Job search complicated by personal circumstances

Published on January 15, 2012
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Drs. Warren & HepworthDr. Joshua D. Warren hasn't had a full-time job for a few months now.

But the 2011 graduate of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine doesn't blame the economy or his alma mater for his situation.

Currently, he's living in Ames, Iowa, with his fiancee, Dr. Kate L. Hepworth. She graduated in 2010 from Purdue. After an internship in Florida, she's in her first year of an equine medicine residency at Iowa State University. Dr. Warren followed her there this past fall and has been looking for a job ever since.

He found work not long after his arrival, when he provided care for an Arabian horse show in need of a veterinarian.

"I didn't think I'd be able to, because I didn't have supplies, but I got some from another veterinarian, so that was a good experience," he said.

Dr. Warren was able to pick up some relief work at an emergency referral center in nearby Des Moines. Soon he hopes to obtain a more steady paycheck. He's sent resumes to practices in Ames and Ankeny, a town half an hour away. He's also contacted ISU about a potential emergency medicine internship.

"The clinician was interested, but he was looking for funding and wasn't too optimistic about it," Dr. Warren said. If that doesn't work out, in Dr. Hepworth's third year of residency, he's thinking about doing a small animal internship.

"At this point, I've been looking a little around the area, but I haven't branched out into Des Moines, and there are lots of practices there," he said.

Dr. Warren ultimately would like to work with zoo animals and wildlife. He wants to complete a residency in the field following his fiancee's time in Ames. Dr. Hepworth says she would like to work at an equine referral practice.

"We'll just have to look eventually. It's hard for two positions. We'll have to be in a big city where there's a referral center and a zoo," Dr. Warren said. "We haven't thought about it too much."

For now, the two are focusing on planning their August wedding. With more than $120,000 in student debt between them, they're constantly reminded to keep their costs down. They have potluck dinners with other residents, for example, on Sunday nights or go out for a drink together but eat at home. His parents help the couple occasionally when money is tight.

Dr. Warren has hired a student lending organization, Graduate Leverage, to help him deal with the financial burden. It's working with him to get unemployment deferment in hopes he won't have to pay back any loans right now.

"Funds are getting lower, because I haven't had too much work. I hope in December (2011) there will be more places that need relief work," he said.

Despite the financial pressures and continuing job search, Dr. Warren is happy where he is. He says he could have stayed on at a clinic in Fort Wayne, Ind., where he's from originally and had been working initially out of veterinary school. He also had a call from a practice in Florida after posting his resume online.

"I think there are jobs, but if you're tied down to one place, it makes it harder," Dr. Warren said.

He said a lot of veterinarians are worried about the effect of the economy on their job prospects, but he thinks positions are available, depending on location and one's willingness to relocate. His own search was delayed by circumstances, waiting until he knew where Dr. Hepworth would find a residency.

"I think eventually it'll all work out, and, hopefully, I'll find something.," Dr. Warren said. "If not, I've still got the internship idea. I've been thinking about it more. Even though it's a low salary, it's a steady income."