I’m 10.5 years out of vet school, 8.5 years out of business school (don’t ask) and 30-something (please don’t do the math). All this with a total of 20-plus years in the work force, and I’ve just been fired for the first time in my life. It’s shocking!

This is the reality for those of us who don’t own a practice: job security is not always what you would expect it would be with 10 years of higher education (including two graduate degrees from ivy league schools).

The saga of my dismissal is not a very exciting one. Let it suffice to say that my goals for my patients were not in line with those of my non-veterinarian, bottom-line oriented, office-manager-mentality employer. Essentially, I was insubordinate. I would refer cases to specialists when our hospital did not have the technical ability to provide the best care possible to my patients.

My referrals would incense my employer, whose favorite axiom was: "A case referred is money out the door." Never mind that Fluffy needs a total hip replacement (which I have not the technical skill or equipment to provide) and is not ever going to get one if her parents don’t know their options. Informing Fluffy’s parents (repeatedly) finally got me fired. Just call me funny about the informed consent concept.

Such is the real world of medicine. Even veterinary medicine. Money has a way of talking too much when the larger concerns of an individual’s health and well-being are at stake. Later entries will no doubt focus more on this issue but, for now, let it suffice to say that the nasty side of the human medical industry invades veterinary medicine as well.