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27 Reviews
27 Reviews
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Ed Sayres
17 Ratings

    Great Mission, but Toxic Work Environment

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    Former Employee - Animal Care Technician in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Animal Care Technician in New York, NY

    I worked at ASPCA full-time (less than an year)


    The positive aspect of working for the ASPCA is exactly what you'd expect it to be: working with animals, and feeling a deep sense of pride and accomplishment as you watch many of them transform from frightened and neglected/abused to loving pets. A con for some, but you want to take all the animals home! The benefits are also nice as a FT employee.


    Sadly, I found the negatives outweighed the positives at The A. The salary as an Animal Care Tech makes it, without a doubt, impossible to pay rent in NYC; this causes the necessity for people to work double, triple and even more shifts in a row which leads to a stunning decrease in work ethic. Headquarter's location is the most inconvenient place in Manhattan, being on 92nd between 1st and York, and is at minimum, a 15 minute walk to the 456 train line (which is currently the only train on the east side). If you are a full-time employee, you earn paid time off for every hour you work; this seems fine, until you learn sick days are included in this, so if you get sick, you don't get time off. This causes sick people to come in anyway so that they don't lose their vacation time.
    The job is extremely high stress and very physically and emotionally tolling. 8-hour shifts are not really 8 hours, because before and after every shift, you must complete rounds; while this is necessary, it means you must stay late every day and you do not get paid for this time. If you work the 8am-4pm shift, you are blessed, as the 4pm-midnight, 4am-noon or midnight-8am shifts force you to be nocturnal, and prevent you from having any kind of life outside of the institution; commuting home at 12:30AM is not fun. Schedules are not at all flexible, and despite the fact that when offered the job, I was told there would be room for advancement quickly, I was denied every time I asked (and I'm positive they had no problem breaking my union contract).
    Lastly, and most importantly, the work environment among Animal Care Technicians is extremely toxic. The majority of the staff is Latino, and there are cliques based on racial and class lines. Gossip runs rampant. Employees speak Spanish to one another in group settings to talk gossip about those who don't speak the language. Management is rarely on the floor and so the only way your boss knows about your work is through your co-workers' feedback. In my personal experience, co-workers would be nice to my face and I would later hear them trash-talk me when they thought I wasn't around. As a result, my manager had a poor opinion of me, despite the fact that I felt I worked harder than all of my colleagues. It even reached levels of harassment and bullying--not just for me--although HR did not consider it to be. By the end of my time working at the ASPCA, I was so depressed and stressed out, I had lost 30lbs, I couldn't sleep, was breaking out with cystic acne, and hadn't seen family or friends in weeks. I am truly glad I no longer work there, and I wish I had known all of this before I had taken the job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more hands-on. It's really easy to sit behind a desk and let feedback come to you, but that feedback will not be accurate when people have ulterior motives. Don't hold biases against people; just because men tend to be stronger than women doesn't mean that women should be limited to working with cats and men with dogs. Stop being so appearance-oriented. I understand that when tours of donors come through, you want the place to look good, but it should not interfere with the work that we have to do. Finally, listen to the staff. Many of my co-workers were very unsatisfied working at the ASPCA for the same reasons I was, and despite numerous meetings with my manager, no changes were ever made.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

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