Don’t Let Your Employer Make You Feel Guilty About Growing Your Career

You may feel as though you are in control of your career, including how you’re going to grow your career.

But how much are you really in control?

I ask this question because of recent situations that I have seen as an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter. These incidents revolved around organizations that very much wanted to keep one of their top employees from leaving in pursuit of a better employment opportunity. Of course, because top talent is in such short supply these days, especially within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, organizations are placing a high priority on keeping their current employees. That is one reason why counteroffers are so prevalent in the employment marketplace. However, organizations’ attempts to keep their top employees do not stop there.

‘Why are you telling me this?’

The incident that stands out to me involves a veterinary professional that our team was recently working with to find a new opportunity, because he was not fulfilled in his current role. He wasn’t being challenged and he wasn’t being given opportunities to grow, both within his organization and overall. As a result, he wanted to explore the other opportunities that exist in the marketplace. In a short amount of time, I was able to schedule an interview for him with one of our client’s companies. The interview went well, and the company made a fantastic offer to the candidate, one with a much higher starting salary, a hefty signing bonus, and tremendous opportunities for growth and development. Not only that, but the candidate would not have to relocate for the opportunity, so there was no moving involved. It seemed like the perfect situation.

As you might expect, the candidate’s current employer made a counteroffer to him, offering to dramatically increase his salary and provide him with a retention bonus. However, the organization went beyond that in its attempts to retain the services of this candidate. Company officials also told the candidate that if he left:

  • The organization, a veterinary hospital, would have to shut down completely.
  • Everybody else working at the animal hospital would lose their job.

That’s pretty much the epitome of trying to make someone feel guilty, telling them that if they leave their current employer to take a better job opportunity with another organization, their employer will have to shut its doors and everyone else working there will lose their job. Obviously, if the hospital wanted to retain the services of this veterinary professional, its officials could have simply made a counteroffer to him. They did not have to mention that if he did not accept the counteroffer, the hospital would have to close and everyone would lose their jobs. However, “Why are you telling me this?” is just one of the potential questions that the candidate might have asked company officials. Here are additional questions:

  • “Why are you just now increasing my base salary and offering to give me a bonus after I turned in my notice?”
  • “Have I been worth this much to the organization all along and you’ve been deliberately underpaying me for the value that I provide?”
  • “If I had not given my notice, would you have continued to underpay me for my value?”
  • “How has this hospital reached the point where the departure of one employee will lead to the downfall of the entire organization?”
  • “Does this mean that the hospital has been on a downward trajectory, and if so, how long has this been the case?”
  • “Does this mean I can never leave this company, because if I do, the hospital will shut down and everyone will lose their jobs? Or is just this one time that the hospital will shut down and everyone will lose their jobs?”

As I mentioned, these are just some of the potential questions that the candidate could have asked of their employer. And these are all legitimate questions that deserve legitimate answers. The problem, though, is that the candidate allowed their employer to make them feel guilty about their decision to pursue other employment opportunities and grow their career.

You’re allowed to make important career decisions . . .

As you might have already guessed, the candidate began to have doubts about his decision to leave for a better job opportunity. Were these doubts based solely on the counteroffer proposal that his employer made to him? Since the counteroffer proposal was not as good as the offer made by the new employer, at least in terms of the starting salary and bonus, it’s safe to assume that was not the case. What company officials said to the candidate about closing the hospital certainly had an effect on his thoughts regarding his decision.

This is why I posed the question at the top of this blog post: “How much are you really in control of your career?”

If you allow your current employer to make you feel guilty about pursuing other opportunities, then you’re not really in complete control of your career or your efforts to grow your career. This is akin to allowing other people to make decisions about what is best for you, both personally and professionally. In this instance, the employment opportunity that the candidate was pursuing had the potential to dramatically change both his personal life and their professional life. (The opportunity was literally “life changing” in nature, at least that is what the candidate told us)

As a professional, you should not have to feel guilty about wanting to grow your Animal Health or Veterinary career by exploring other employment opportunities, nor should your current employer make you feel guilty about doing so. You are allowed to make important decisions regarding your professional life and to do what is best for you and for your career.

If you’re looking to make a change or explore your employment options, then we want to talk with you. I encourage you to contact us or you can also create a profile and/or submit your resume for consideration.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.