Meat production is a big part of our Argentina’s history. It is a subject closely linked to tradition and culture. For that reason, the field veterinarian has always been a loyal partner and advisor to the owner, a person respected by the field laborer.
During “manga,” which are working days with the cattle, the owners eagerly await the arrival of the vet, to re-plan strategies, make decisions, and finally—after all of the work is done—enjoy a meal with everyone present. This is seen as essential to strengthen relationships. Each livestock establishment and veterinarian comes together as friends.
This is where the challenges begin for us juniors, who plan to go out on the field after university, which unfortunately did not leave us fully prepared to acquire customers. Most establishments already have a veterinarian. What is left for newcomers?
Well, the options are not the best. Since the jobs are filled by a few veterans, who cover many places, there is surplus of junior veterinarians. They are then left with the toughest jobs.
Many times, they end up as field employees and placed far away from family and friends, which are can be isolating, even from a business perspective. Who will you meet while working in a field? Who will offer you a better job? Will you have time to go find a better option or even know about the existence of one?
Other options include ending up as a seller of supplies, medicines, or food for a company. Though, these jobs don’t utilize much of the skills we’ve gained in vet school.
Mental health can also be an issue among juniors in this situation. They put so much effort into their studies to carry out activities that in my opinion are not totally required and can be done by someone who is not a veterinarian. It can be disheartening. Not to mention they might feel as though they are “moving away” from the profession and can begin to handle their everyday tasks like a routine that does not give rise to new ways of doing things or innovating. Also, the “academic” vocabulary starts to be neglected. You have to relate and work with people who may not be able to understand exactly what you mean, so you have to adopt another way of speaking to make yourself understood.
Can this situation be reversed over time? Will professionalism be valued? Will we value ourselves? What would we have to change? These are some questions I ask myself knowing much of my generation is going through it.
One tool we undoubtedly have to take advantage of is social media. We were born with it and our generation knows how to handle it well. With marketing strategies we could connect virtually to reach places we could not previously access. Showing our capabilities and services through the Internet can be the effective way to stand out in such a competitive business.
Therefore, in addition to gaining experience in daily practice, we should never neglect the knowledge and accessibility of free online platforms that can be our greatest ally to get customers and be seen.