balance? The implication that work and life are separate and achieving balance is both desirable and possible. I can’t, for the life of me, reconcile these implications. Is work-life balance attainable? I suspect not. Is integrating your passion for veterinary medicine, your life’s work, into your life possible? Maybe, just maybe, it is!

There are times in life where I feel every waking moment, even moments when I should be fast asleep, is controlled by everyone but me. I respond to the horse owner with the loudest voice demanding my attention; I respond to colleagues requests for my assistance, feeling quilt if I decline. Life goes by so fast, kids grow up so quickly, can we slow time down? Don’t waste your time trying to segregate your work from your life, accept the challenge to adopt the concept of work-life integration. This subtle change in perspective, from balance to integration, pays me huge dividends. Set your priorities, delegate the tasks, maintain responsibility, leverage technology, and put process in place. Develop and maintain your vision to recognize opportunity; have the courage to say yes.

Are these tasks easy? I venture to say no, they’re not. They may require heavy lifting and perseverance to your intention. Instead of trying to maintain balance and stress associated with balance, integrate your work into your life. You’ve spent a lifetime honing medical and surgical skill, improving business acumen, perfecting leadership and mentoring prowess. Now integrate these attributes into everything you do and leverage opportunity. Whatever it is for you, perhaps a subtle change from the notion of work-life balance to work-life integration is a key to improving emotional well-being.

Last modified on
Tagged in: Presidents Message
in Presidents Message Hits: 990
0

Presidents Message

Never Say Never

It was Tuesday, November 23, 1982 and I was an intern at the Caine Veterinary Teaching Center in Caldwell, Idaho. The Teaching Center had a faculty of six besides me, and we met after each two-week rotation of senior students from Washington and Oregon State veterinary medical schools to review the students and get updates on state veterinary issues. Among the issues presented by our director, Dr. Stuart Lincoln, was his appreciation for all the cold weather we had just experienced. unbeknownst to me, there was an outbreak of Vesicular Stomatitis in eastern Idaho. Dr. Lincoln was sure we’d be spared in our southwestern corner of the state because mosquitoes, the vectors that transmit the disease, should have died and transmission would stop. That was the conventional wisdom of the day and regulatory veterinarians were reporting that the spread of Vesicular Stomatitis had subsided. Moments later, Delores, one of the Center’s receptionists, quietly slipped into the conference room and handed me a note. The note said one of the dairies we serviced had noticed a few large blisters on the teats of some incoming heifers and they wanted me to come out to take a look. So began the saga of an outbreak of Vesicular Stomatatis, a disease clinically indistinguishable from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Despite the recent twenty-four “vector killing” frosts in Idaho, the event Dr.
Lincoln had just assured us wouldn’t happen… happened!

This turned out to be quite the experience for a young, enthusiastic veterinarian. All of a sudden, I was on the frontline of a new presentation of a disease outbreak. The disease continued to spread within the herd until December 16, despite the fact that there was many more below-freezing days. I observed oral, feet, and teat lesions on the 332 cows that I examined. Nearly two thirds of the cows had lesions, many of them with lesions at multiple sites. Oral lesions were the most common, which resulted in excessive amounts of saliva contamination in the waterers. We were able to isolate the virus from one of the water samples. Animal-to-animal transmission was the means to the spread the virus in this outbreak.

There was a flurry of educational meetings to update practitioners in Idaho about the latest developments with our epizootic of Vesicular Stomatitis. Because I was the primary attending veterinarian of this herd, and had the most experience with the disease, the University of Idaho flew me, with other supporting faculty, to two different locations to meet with practitioners. It was an exciting and memorable time. But there was one “deer in the headlight” moment for me. During one of the question and answer sessions, a practitioner asked e the difference between a Vesicular Stomatitis foot lesion and foot rot. I instantly realized I was in the dubious position of having experienced more Vesicular Stomatitis feet than foot rot. I didn’t have an answer. Thankfully, I was rescued by one of the faculty veterinarians who answered, “foot rot wouldn’t have the vesicle lesions with it.”

This event early in my career came to mind when I noticed the CE event sponsored by the WVMA and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP): Secure Milk Supply - Planning for the Unimaginable, on June 15 at Glacier Canyon Lodge in Wisconsin Dells.

Secure Milk Supply is a collaborative effort of industry, state, federal and academic representatives funded by USDA-APHIS. This is a new and important program to help mitigate the disruption of food supply and business while still controlling an outbreak of FMD. The voluntary Secure Milk Supply plan is a workable continuity business plan for uninfected farms in a FMD Control Area. One of the components of the plan is an Operation-Specific Enhanced Biosecurity plan, which herd veterinarians will help design, implement and oversee. This is a very important role in which we maintain the responsibility.

I realize it is hard to get excited about low probability events when we are all busy with high probability challenges every day. However, in today’s world with terrorists looking to disrupt our way of life, some sort of deliberate sabotage is a real possibility. The possibility of a FMD outbreak is just as likely as a vector free outbreak of Vesicular Stomatitis was 36 years ago.

0

Past Presidents Messages

Never Say Never
Continue Reading...
0
Hard Choices for the 2018 AVMA President-Elect Election
Continue Reading...
0
Solving Problems
Continue Reading...
0
Planting Seeds - Growing Tomorrow's Veterinarians
Continue Reading...
0
Show Lamb Tail Docking - An Animal Welfare Issue
Continue Reading...
0
'Tis the Season to Give!
Continue Reading...
0
Coming Soon! Professional Assistance Program for Wisconsin Veterinary Professionals
Continue Reading...
0
Work-life Balance?
Continue Reading...
0
Make an Impact!
Continue Reading...
0
Essential Opportunity, Essential Lessons
Continue Reading...
0
20170513 124021
Animal Welfare; What’s Your Role?
Continue Reading...
0
The Need is Great!
Continue Reading...
0
Politics, Politics, Politics!
Continue Reading...
0
Professional Wellness: Break the Dam!
Continue Reading...
0
One Bite at a Time!
Continue Reading...
0
Be Relevant!
Continue Reading...
0
Conference Board LEI
2016 AVMA Economic Summit
Continue Reading...
0
Is Your World Flat?
Continue Reading...
0
logo
4610 S. Biltmore Lane, Suite 107
Madison, WI 53718
Phone: (608) 257-3665
Fax: (608) 257-8989
Email: wvma@wvma.org

WVMA-Foundation-Logo Final