More Than I Can Bear

I have worked at a Vet Office and Boarding Kennel for more than 1 1/2 yrs. Recently I was hired by a vet hospital to train to become a tech. Now most of my experience in the past was strictly in reception. I was so excited. I wanted to have more time with the pets.

What I didn't realize was the physical toll this would have on my body. First of all this job requires that I stand on my feet continuously for more than 5 hours straight. So not only endless standing I need to be able to lift heavy tools, clean poop and urine, endlessly clean and endure demeaning tasks.

The one thing that took me over 6 months to get used to at my previous job was not having any type of break in an entire day. I thought maybe it was just that company that broke that federal law (you know by law all employees are supposed to get 15 min break for every 4 hours worked). Now I have realized that even though I asked at both interviews about break time, they both said that I they provided it and both did not. At the previous place the owner would take out 1/2 hour of pay as if I got that break, though I was never able to take it (you know someone might come in and need help). The second place doesn't do this, yet I still don't get a break.

Even though I really like caring for animals, the small amount of time I get with the animals, doesn't make up for the hours of excruciating pain I have to endure. I am so disappointed. There so many tasks it takes the most athletic employee to complete them in the allotted time. The girl who trained me is about 19 or 20. She's young and athletic, for her this type of work is a cinch.

I know I sound like I'm ungrateful. I should be lucky I got accepted for a job. I should just shut up, grin and bear it. Yeah, that's what I have been trying to do. The main problem is that I'm not going to be able to complete all the work in the time allotted. Right now my trainer is helping me do the work, though eventually I'll be expected to do it all by myself. I can barely achieve it with her help, so there's no way I'll be able to do it by myself. Also, I think I should be honest with the company since they did give me this chance.

Right now typing this, my feet are on fire AND I'M SITTING! The only time they don't hurt as much is when I'm asleep. I had trouble sleeping last night because I was in so much pain. I kept waking up every couple of hours with sharp pains stabbing my legs and feet. Today while at work I did get to sit down in the only chair available, I felt a strange tingling feeling, like my feet were being rained upon by ice cubes, I've never felt this before. I sat there 5 minutes. I almost fell asleep. I was exhausted only 4 hours into my shift and I had plenty of time to go.

I finished my shift, I didn't think it would be right to leave in the middle of my shift. You see, I'm really bad at quitting. I always keep on thinking maybe I can endure it, I just need to get used to being in pain continuously. Though today I realized I have limitations and I must tell my supervisor about my struggle. When I came home I cried. I almost cried when I was there, though I held it back. So at home I let it out. In fact I've been completely exhausted and ready for bed the minute I got off. Though I didn't want to go to sleep and then wake up when it was time to go to bed. So I've forced myself to stay awake.


UPDATE: I'm no longer at this position. It was much too overwhelming for me and now I realize that I can no longer apply to work at Vet Hospitals, it's just not my forte.

4vrUnique 4vrUnique
10 Responses Sep 5, 2009

Well, I've gotten better at standing. Now the pain doesn't become intense until I hit the 5-7 hour mark, then I'm barely hanging on. At 7 I begin to feel it in my back and groin area. Plus since I'm in so much pain, it begins to show on my face. <br />
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Otherwise, you should read my other story in 'I tolerate my coworkers and they tolerate me' group.

Thank You myart, you're so sweet too. I love that term 'fuzzy babies,' cats are so cute. Right, I follow my intuition always even if it's hard to live by it, it's always right. So far I'd like to stay as long as I don't have to stand on my feet for a very long at one time and I don't have to all that lifting and bending, my back and hips still hurt. Plus I'm enduring an allergy attack in my right eye, I guess I got some dust in it when I was vacuuming. The people are so nice and interesting, I'd like to stay a little while longer if it's possible for me to do and excel . <br />
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I hope your coworkers know how special you are Faucon.

i noticed what Faucon was saying... that's really sweet :)<br />
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we have three cats and we are very grateful for the people who work so hard to keep them happy and healthy... our little fuzzy babies!<br />
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(not to minimize your concerns, though, 4vrUnique... pay attention to your gut... and know that you can always walk away from this one if it gets too bad. you are a strong woman!)

I hope they appreciate me as much as you do. :D

That is an excellent point and very well stated.<br />
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I do LOVE the pets and I enjoy the humans. Great combination.

I am a people person. I love talking with the clients. Now when I used to work at a bank as an account rep., the people had an entirely different attitude than they do at a vet's office for some reason. Maybe it's that cutie nearby. There are those people who are always in a bad mood who try to ruin your day, though they are few and far between in this setting rather than at the bank. I'm better at this job then I ever was there.

Thank you again. It's nice to be appreciated. <br />
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You're right. Someone needs to do the paperwork, collect the money and get to know the humans who care for the cuties. That's what I seem to do best.

Awwww, thank you Faucon. You're so sweet!

I always wear arch supports, you see I'm flat footed, so I always need them. I have New Balance, though I could buy Nursing shoes. If it were just the standing, maybe I could endure it by buying 2 new shoes. <br />
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I didn't realize this hospital does all its own cleaning too. So everyday for the entire hospital I need to vacuum twice (I'm allergic to dust) and lift it to store it behind the mop bucket, mop the floor twice (the bucket doesn't move, so I have to carry the mop back and forth to the bucket) and clean all areas every time they're used (which makes sense, as to not pass on any contagions). I know I sound whiny. Though I'm in so much pain, I know I can't continue to do all the work required in the time, fashion and eventually by myself that is required. What if I end up injuring myself so badly I can't work somewhere else? I'm so conflicted. I know I accepted the position and I should try to stick it out, I don't know if I can endure it for one more week let alone 6 months or more. If it were just mental, I'd take it.<br />
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Oh, I always do that. I always want to thank them for hiring me, so I make sure I'm always early and do all that is required.<br />
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That is one of the reasons why this is a really hard decision. The people are really nice and treated sufficiently; although, the other day a long time co-worker was complaining she was hungry for about an hour and then the supervisor finally let her leave briefly to go buy her food. She ate her food quickly in the tech area and when someone came in, she had to throw it away. So maybe she got 2 or 3 bites. To me this isn't a break. I don't want to buy fast food everyday. I'd rather eat something healthy that I've prepared at home. So a bite hear and there between stolen moments or even in the bathroom (I did this at my previous job), to me isn't a break. A break is you leave the work for a specific period of time to rest your mind. <br />
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No it is a very small office. There's less than 10 of us. <br />
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Thank you for your support. I really need it right now. I feel like such a failure.

oh, sweetie, i'm so sorry. hugz.<br />
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if you are going to keep this job, you are going to have to get better shoes... ones that have a lot of cushion... AND some dr. scholl's insoles. that is the only way you are going to be able to get through it. i know what you mean about the pains. most of my work has been jobs that i have had to be on my feet for 6-8 hours during the day. do not mess around with your shoes. spend the money required to get a really comfy pair that can go the distance. it also helps to have two pairs that you can rotate between days-- seems to help cushion recover a bit. be really clear on the dresscode before you make the investment so you don't waste your money. also, if you get some super soft, comfortable socks, it will help a great deal. <br />
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as for your breaks, you might have to be a little stern at first-- be a really good worker-- show up on time-- work hard, ask questions. then, asking for a break is easier b/c they will see how valuable you are. they may realize that if they don't give you breaks that you might quit-- if they like you and your work ethic... this might help. i've had to fight for breaks too.<br />
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just remember that starting out at a new job is really hard b/c you are probably pushing yourself pretty hard to get up to speed. find out all you can about it. start assessing (in your mind) whether things will get better for you after you stick it through for awhile. see how others are treated who have been there awhile. i want you to be happy-- i hope that helps.<br />
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i'm here if you need a friend or need support...<br />
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how are your co-workers? are there a lot of them?