Thursday, May 27, 2010

80. Employee vets and locums

May I share with you my personal views on veterinary assistants and locums in Singapore since I graduated in 1974 and had started my own practice in 1980?

Employee vets in Singapore want the maximum pay and the least hours of work. Many married lady vets want to work part-time and less days. It seems to me that there are many newly graduated vets but they are mainly ladies. They don't want the hard work - night duties, after-hour emergencies and so expatriate vets have opportunities in Singapore.

Inevitably, those hard-working ones will think they have better be their own bosses, after 2 years. Why work long hours and get a "salary"? But this is the reality of private practice. The employee vet who is calculating will never be happy because he or she feels exploited when the practice is very busy.

For you, I will advise you to think what you want in life? If you want to work in Singapore, take a package that is a "stepping stone" to know about the culture and make contacts in Singapore after your locum work is completed.

If you are really good in your veterinary work, I have no doubt you will earn more once you are here as referrals are very powerful in Singapore. There is a large expatriate community here and they do have the spending power. The practice you will be working in does not have the expatriate business. This is an opportunity for you to start getting expatriates for this practice and later to be your own boss.

But what do you want in life? Just be a flitting butterfly by doing locums? Locums are highly paid for hours worked but they do not build up a practice. If you just want to be a hired gunman on a project, as in the film "Have Gun Will Travel" (a famous English TV movie in the early 1960s), then, so be it. You may out-price yourself as there are other expatriate locums looking for jobs in Singapore too.

It is best to be your own boss from what I can read about you in your emails. In that case, you can fail as well as being successful. Much depends on you. Nobody knows what you want. I met a lady English Vet in Siem Reap in Cambodia. She was closing down the clinic as business was poor. She was there for around 2 years and was the only expatriate vet. But Singapore's small animal practice is so much different from Siem Reap and you, as an expatriate vet with many years of experience, should have a large clientele of Caucasian expatriates when you start up. Obviously, it is not a guarantee.

With best wishes.

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