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Thread: Engineer vs Vet

  1. #1

    Unhappy Engineer vs Vet

    Afternoon folks

    I need help making a decision that will affect the rest of my life, I'm currently a second year Aerospace engineering student but the spark has gone for the subject, I'm dreading going into Uni in the morning as well as graduating and having to go and find a desk job!

    An opportunity has arose for me to start on a veterinary medicine course come October, so I suppose the question is thus what the feck should I do?


  2. #2
    As the son of a vet of 40 years large and small practice I can give you my observations on the change to the "industry" over the past 30 years
    It is no longer a profession IMO, it is an industry and the prevalence of insurance and litigation has removed the need for skilled diagnosis and replaced it with testing and procedures that at no particular cost to the animal owner are now considered acceptable. ("Hip replacement on a 11 year old labrador?" "sure, why not!? you insurance will cover it!")

    As a recruiter and career coach I can offer you some wider advice from an industry perspective. ​happy to do this by PM if you want
    Last edited by bewsher500; 16-04-2013 at 13:36.

  3. #3
    Just had to fork out £190 for a blood test and swab for my bitch, become a vet and become rich :-)

    One day I want to be as wonderful as my dogs think i am .....

  4. #4
    I did a degree in mechanical engineering and after serving a couple of years in engineering ended up drifting into IT. If I had my time over again I'd love to do something like veterinary medicine. Both of your options are very worthy career paths and without the benefit of hindsight what have you got to lose by following your heart and going with what you are passionate about?


  5. #5
    if you are not happy with what your doing i would reccommend a change, nothing as bad as doing something you hate. good luck whatever you decide

  6. #6
    You want our help on a life changing decision, your mad
    If a desk job doesn't appeal why look for one, there is more to aerospace engineering than a desk job.
    But if the idea of becoming a vet appeals to you go for it, after all we will always have animals, we may not
    always have a British aerospace industry.


  7. #7
    I have a few vet friends, tough work, long hours, lots of night work early in their careers, challenging getting work in the locations/regions where you'd actually like to live, compensation/pay is 'ok', but hey, you're saving animals lives, that in itself is a beautiful thing. On the flip side, you might see a lot of terrifying and saddening things too, but it comes with the job.

    Aerospace engineer, R&D, Desk, in-field, good pay, good pension, ability to become a self employed consultant,,,sounds pretty good to me
    “One does not hunt in order to kill; one kills in order to have hunted.” - Jose Ortega y Gasset

  8. #8
    A few points..

    for the same entry grades,(more or less) Dr's and dentists earn more money. Dentistry also has far better hours. And the suicide rate in veterinary is very high and I'm just going to put it out there that veterinary is a harder course than the other two as well...

    but if your hating the course why stick to it?

  9. #9
    My wife's a vet, and I've seen both sides of it close up.

    It can be tremendously exhilirating: there's the thrill of the chase when it comes to puzzling out the diagnosis, and conducting successful treatments (surgical or otherwise). There's the real pleasure to be got from saving the animal's lives or improving their well being. There's the interaction with new people all the time, many of whom really appreciative. There's the cradle-to-grave (or blanket-to-shoebox) relationship you develop with certain anaimals.

    But it can be sould destroying. The general rule now is that new vets are employed as part of increasingly large and faceless corporate practices, where decisions are made on the basis of priorities set by head offices, shareholders or H&S goons with no real knowledge of (or indeed interest in) animal welfare (or, come to that, human welfare). Junior (and even mod level) vets have very little say in how to run thier cases, and often get denied the opportunity to see cases through from start to finish. Even when decisions are left to the individual, a great many treatable animals are put down because their owners can't afford them (no insurance) or can't be bothered. It can get very monotonous: for every exciting surgery, you have to preform 100 cat spays or rabbit tooth extractions. And finally there's just the depressing inevitability that about 85% of the problems you encounter are simply down to human idiocy: inbreeding, poor diet, poor excercise, neglect, ignorance etc etc.

    On balance, I would still say go for it. I quite often regret not having become a vet. I became a field biolgist instead, and ofetn think I'd have been happier doing something with real, tangible value. And that's one of the most appealing things about it: you get presented with a problem which almost always has a solution, there is no moral ambiguity about the value of what you're doing, and at the end of the day, you go home knowing that what you did had a measureable, tangible, meaningful impact that is almost always for the good. Very few preofessions can say that.

    I'll end by saying that there are astonishingly few good vets, so there's always room for more.

  10. #10
    There is a lot to be said for regular hours, fixed days off and no phone calls on the days off that you do get.

    I know the drama of swinging into action to save the day may have a certain appeal now but as you get older you can't keep that pace up any more and working long days or full months without a day off or a whole year with only two weekends off soon starts to wear pretty thin, especially when your mates no longer even bother to ask you out as they know you'll let them down. This isn't helped when you find your managers wander in about 1100, head out to the pub for an hour for lunch and then run off home about 1600 "to miss the rush hour."

    So, if you fancy going the "irregular hour" route which might be where you'd end up as a vet you need to have a good escape plan. Sitting in an office 9 - 5 doing calcs might be boring but at least some part of your life is your own and you can chose to live this part of your life and just turn up and do what you can while in work.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:

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