• Sara Gouveia

Feeling That You're Struggling At Your Job


Welcome Life

In almost every area of veterinary medicine – and I’m pretty sure since the day we are born until our death – we encounter situations in which we often struggle with. Some might be due a mistake, no matter how big or small it is, other situations might happen out of your power to avoid them.


The feeling of being overwhelmed

We are humans, in constant growth and learning. We can call it natural selection, if you like. There is this definition from BBC Bitesize that says natural selection is a process where organisms that are better adapted to an environment will survive and reproduce; or the natural process whereby the best-adapted individuals survive longer, have more offspring and thereby spread their characteristics. Sometimes referred to as ‘survival of the fittest’. I really enjoyed the term “survival of the fittest” – quite catchy, don’t you think. 

In today’s world I believe that since humans began their conscious lives that the best emotional and psycological adapted individuals survive longer. But how can we become one of these individuals? They learn from their experiences and carry on living avoiding the same bad experiences and repeating the good ones.



How can we avoid the bad experiences?

To be honest with you, I am still trying to figure it out. I’ve been doing mistakes since I can remember. As a vet, since the day I began to work in the profession, of course. Some are minor mistakes that are easily solved, others I didn’t even see them coming until someone complained and put in doubt my skills.

The later are the ones that truly touches our soul and originate self doubts. I am very much aware of how good I am at this job. There are more happy animals and owners that the ones that are unhappy. And it is for the happy smiles that I work for, and face the unhappy ones by learning and improving myself in doing better next time.



Still, I can’t fight the often overwhelming feeling and self doubt.

Whenever we are feeling overwhelmed it is hard to keep our heads high and keep looking forward. Especially when dealing with people every single day. It is true that our job is to provide the best care possible to the animal and that it is the animal that we serve, not the people. So why can’t this be as simple as that? After all, animals don’t complain in words and they sure don’t constantly ask “what is wrong with me doctor?”

Though, we have to keep in our minds that bills are paid by their owners. And so the services we provide are not only for the animals but also for the owners.

When I was working in Portugal I felt quiet overwhelmed regarding work loading. If you haven’t yet checked the Learn about me page, there I meantioned about my struggle with the long working hours. My life was significantly imbalanced and I was screaming for a change! After accepting a new job offer in the UK, I could finally relax in the free time I had available. Don’t get me wrong, to work intensively right after graduation is one of the best rewarding learning opportunities a new graduate can possible have, and I’m a big fan of internships. But I believe you will agree with me when I say that one year of intense learning is more than enough. This, not considering the continued learning process that medicine involves in our careers.

In this new country I soon found out that things were not as easy as back home. There are regulaments that are taken seriously, and even the minor mistakes can lead to severe consequences. Sure most situations are solvable, and your team will likely to be supportive and guide you through it.



Here’s some tips you can apply daily to fight overwhelming feelings:

  • Identify Your Why: Know the reason why you are doing what you’re doing, in this job and professionMake a clear understanding of this reasonBuilding a list of pros and cons can help you reflect on your purposes.

  • Express Your Goodness: Kindness, Gratitude and AppreciationFinding and expressing your strenghts can bring a more meaningfull life to yourself and othersInspire and encourage others to do the same

  • Commit To Your Personal And Professional Development: Set personal and professional goals that will keep you motivatedCreate a clear plan of action for those goalsDefine the steps and take constant action

These are a few examples that I have been implementing in my life, and that I believe are useful to keep yourself motivated. The most important thing is to find what exactly works for you!

I won’t promise that this will solve all your problems but it will sure help you keeping your head high, and find meaning in your personal and professional life whenever selfdoubts take place. This is a good way of shutting your door at them!


Share your experiences with others

Another good example of winning these battles is by sharing them with other people. People that are likely to understand you and guide you in these situations. When you are offered a place where you can safely speak out, you automatically feel this sense of relief by putting all your hurts out.



What is it that you are struggling with in your job?

#appreciation #kindness #overwhelming #selfdoubt #struggle

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