This week on the podcast, veterinary practice management super nerd Stephanie Goss gets to dive into another mailbag but this time, with RVT and Manager, Tami Lind. This mailbag comes from an ER Practice Manager who loves how close the team is but is struggling to accommodate giving them time off together. Stephanie and Tami navigate the very difficult world of time off requests and what to do when you simply can't please everyone. Let's get into this…
ABOUT OUR GUEST
Tami Lind, RVT is currently ICU, ER and Immediate Care supervisor at Purdue University and has been working at the university for the last 13 years. She attended veterinary technology school at Purdue and graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Veterinary technology. Two years later Tami assumed the ICU and ER supervisor role at Purdue University. She received her VTS in Emergency/Critical Care in 2016. Her passion is teaching veterinary nurses and veterinary students in preparing them for their career ahead.
Do you have something that you would love Andy and Stephanie to roleplay on the podcast – a situation where you would love some examples of what someone else would say and how they would say it? If so, send us a message through the mailbag! We want to hear your challenges and would love to feature your scenario on the podcast.
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Stephanie Goss: Hey everybody. I am Stephanie Goss, and this is another episode of the Uncharted Podcast. This week on the podcast. I am very excited to introduce some of you who might not have met my guest cohost. I am thrilled to have my friend. She is a licensed veterinary technician. She is a VTS in emergency and critical care of the wonderful, the amazing Tami Lind with me on the podcast. Tami is the ICU ER and immediate care supervisor at Purdue University and we are together today for two reasons.
One she's amazing. And I think you all should have the opportunity to get to know her a little bit. If you've never heard her speak and two, she is going to be presenting at our Practice Managers Summit. And when this episode is coming out, we are getting ready to close registration for PMS because it is happening so, so soon.
And I want to make sure that if topics like the one that Tami and I talk about today are of interest. You. That you have an opportunity to register for the summit and join us. Live slash virtually, virtual live. Um, I don't know what we're calling that, but join us virtually from your couch, maybe in your pajamas and talk with other practice managers in the industry.
We're coming together for our one-day virtual summit and it's going to be awesome. Tami is doing a workshop. On, um, shifting from being a member of the team, to being a leader and also being the boss and the stress, um, and challenges that come along with that unique road. It's one that I have walked as well.
And so, anyways, I got a mail bag topic that just felt as an ER supervisor right up Tami's alley. And so, I am super pumped. To dive into this. So, without further ado, let's get into this. Shall we.
Stephanie Goss: And we are back. It's me, Stephanie Goss, and this week I am joined by a very special guest. Not my partner in crime, Dr. Andy Roark, but in fact, my friend Tami Lind. And Tami, it is a, so you are, you an RVT, LVT, CVT? What is your actual T's?
Tami Lind: RVT is what it is.
Stephanie Goss: You're an RVT? Yes. Yeah. And Tami is a veterinary technician manager.
I'm going to let her talk about her professional stuff because the alphabet soup is something that I always screw up. But I, am super excited. Tami and I met each other through our dear friend, Megan Brashear. And it's really funny. I don't know if you know this, but Megan first moved from the West Coast to Indiana to work at Purdue.
She started telling me stories about her neighbor, Tami. And for years, I heard all these stories about what amazing next door neighbors Megan had, and it was a husband and wife, and they had German short hair pointers, which Megan and I immediately bonded as friends when we met because we both had Pointers.
And I was like, I would see pictures on social media and she would tell me stories about how her dog Elliot like just made your house her home and how you guys literally have a gate that connects your yard. So, Elliot can come over and hang with your dog whenever she wants. I was like this, like Megan won the next-door neighbor lotto.
And these people are so, so cool. I literally for years heard Tami stories. I had no idea that you actually were also in Vet Med and that you
Tami Lind: Stop.
Stephanie Goss: I swear to God! I swear to God! And I remember going to VMX a couple of years ago and I remember it was either Eric Garcia or Phil Richmond, one of them was like, have you seen Tami?
And I was like, oh, did she like come down to go to Disney with Megan? Cause I know you're a Disney fan too. And I was like, oh, that's fun, but why would she be here at VMX? And I think it was Eric and he just looked at me and he's because she's speaking and she's moderating and I was like, what?
And I was like, no, Tami's Megan's neighbor. And he's like, yeah, she also works at Purdue with her. And I was like, no way. Like literally for years, I had no idea that you worked at
Tami Lind: How funny!
Stephanie Goss: Well. I was just like, Oh, she's just the cool next-door neighbor.
Tami Lind: Oh, yeah. I mean, you know, I called Megan up and was like, hey, we got this job. And she's like, okay, I'll take it. That's so great.
Stephanie Goss: So, anyways, you and I now we met, and we immediately became fast friends because you're amazing, and we love we love to get into trouble, I feel like, together. We're, good partners in crime in that way but you have pointers, which makes me super happy. You are a crazy chicken mom.
You, so you guys. live in Indiana. You, Megan lives in the middle of cornfields, so I'm assuming you do too. And let's see if I get this right. So last count I knew about you had 27 chickens and two goats.
Tami Lind: Yes. Knock that to twenty-one chickens and four ducks.
Stephanie Goss: Okay.
Tami Lind: So, we lost two chickens.
Stephanie Goss: As you
Tami Lind: I know, stupid
Stephanie Goss: Life's hard. Life's hard in Indiana.
Tami Lind: know. The, you know, living in a cornfield, having open air, hawks are like, ooh, this is a nummy chicken nugget. Like, so that's sometimes what happens. Sadly.
Stephanie Goss: But so, okay. So, the other fun facts that I find, like, fascinating and part of why I'm so excited to have you on the podcast. So, is that you, not only have you lived in Indiana your whole life, right? But you have been in working as a technician or working in vet med at Purdue the whole time that you have been in vet med.
Tami Lind: Well, yes and no. So, I have been in vet med since I was like 15, 16. And so like I did, you know, I started out as the bottom, did the kennel work and then I did boarding and then went into a room and then did the assisting thing. And then I didn't even know what a vet tech was. And because I, worked in a vet clinic, but they didn't have that text.
They had, you know, they, they just had support staff and the doctors were doing everything. Like they were doing, they're the ones drawing blood. They were the ones that was doing all the paperwork. They're the ones that was talking to the clients. So, I had no idea, you know, whatever tech was. And so, then I came down to Purdue for college cause I thought I wanted to be a vet.
And then my advisor was like, so what do you like about vet med? And I was like, I like the hands on, the nursing care, the talking to the clients and all that stuff. And they were like, you don't want to be a vet. And I was like, what? And they're like, no, you really just want to be a vet tech. And I was like, what?
And so then I explored that whole thing. So then went to school. Got my bachelor's degree in veterinary technology in 2010, but in 2009, like you can graduate with your associates and get your license. And so I went, once I, you know, once I hit the college realm, I was like, I need a job because I am a person that has to be busy all the time, no matter what I'm doing.
So, I put myself 110 percent into whatever I'm doing. So, I went to, I, after I got my associates, I did a I did a stint in general practice and did general practice with rehab and was also a student worker at Purdue. And then in 2010, I decided that GP just was not like I needed to like do something more.
I'm always someone that always wants to go like, okay, I hit this bar now, which bar can I hit next? And so, I was like, I could work at Purdue. And so, I went back and once I graduated with my bachelor's, I automatically went into Purdue with my bachelor's. So, my full-time vet tech career, yes, I have always worked at Purdue and has stayed.
Stephanie Goss: And, so you became an RVT and worked at, the hospital. And so, what, like, you know, when you're working in a veterinary, a teaching hospital, there's all kinds of departments and options for you to kind of explore as a team member, what where, kind of what was that journey like for you once you started at Purdue, where, did you end up?
Tami Lind: Yeah. So, when I started in the ICU in the ER department, obviously, because that's where I have stayed. And we had like five people working. I think it was, you know, for the 24 hours, we didn't have an emergency service at that point. We kind of just started it at night. And so, the people like we would Just take emergencies like in the ICU, you know, doing it old school and then so I was a tech for about a year because I was like, I'm gonna fix this like I'm gonna I'm gonna help this place.
I'm going to grow it. And you know, being a new grad going into a academic facility was different because you're where the student and now you're teaching your teaching on the floor. But you were just a student, and so that was a little weird, like, doing that transition, because I still knew the DVM class, and I still knew the tech class below me, but now I'm trying to teach them, and also, like, you know, you're kind of friends with them at the same time, because you're all the same age so that was a little, that was interesting, but it's fun, because you're also still learning with them, And so you could still teach the stuff that you have learned you know, along the way, but they're also teaching you how to teach.
And so that, that was a lot of fun for me. And so I was there. So, I was a technician, like an ICU ER technician for a year. And then my criticalist came to me and was like, hey, I think you would make a really great supervisor and I was like 23 years old and I was like heck yeah, cuz you know me. I'm gonna reach I hit a bar, let me just stop it
Stephanie Goss: Right. Huh. Yeah. This is something I haven't tried. Let's try this.
Tami Lind: this so, I became the supervisor of ICU and ER 24-hour facility when I was 23 years old and all of those people were, you know, my friends and all of that. And now, hey, I'm their supervisor. Like it was like a overnight type of situation. That was that we'll talk about that transition. I'm sure at some point, cause that was a mess.
You know, just trying to learn how to lead at the same time as. You know, navigating all the relationships, learning the job, yeah, it was yeah, it was a nightmare, but
Stephanie Goss: Well, and that's what you're, so you're we're doing this podcast for a, because I just want to talk to you. And we were saying, Oh, this is probably going to be a, and he's going to be like, watch the clock, Stephanie, because it's gonna be a long one. Cause we could talk all day. And you're going to be doing a workshop at our upcoming uncharted practice manager summit, because we were talking as a team about you know, Content ideas.
And I said, hey you know, one of the questions that I get the most is as a manager from younger managers who are just getting started is how do I navigate, especially if you grew up in the hospital or you've been there for a long time, how do you navigate making that transition from being friends?
And coworkers to being the boss, especially if like you, it happens really quickly, you know? And I think over I know over the last few years; I've gotten more and more of those questions especially as the landscape of. Veterinary medicine has changed, and we've seen a lot of corporate consolidation.
You know, if there isn't a practice manager in place when a practice is bought, that's usually part of the sale, right? And so, they're like, someone has to be willing to take this on. And so, they usually, like, unfortunately, the process usually is, let me look at the team. Who's the technician who's been here the longest? Hey you, Tami, you want to become the practice manager?
Tami Lind: you're like here you got it with no training.
Stephanie Goss: been here the, you've been here the longest. You know everybody, like,
Tami Lind: You have great technical skills You have great people skills. You might be an extrovert like here. Here you go I know I’ve been getting so many questions about that at my lectures and stuff because There's so many people that are going into manager like managerial positions that have not had any managerial training whatsoever and people just know that they get the job done And so then they think that they can lead at the same time, like getting the job done.
So yeah, that's, it's crazy.
Stephanie Goss: and I think you and I like, I certainly feel like you've been successful and I feel like I have had success in my career as well. And at the same time, like, a big part of what, why I love what I do now in focusing on education and focusing on training with hospitals and teams is because I don't want anybody to have to learn under fire the way that I did.
You know, like I, I just, I want, I don't want people to have to make the same mistakes that I did getting thrown into that deep end because unfortunately that is how a lot of the times we, hire and it's certainly not the smartest in any way, shape or form. And so, I think that's you and I have that in common, like that passion for teaching and education and really like trying to help change the profession in a, better way recognizing like, okay, if we can't change the behavior here, like if we can't make people realize this is a bad idea, like you can't just take someone who has really good technical skills, who's really smart and might be a really good people person and throw them into a position with No training, no support, no plan and, have them succeed without having a lot of failure along the way.
And so, I'm super excited for, your session at the practice manager summit and we'll drop the the info in the show notes for all of you guys. And. It was funny because we were talking about, you know, the, conference coming up. And I said, Hey, you want to come on the podcast with me because a you're fun and I love talking to you.
But also be, I was like, Hey, I got this mailbag question. And I told you last night is really funny. I have to admit to our podcast listeners a little bit of a dirty secret, which is I say this with all the kindness and love in my heart, and I am so appreciative of the crazy ass people like you, Tammy, and Megan, and all of our colleagues who run 24 7 ER or specialty practices because running a hospital like that is my absolute biggest nightmare as a practice manager.
Like I, that is the job. You could not pay me enough doll hairs in the entire world. You could not promise me enough trips to Disney to make me, want to take a position in that environment because it is like, the job is hard enough. I feel like in GP and it is I have a lot of empathy for, you and our colleagues because working in a 24 hour setting, working in E.R. certainly. And but specialty as well. There's so much more emotion on in the team in the clients. You've got, you know, high cost bills. You've got challenges. I mean, everybody has staffing challenges, but You have a unique challenge when you're talking about Monday through Sunday, 24 hours a day, you know.
And so, this, we got a mailbag question from an, in a 24 hour practice manager, and I was like, I need somebody, who knows this life, who's going to jump into this with me. So, you know, Tammy and I are going to run through it Andy and I always do. So, we got this mailbag question and it was from a practice manager who's running a large 24 hour facility.
They have both in ER service and specialty services. And they said, you know, staffing in the ER is a perpetual challenge. Like hiring is, hard for everybody and it's a pretty large facility. So they're talking about a hundred plus team members that they're kind of trying to keep staffed on a regular basis.
And so when you have a group that large, they said, you know, we have some very distinct friend groups within that. And I can imagine that, like if you're working overnights, you hang out with the overnight crew, you know, cause you're on the same schedule and you're who else is a vampire and sleeping during the day and up at night.
Right. Like that's, that made sense to me. And so their challenge lies in the fact that these groups are you know, not cause it's not causing problems. It's not causing drama. Like everybody gets along. And there are some of the groups that have started to request time off together because they're, you know, they're on the same schedules and they're trying to go to concerts together or travel together or go to conferences together.
And so, the manager was like, you know, I get it because I have friends within our team actually, and I would like to be able to do things. with them as well. And I'm really struggling because I know that I have a responsibility as the practice manager to the business and keeping the business running efficiently and effectively.
And I also want to keep the team happy and I don't want to lose team members because I need, I desperately need them and staffing and hiring is a problem. And they were like, I basically feel caught between a rock and a hard place because if I accommodate their requests for time off, then we often run short handed or we have problems on service by not having a few hands on deck and if I tell them no, then they get frustrated and it causes you know, I they throw people have threatened to quit There's drama often especially if you say yes to one person, but say no to another then they're both pissed Then you have to deal with you know, the last minute call outs and all that kind of stuff And so they were like, you know, how do I navigate the line between making sure that the team gets the time that they deserve, like they're wonderful, and I want them to take care of themselves, and they understand wanting them to be able to have time off with their friends, and also how do I walk that line between that and also staffing the hospital and doing my job as the manager to run it the business and run it really well. And they were like, I don't, I want to excel and I want to keep growing as a manager. And I know that being a manager means making hard decisions, but also I want to keep my friends.
Tami Lind: Yeah, right.
Stephanie Goss: And so I love their, signature, which was sincerely a balancing act practice manager
Tami Lind: I know it was really cute.
Stephanie Goss: I love it so much. I love it. And so I got this, email and I sent it to Tami and she was like, Oh my God, I know something about this. Mmhm,
Tami Lind: Cuz you know, it's so hard because you want like Purdue you know, academia gives so much PTO. So we have, you know, 22 sick days and 350 hours of vacation and all of this. And I want people to use it. And you know, but then the business side of me is like, if nobody shows up to work tomorrow because they all took it off, then they're not going to get a paycheck because we're going to have to shut down.
So, you know, we have to, But like I said, like she said, we have to walk this fine, line and I love my staff dearly and I tell them that I want them to take vacation. But when they first start day one, because you know, I, every single time day one, I give them a list of expectations. So all of my expectations, you know, it's too, it's, you know, policy things. It's, you know, I expect you to treat the students with respect. You know, I expect but then one of my expectations on there is, you know, you are required to give me 30 days notice of a vacation. And then I say in that. Then I have the policy that I have attached with it and I give that policy that is 30 days in advance I'm I only allow one person on the overnight to be gone one person during the day to be gone and then You know, they can figure that accordingly because the scheduling system that we have, they can see who's off and who's not, and then I have blocked days so that, you know, if two people have already called out, then I've blocked that day.
But then you still have the people that are going to come to you and be like, no, I'm just telling you I'm taking this day off. And so, as a manager, like you kind of get put in a rock and a hard place because you're like, no, I really want you to take vacation. I was like, but can you help me figure out like, how can we work together so that you could still have this day off?
And, you know, I feel like sometimes, people put all of this pressure on managers, like, especially in a 24 hour facility, like you, you're, you know, you're going to have to find coverage for me and I would love to do that. But I also, if I'm unable because of how short staffed we are, I also, as a human being cannot be there 24/7.
And, so I've done that before because, you know, cir circumstances where, you know, someone's. Grandmother died. And so they had to go to a funeral and then we didn't have anybody on the overnight. So yes, I have done, you know, major stints of, you know, long, long days. But as long as I, you know, show empathy and tell them, yeah, I want you to have this day off.
Let's figure out how you can have this day off. And so, a lot of the times I switch people because they're on a rotating schedule already. So, they work, you know, three months of three months of, you know, Monday through Thursday, and then they'll work three months of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or, and they work four tens or I make it so like, okay, is your life better?
If we do three thirteens, can we fit this into the schedule so that works? So I always work with their schedule. And them to see how we can get their most PTO days off. Even if we're short staffed, because that's when I want them to take PTO the most, is when we're short staffed, because I don't want them
Stephanie Goss: because that's when everybody's stressed
Tami Lind: right, everybody's stressed and burnt out, and so I'm like, you need to take some time off.
Like, please take some time off, so let's figure out how you can take some time off. And if it does mean, like, me moving around my days, then I move around my days too. So yeah, it’s a lot.
Stephanie Goss: Yeah. Okay. So, so, so let's start because there's so many things in what you just shared to unpack. And a lot of them, a lot of them come in you know, like action steps in terms of like systems and processes to have in place. And I want to, I definitely want to work through those from a, I think from a headspace perspective, like starting at the very top is just recognizing that like, you're not alone, like it is being a, leader involves making hard decisions and I think that I, think that I knew that. It's like, people tell you being a parent is the hardest job in the world, and like, you say that you know, but until you actually, like, do the thing, you don't know how hard it is.
And I distinctly remember the first moment as a parent, where I was just sitting there, and I, it was like, holy shit, this is what they meant about it being so hard. And I think it's the same way about being a manager, where you know that it means making hard decisions, and you know that you're going to have to grow up a little bit, especially if you're becoming a manager as a young adult.
But I think until you actually do it, and you have to be the one to say no to somebody's time off, or to do the hard thing, like, I think you don't actually know how hard that really is. And then for me like you, I I worked my way up through the team. And so I was friends with my team and it made it doubly hard to look at people that you were friends with first and make those hard decisions and deal with the emotions and recognizing that they did.
they understood that you were in a hard position. But also they're mad at you because they expected you to see their side because you're friends, right? Like, that's what friendship is about, supporting each other and, understanding. And so I think that there is this, like, uns for me there was this unspoken thing from some of my friends of like, well, I just kind of figured that you would see it my way.
And it's like, I do see it your way and I understand. And also my job is to balance
Tami Lind: Yeah.
Stephanie Goss: for the, business. And so I think I think that's the hard part is and the important part to remember is like, it is hard. And also you're not alone because everybody who is a manager, I think goes through this in some way, shape or form of being alone and feeling alone at the top because you're having to make those hard decisions.
Tami Lind: Yeah. And I made the mistake when I first, I mean, mistakes are how I learned. You know how to became how to become a manager and the first like month of me being a manager because there was it was a really toxic environment when I first came in, like, you know, everybody was talking bad about people, the overnight people were falling asleep, like in the middle of the ICU.
And so, you know, we, I was like, Okay, how can we figure out how can we all get together and figure out how how to, you know, get along basically because nobody was getting along. And so we decided to go to Nine Irish Brothers, which is a bar in town, like to have dinner. And dinner turned into every like the whole staff drinking, which then I was the only one that wasn't drinking because I was like, this is going to, this is going to be real bad.
And so then, We ended up, they ended up like basically just telling me everything that I needed to fix, like it was, you know, seven o'clock on a Friday night.
Stephanie Goss: Just a vent session.
Tami Lind: Yeah. And it was just a vent session. And so here I am this young 23 year old technician, new manager had a napkin on in front of me and was writing all of this stuff down.
And then I went home and I cried because I looked at my husband and was like. I don't know if I can do this. Look at all the stuff that I need to fix. And he, like, looked at me and was like, “You really are going to base your whole thing on a bar napkin?” Like, And I was like, “Oh, yeah, I guess, I guess you're right.”
Stephanie Goss: for perspective, right?
Tami Lind: But, you know, it's like little things like that, that you just, like, have to take a step back and be like, okay. What is the solution? Like, but you have to, you can't go to a bar and get those that get that stuff done. Those are done in one-on-one sessions of like writing stuff down and being like, okay, what is your solution?
Like, what do you want to happen from this? Because venting sessions and solution sessions I think are totally two totally different things because I, you know, as a young manager, every time somebody vented to me, I thought I needed to. Fix it because I was a people pleaser and I wanted everybody to be happy.
And so now I'm a definite, like if somebody comes and talks to me, I am like, is this, do you need me to do something about this? Like if they sit there and they, you know, obviously unload,
Stephanie Goss: Or am I just listening?
Tami Lind: Do you need me to listen or do you need me to fix? And a lot of, 90 percent of the time, it's just, I need you to listen.
Okay. But you know, a lot of the times it's like, okay, I need you to, sometimes it's, I need you to fix this. Okay. Then what is your solution to this problem and how can we both work together to fix it? Because I'm not supposed to be a fixer, even though my boss, who is Megan Brashear, tells me all the time that I can't fix everything.
Stephanie Goss: It's true.
Tami Lind: Still, part of me wants to fix everything.
Stephanie Goss: cause you're the, you don't lose the people pleasing. Like that is, that's part of who you are.
Tami Lind: You can't control everything.
Stephanie Goss: You cannot, especially, as, a manager. Okay. So, like first just recognizing that you're not alone. And I would say for, me learning how to solve problems like this got immeasurably Easier and if nothing else better because I had other people who understood when I found a community of managers.
And so for me, that was my local it's funny. I, started in a mom and pop GP it was a husband and wife team and they had an office manager who. Had kids that had gone to school with me and who was you know, just one of the kindest people ever. And she had this group of it was mostly the wives of the veterinarians who owned all the other local practices.
And technically they were the managers, but they, you know, it was like as they were the wives and she would go to lunch. And before I came on board, it was a lot of you know, talking about the kids and grandkids and that kind of stuff. And then when they started bringing me along in the practice, it was like, hey, I want to hear how you have dealt with these kind of challenges because I don't know what I don't know. And that gave me I'm still friends with some of those women today. Some of the best mentorship that I've ever had in terms of facing challenges in the practice, but finding that community of peers, even if they don't look like yourselves, and that was hard for me because I'm like, I'm this 20 something kid who's going to lunch with all these like 60 year old women 50 year old women, and it didn't, necessarily feel like it was a click at that, in that sense, but what I realized afterwards is that I wasn't trying to find friends.
Like, I had friends on the team. I wasn't trying to find friends. I was trying to find a community of people who were also doing my job and understood the challenges that came along with it.
Tami Lind: so yeah, I had to find people outside cause we have managers like within the university. So like, you know, surgery manager and we had an internal medicine manager and those guys were so helpful with like the, you know, Day to day stuff. So like, you know, Hey, this person has a bereavement question.
Like, what do I ask for that? But it was the emergency stuff that they didn't really know how to handle.
Stephanie Goss: Understand, yeah.
Tami Lind: And so, I reached out, I actually reached out to Megan a few times. I reached out to even somebody that worked down in Indianapolis. You know, just, I would find Facebook groups and I, would go on there and be like, hi, I'm new.
What do I do about this? Like I had somebody, I had one of my techs call me every name in the book, like, every swear word you can ever think of. And my, like my supervisory team that was in the building was just like, Oh, that's not good, but you can't really do anything about it. And I was like, I can't. And they're like, no, I was like okay.
So, then I go to like the Facebook group and I'm like. I just got called all of these things, like, I mean, I'm guessing she's real mad about something. So, can we like, unpack this? And how do I move on from,
Stephanie Goss: What do I even do with this?
Tami Lind: I do with this? Because, you know, all the managers that I was working with was just meh, you know?
It happens sometimes, and I was like, what?
Stephanie Goss: no.
Tami Lind: yeah, so you gotta figure out which people you blend with, too. Because you know, certain managers will do things totally differently and it works for them, but it may not work for you.
Stephanie Goss: I love that. I think that's one of the things that I love the most about getting involved in in peer groups and in organized work, organized medicine from the management side is getting to hear the different perspective. And I know like I always, that's like I said, I, you couldn't pay me enough money to run a 24-hour practice, but I always appreciated the perspective because we would have these meetings locally and it started with just a small group of managers.
And as a lot of those wives and as their husbands kind of retired. And the kind of the new guard came in along with me and it was a lot of younger people. The group expanded and I remember hearing stories from the manager of the big 24-hour specialty ER practice and I was just like, my life seems so simple.
Tami Lind: like, oh my god, and you know, I don't want people to think either, like that, you know, I've been doing this job for 13 years, but I haven't had bad days. Like, burnout is real when you supervise a, you know, 24-hour because you, again, if you're a people pleaser and you feel like you need to fix everything, like, you cannot fix a 24 hour facility, you know, period.
Like, so you have to work with what you're given and, you know, sometimes, you know, you just have to roll with the punches and realize that you can't fix everything. And so that's really hard.
Stephanie Goss: Yeah, I think, and I think, I'm so glad you said that because I think that's really the last piece from a headspace perspective is that generally there are a lot of people in veterinary medicine who are people pleasers, but also in a management role, especially in the, to, to our writer whose like, you know, I'm friends with people and I care about them and I want to take care of them and it's really easy to put Everybody else's needs first and you were talking earlier about, you know, filling in when it's needed and I think especially as a young manager, the line between when it was needed and when I was influenced to do it or chose to do it was very blurred and there was lots of times where I probably didn't have to do it, but I, chose to do it anyways and fill in on the floor and there was no quicker path for me to burn out than trying to do my job, put everybody else's needs first, fill in on the floor, and before I knew it, I was, you know, I was working you know, 60, 70 hours a week and I was exhausted and I wasn't, able to do my job, my regular job. Well, I also wasn't good filling in from a relief perspective because I was tired and I was cranky and I wasn't giving it the, care and attention that it needed either. And you know, there, I, there are several periods in my career where I went through that.
And it's so funny because everybody's like, you know, I, it's weird having this podcast and doing the job that I do with Andy because I meet people at conferences and they're like, you know, I listened to you on the podcast and you know, you're, you've got a great, things to say.
And like, you just seem like the kind of manager that I would want. And I was like, I appreciate that. And also, please don't think that I have my shit together because I do not. and there, I know that I have been a horrible manager to work for at times. I also know that I have been a phenomenal manager to, to work for.
And it's, about finding that, that balance. But I think that was that was a thing for me is that. you know, people will be like, Oh, no, At my last practice, I got into that cycle where I was trying to do everything for everybody. And and I was burnt, I burnt myself out and I burnt my team out along the way.
And I did nobody any good. So I think the last piece of headspace you hit square on the head, which is like, you have to come to a place of acceptance with the fact that you cannot make everyone happy and being a leader is about making the hard decisions and in making those hard decisions, you are going to make people unhappy, including yourself sometimes, and so I think like Working on finding that acceptance and I will say like the best tool for me there besides finding a peer group that I could actually work through and to your point, hear how they do it and kind of figure out what my style was and maybe do I want to change things?
Do I want to adapt what I'm doing? Do I want to keep doing more of the same? The best thing for me was going to therapy and getting started on a regular, a regular talk therapy space where I could have a neutral third party to just kind of word vomit on. Then it's, for me, it's like, the satisfaction in, like, thinking about therapy is like, I'm shaking a box of puzzle pieces, and then I just throw it all out on the table.
And then I just move all the pieces around. And eventually it becomes clear, and it becomes a puzzle. And you know, but it takes that, like, someone else's table, you know, someone who has no, it's not my friends, it's not my partner, it's not my, you know, parents, because people who love us and care about us are going to, they are also people pleasers, they don't want to see us hurt.
And so, it's rare to have people who will tell you the straight up truth. And if you have those friends, like, please hold them close because they are amazing and wonderful people. And it's really easy to be like, no, of course not. you're wonderful. Even if I'm, as I'm listening to you say something, I'm like, Oh, that was a dick move, dude. Like, you know, but because that's what friends, that's what friends do. And so, I think being able to have that neutral person who you can talk things out with is really, real helpful because things will get hard. It will, be hard. It will be rough. And being able to take care of myself was really, important from a, burnout perspective, for sure.
Tami Lind: Yeah. And I think, you know, me doing this for 13 years, I’ve gone in that downward spiral of, I need to fix everything and I need to be here for everybody. And I need to, you know, work seven days a week and I need to go into work and I need to do this. and sometimes, you know, you have to catch yourself like realizing that this is happening again, because like right now, I'm, you know, down a bunch of technicians because it's a specialty hospital, ER, you know, you go through the cycle and, you know, we are hiring, we actually are hiring a lot of people, which is amazing, but I, right now, am in this cycle of I have to be there all the time, I have to do this, like, I feel bad, they need PTO, I'm gonna sacrifice myself, I'm gonna do this, and, but I'm realizing that I am not a good, like, I need to set an example for them, and if I can't be a good manager, to them because I'm working all these hours and doing all these things and you know, trying to be all to everybody.
And if I burn out, then they're also going to see that burnout, which then nobody, that doesn't benefit anybody either. So, you know, you just have to dig yourself out of the hole. And I've been in the hole a few times because I'm a people pleaser and that's what I do. And so, I just, you know, you just got to pick yourself up and dig yourself out and go to therapy and talk to people and you know, try and figure out where your boundaries are to, you know, be like, Yeah, I am a manager of a 24-hour facility.
It is really hard. Now let's figure out how you can also protect yourself as well as protect your team. So yeah,
Stephanie Goss: Okay. So I love that. Let's take a quick break. And then you already started unpacking some of the action steps that I want to talk about. So let's take a quick break and then we'll jump in with some action steps for our writer because I think that piece is, the hard piece.
Tami Lind: yeah, sounds good.
Hey there, podcast listeners. I wanna take a second and talk to you about our leadership essential certificate. Now, some of you have heard, Andy and I talk about it on the podcast, but if you're new or if you haven't heard this before, I think it's really important, which is why I'm gonna share it with you now,
When our team sat down in the very beginning . We said, Hey, look, we really believe that there is a foundational truth here to build off of. And that is everybody that's a part of the Uncharted team, everybody that is a part of the uncharted community and finds us tends to believe that every single member of the practice has value and worth and deserves investment in.
That's number one. And number two is that everybody on the team is needed and needs to have some basic leadership, professional, personal development skills, and business development skills in order to help the practice and the team run as efficient, effective, and rockstar-ish as they can. And so, um, our team sat down and said, what would that look like?
What would be some of those things that we would want every member of the team to have access to in terms of learnings? And after the last years of doing content for Uncharted, Andy and I pulled together the best of hits in terms of those foundational level content and workshop questions and discussion questions, and we put it together in one awesome, if I do say so myself, awesome, awesome package.
And that is our Leadership Essentials Certificate. And so, if you were like, hey, this I would like my team to be maximally efficient. I would like them to be maximally effective. I would love them to learn how to be better communicators and how to work together as a team. We've got you. And if you're someone on a team listening to this right now, and you're like, Hey, I would like to do that.
We've got you to, there's the ability to take one module at a time. You can buy the whole certificate. You can take it online. You can take it in a hybrid version where you do some workshop in virtual cohorts, but you also asynchronously watch videos. You can even come and do the whole thing in two days live with our team.
And you can find out information about all of it at unchartedvet.com/certificates, that certificate with an S at the end, because there's more where that came from. And now back to the podcast. Oh, but don't forget to go sign up.
Stephanie Goss: Okay. So, let's, go back to where you started at the beginning because you gave us so much to unpack in terms of like, how do you actually approach problem solving this? And I think. The number one thing that you said that is a starting place for me is you have to have a plan before you need the plan.
And that's one of those things that as a manager, like hindsight is 20/20. And so if you're listening to this and you're like, great, but Stephanie, but I don't have a plan and I'm in the middle of this shit show, like how do I fix it? It's like recognizing if you're not there yet, make a plan. And if you are there, you know, like this is, these are the things that you kind of have to think about as you grow in your management journey.
And so, you were talking about kind of the, some of the processes and policies. That you implemented so that there was some equity and you know, fairness is such a subjective word for people, but that there is some equality across the board. And I think you know, you said when you have someone new who comes on, that you sit down with them at the very beginning and you talk about your expectations, including the expectations around policies. And I think as a manager, like, that is so, so important is making sure that the team understands policy. They understand what your expectation is as well.
And so, I think if you're a manager who doesn't, have policies around time off in to you mentioned the length of time ahead that they have to request time off, which is really important and helps you stay out of those holes like they can't come to you the week before
Tami Lind: Right.
Stephanie Goss: and be like, Hey, I need the time off.
And you also have to recognize that they will, because shit will come up. Someone will be like, my brother decided to get married next Friday and I need the day off, or I won tickets to a concert and I'm going to go whether you say yes or not. Like those things will happen. And so, you need to be prepared for them.
And it doesn't mean that you need to be the solution, but you need to be able to tell them what the solution is. And I love how you called that out in saying. Okay, who's going to cover for you? You know, like that. And that's one of those things that we forget because we were people pleasers and we want to be like, sure, I'll cover your shift for you.
Tami Lind: Right. Yeah. And you know, it's hard because they're just like, well, I don't have anybody else to cover. And I was like, okay, so let's look at this together. Let's look at the schedule together. Can we ask this person to go, you know, to come in two hours later so that it covers this gap? I was like, you can have the day off as long as.
This gap is covered. So even if it's like two hours, like, all right, let's cover this two hours and I, you know, I will periodically, like, if it's like, you know, something out of the blue, like, oh, hey, my brother's getting married, you know, on a whim you know, and there is that two hour gap, then as a manager, I'm like, sure I can cover two hours.
Like, that's not that big of a deal. But if I've already worked like a 20 hour day, I'm like, okay. Or if I already know that it's going to be a long day and, you know, I'm like, okay, like, let's work together to try and figure out who is going to work this shift. And so a lot of the times they totally respect that.
I mean, 99 percent of the time they're just like, yeah, I get that. Like there's patients to take care of, you know, there's the rest of the team because, you know, a lot of the times I'm like, you know, your team members will have. Stuff like this come up to so let's how can we all work together to try and figure out how we can get this person off because you know, everybody on my team respects everybody else on the team.
I have a really great team right now. And so they just all are like, Alright, yeah, like you want to go you want you need this day off. Let's figure out how we can get you this day off. So it's a team effort, not just the manager has to fix it.
Stephanie Goss: Well, and I think you mentioned something there and something in the beginning when we were talking about it, that was really key for me as a manager in terms of figuring out how to have that equity, which was rotations. And so like, to your point, if everybody cares about each other and you're all there and you do have that team, that sense of team. It's really easy to be like, we're just going to give and take, like, I'm going to give here so that I can take, leader in it and it benefits everybody. And I think one of the things that changed things for me was recognizing when I first started, I worked in a smaller clinic and we had a smaller team and we grew pretty exponentially while I was there. And when you have like four people, you can probably have a set schedule that doesn't change. If you're in a GP and you have, or one doctor practice, and you've got like four team members, okay, you can cover Monday through Friday, you know, maybe depending on what hours you're open and everybody can have the same schedule and it doesn't change.
And if somebody's off, then you just, or you, work short or whatever. When you get to be a bigger team, giving people the set schedule becomes harder and harder. And so the only way that I ever found to deal with it and to, especially like from a GP perspective, to deal with the dreaded, who's going to work Saturdays if you're open Saturdays, or who's going to work the evening shifts if you're open.
And so I think that while it's nice, if people volunteer, and I imagine you working in 24 hour, like, they're, I don't understand these people, because I'm not that way, but there are people who want to work overnights, like, that's their, they are night people, and they want to be vampires, and that's their jam.
There are also people who are like, I would rather work a swing shift, because it fits for my, schedule or my kids, you know, school schedule or whatever. And I think if you can accommodate people's preferences, that is wonderful. And the only way that I ever found to create equity was to have a rotation.
And no matter whether people loved their schedule or not, everyone had to go through the rotation. Because otherwise you get into the scenario when you have a big team where someone is always someone is always pissed off or someone is always pissed off at other people because there's an exception to the rule.
And so, I think from a manager perspective, like, knowing what the rules are and sticking to your guns and not making those exceptions will keep you out of hot water. And for me, figuring out the rotation, I loved your idea of, like, doing it in three months. Chunks and that was kind of how I wound up doing it with a bigger team as well is like let's look at the next three months and I'm going to put you on a set of a schedule as I can over the three month period and then we're going to switch it up because it never, let's be real, nothing in vet med stays the same.
for big practices for longer than a quarter or two. Like, it just doesn't.
Tami Lind: Right. And, you know, everybody has their different personalities too. So like, you know, we have the rotation so that, you know, three months, they're not working weekends, three months, they are working weekends or three months, they're working nights and then three months, we put them on days and that, you know, obviously helps with the turnover rate too, because people see a light at the end of the tunnel.
And we're not going to put a brand new, you know, technician that had just graduated on weekend overnights by herself.
Stephanie Goss: Right.
Tami Lind: you know, we have that rotation so that people can experience all the stuff. But then you know, you want to also give them the flexibility of. Not working weekends and not, you know, dabbling in, you know, the well, this person has kids, you know, so it's easier for them to be on swings.
All right, let's keep them on swings. But then we still rotate them between weekends and days so that it's, you know, easy and here you go. But you're always going to have that turnover. And so how do you fix that turnover because in ER, you know, you, our schedules could change every month sometimes depending on the people that decide to leave.
And so, yeah, like you said before, you just have to be prepared for that scenario, but you can never fully be prepared for those types of scenarios,
Stephanie Goss: No. And I think that's the last piece for me that is really big. And you kind of talked about it in the beginning as well, which is, okay, you have to have a plan, a backup plan. And I would say you also probably have to have a backup for your backup. And Andy and I have talked about this on the podcast before, I think, but always like one of the things that I think we do where we do a disservice to our teams is when we don't plan for the time off that we want them to take.
And so most of us are like, yes, we want to give our team PTO and to your point, like you guys have more in academia than you do in probably a private practice GP, right? But one of the first lessons for me in terms of running a business was to sit down and look at my team. And say, how much time does everybody have off and then figure out if everybody takes all the time off that they get, how much holes do I have?
And the reality was on a team my size, I had a full-time position, like if ever, if no, let's, you know, forget the people taking time off at the same time, because it always winds up happening. But. Like if I put them back-to-back throughout the year, it was a whole year's worth of time off for my size team.
And so I was like, Oh, so my problem is actually, I need to figure out how to hire an extra person to cover all that time off because I do not, it is not an acceptable solution to work short staffed constantly. Like when there's an emergency, it makes sense. Everybody pitches in, but when it's constant, that's when the team mutinies.
And so I think figuring out what your. Plan is for the coverage on a regular basis, which I also recognize is a little bit easier said than done cause hiring is hard. But like that should be something that we all strive towards as managers. And then the other piece of it is having a plan, a backup plan for that backup plan.
Because the reality is your relief person won't be available, someone will get pregnant when somebody already has a two-week European vacation scheduled like that is just. reality. And so, figuring out to your point, what the boundaries are and how you approach that as a manager so that you can maintain fairness and equity.
And I love your approach of, I'm not going to solve this problem for you. I will help you solve this problem. And I'm going to do that by sitting here and teaching you how to solve the problem. Because the next time I'm going to expect you to be able to solve it yourself because I'm going to help you and I'm going to show you, and I want you to learn because the expectation is, that.
You now know what my expectation is. And next time I want you to be able to just do it without having to ask me. You know, because if you come to me and you're like, Hey, I have this thing, I won concert tickets and I'm going to go to Seattle for two days and party my face off. I, and if you come to me and you're like, yeah, and I already talked to so and they're going to cover for me, I'm going to say, great, have fun!
Tami Lind: You have the best time!
Stephanie Goss: Right. But if it's a lot harder to have that, excitement and empathy and energy when somebody is like, yeah, I'm going to take time off and I don't really care how it gets covered, but I don't know what to do and I'm not going to deal with it. that is, the struggle bus. And that's where it takes the every bit of self-control as a manager to be
Tami Lind: Oh, yeah.
Stephanie Goss: Let's talk about this.
Tami Lind: Yeah. And then you see, you know, you see this stuff on social media about how my manager didn't approve my time off. And then, you know, everybody bashes the manager. So sometimes social media could not be great for a manager. But I feel like that's a whole nother podcast for a different day.
Stephanie Goss: I would totally agree with that actually. okay. So to, to summarize, cause we oh man, we jammed a lot into this episode. So, having, so from an action set perspective, you talked a lot about being transparent and being clear communicator and doing that right up front, which I love when you start team members, sitting down and laying out your expectations being open and honest with them about, Oh, Hey, look, this is gonna come up and when it does come up, I want, I just want you to understand, I, my, I am, I want to make everybody happy.
I want to support you guys. I want you to have time off. And also I have to keep the business running. And so here's the best way that I know how to do that, and I need your help to accomplish it. And so here's the policies and protocols and procedures, having a plan before we have to use it. Yes,
Tami Lind: It’s like emergency and triaging. Like, you know, you have to anticipate the doctor's needs. You have to anticipate what's going to happen with your patient. You just have to anticipate what's
Stephanie Goss: Be a mind reader.
Tami Lind: It's fine.
Stephanie Goss: But how do you do that? You figure out how to have some fair policies that have equity built into them so that everybody is treated the same and you kind of, the rules, and then you have to really apply the rules. to everybody the same way and recognize that if you start making exceptions to the rule, always comes back to bite you in the ass.
Always. Even if you're doing it for the best of intentions, it always bites you in the end. So having fair policies figuring out some sort of planning and rotation so that everybody on the team shares in those challenges, both in covering time off, working the weekends, working nights, like, you know, trying to accommodate everybody's preferences and also making it very clear that was for me, I was like you, where I sat down and I'm like, okay, before even at the interview and then part of their.
Employment offer was that they understood that they, if we were open Saturdays, that they understood that they would be required to be part of the Saturday rotation as an, as part of their employment. So, then nobody could ever come back because I learned the hard way. Nobody could ever come back and say, Oh, you never told me that I had to work Saturdays.
Tami Lind: I did. Yes, I did.
Stephanie Goss: Then having, a plan, a backup plan, figuring out how you're going to like cover that stuff on a regular basis. So for you having a large team and also having more time off as part of learning the business. Part of that should be an analysis of how much time off do I have? What does my coverage have to be like?
And do I have appropriate staffing levels so that I can sustain that time off? And I truly can mean it when I tell people I need you to take your time off because there's already a plan in place for how I'm going to cover. That and then having a backup plan for that plan because it always
Tami Lind: know, it's, yeah, it gets blown up.
Stephanie Goss: Everybody gets COVID at the same
Tami Lind: Right,
Stephanie Goss: in the water and everybody gets
Tami Lind: Never, yeah, I know.
Stephanie Goss: just, that's how it works, right?
Tami Lind: Yeah.
Stephanie Goss: okay. Tammy, this has truly been a pleasure. It has been so much fun. If you love Tammy, which you, Absolutely should. You should come check her out at the practice manager summit at I think today the day that this podcast comes out is your last chance to register.
So don't miss out. You should you should sign up for the thing today. And then if you if you are a technician if you are a manager and you're out and about at conferences Tammy does a lot of a lot of presenting as well. Well, and she's just super fun. And so, you should find her and you should get to know her and the crazy barnyard flock that is her life.
Tami Lind: Yes, tell me about it.
Stephanie Goss: Cause then they can, they too can send you chicken memes all day long.
Tami Lind: and I feel like that's, you know, part of a manager to like meet other managers and then you get to learn how to take care of yourselves. Like you have like this little group that you can all take care of each other because, you know, you need a little support group like we said before.
Stephanie Goss: This was so much fun. Thank you for being here. Take care everybody and have a fantastic rest of the week
Tami Lind: Bye everyone, thank you!