It’s been over six months since I graduated from vet school and though I’ve been working ever since I received my license, some of my classmates have not worked a single day since graduating. It’s not that they’re not trying. It’s just that the market is so saturated — there are too few jobs and far too many people applying. That what has happened is that even when they are being made offers, the offers aren’t enticing enough to take them off the market.
Many of my classmates who have received offers for jobs in private practice since graduating were offered 60k/year (in California) with benefits that were usually suboptimal but better than nothing. Despite not having worked a single day since graduating, most of them were not jumping for joy at these offers as they were more frustrating than anything else. It is hard to foresee being able to survive with basic expenses in addition to paying off student loans on that kind of income, especially if their benefits didn’t cover some significant expenses (health insurance, continuing education, liability insurance, DEA license, association fees, license renewals, etc. — all of which add up to thousands of dollars every year!).
Some of these vets have given in and accepted one of these positions, others are still looking. It’s a tough situation overall and I wish I had a better, more hopeful ending to this post, but I think it’s imperative that these struggles be known and brought into the open.
My personal perspective is that new grads are not gaining anything by *not* working, even for free. It’s better to at least do something to gain experience, build a resume and bolster your chances of being competitive and getting better offers. If that means doing relief work for various places and volunteering at a shelter to increase surgical experience for a period of time or taking the 60k/year job for a period of time until you can build your skill set enough to negotiate a salary increase or move on to a better position, then great! But it’s imperative that you not let your skills and knowledge dissipate over time for lack of use.