Episode #143 – “Helicopter Parents” in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #143 - “Helicopter Parents” in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast,  Animal Health Executive Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter, Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast episode, we’ll be talking about “helicopter parents.” Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea.  It is great to be here today and I have been looking forward to today’s podcast.

Julea: Stacy, you haven’t talked yet about “helicopter parents” on the podcast, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. However, it was probably only a matter of time before this was a topic of conversation on the show.

Julea:  Oh really? Why is that?

Stacy: Well, incidents of “helicopter parenting” have increased during the last several years, not just in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, but also in the employment marketplace overall.

Julea: Stacy, I know that many people in our listening audience probably know what the term “helicopter parents” means, but can you define it for us?

Stacy: Certainly. Basically, a “helicopter parent” is a parent who takes an excessive interest in the life of their child or their children, to the point where they’re overprotective. The word helicopter is used to describe this type of parent because they seem to hover over and around the child at all times, much like a helicopter hovers when it’s in the air.

Julea: I have a picture of this in my mind and I imagine that you’ve experienced this type of behavior as an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter?

Stacy: Yes, I have. Now, when I first became a recruiter more than 20 years ago, there were no “helicopter parents.” That phrase didn’t even exist. However, during the past five to 10 years, I’ve seen an increasing number of incidents.

Julea: Can you give an example of one of these incidents?

Stacy: Absolutely. Just recently, a job seeker’s father called me to ask about helping his daughter find a job. And this is something that has happened numerous times during the past several years, a parent calling me or contacting me through email to ask me to help their child. This didn’t happen in the past. The adult child would be the person to contact me about their own job search in the past.

Julea: Stacy, why do you think this is the case? Why do parents engage in this type of behavior?

Stacy: Well, I would have to say that apparently the parents of this generation are more protective of their children then previous generations. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a protective parent. I have five children, and I certainly want to protect them. My husband wants to protect them, too. That’s natural. But there is such a thing as trying to protect your children too much. But with this happening you can almost get in the way of your adult child being an adult and doing the things that adults can do on their own such as handling the different aspects of their job search.

Julea: You mean in instances where those children are full-grown adults and should be taking responsibility for their own lives?

Stacy: Yes, that is exactly what I mean! You see, the problem is that these parents are doing more harm than good for their children. I know they’re well intentioned. That much is obvious, and I do not dispute that. However, their good intentions are having unintended consequences, all of which are not good.

Julea: What would those consequences be?

Stacy: Well, I want to start by going back to something I’ve mentioned before on the podcast, and that’s value. Everything in the employment marketplace revolves around value. It’s the reason that Animal Health organizations and Veterinary practices hire people in the first place. They hire people because they believe those people will provide them with a certain level of value.

That being said, one of the most important forms of value for any employer is the ability to solve problems. Employers simply can not hire enough candidates who have exemplary problem-solving abilities. The reason is because there is almost no end to the number of problems that pop up in the business world on a daily basis. Actually, it doesn’t apply only to the business world. There’s no end to the number of problems that pop up in life in general on a daily basis.

Julea: Yes, I think everyone in our listening audience would agree with that statement!

Stacy: So if the reason that an employer would hire someone is because the employer believes the person will provide value and the most important form of value is the ability to solve problems, will an employer hire someone who appears as though they don’t know how to solve problems?

Julea: I would have to say they probably would not.

Stacy: You are correct. They would not, and that’s the problem with “helicopter parents” in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession or in any profession really. They’re not helping their child get a job. They’re actually preventing their child from getting a job. The reason is simple. They’re showing everyone that their child is not capable of solving their own problems or being an adult. Launching a job search is basically an attempt to solve a problem. The problem is that you don’t have a job or you don’t have a job that you’re happy with. Finding the right job is the solution to your problem.

Julea: So all that a person is doing in this situation by letting their parent conduct the job search is showing other people that their parents solve their problems for them, is that right?

Stacy: Sadly, that’s correct.

Julea: And an Animal Health organization or Veterinary practice is NOT going to hire someone if all that person does is prove that their parents solve their problems for them, is that what you are saying Stacy.

Stacy: That is correct. Who in their right mind would hire someone who let’s their parents solve their problems for them as an adult? That simply does not make any sense. When you get right down to it, this is a personal branding issue and quite frankly the person appears week in this situation when their parents are handling their job search and contacting recruiters or hiring authorities on their child’s behalf. Personal branding is also something that we’ve addressed before on the show.

Julea: How is this a personal branding issue?

Stacy: Well, you brand yourself with everything that you say and do. You also brand yourself with the things that you do NOT say and do. Everyone with whom you come into contact witnesses these things and then they brand you in their minds accordingly.

Julea: But in the example you gave us earlier, the job seeker didn’t even come into contact with you?

Stacy: That’s true, but the personal branding process still took place. Even though I didn’t talk to the job seeker directly, the fact that I spoke with their father still branded them in my mind. I branded the person as someone who is not able to conduct their own job search or solve their own problems. Remember, it’s not just what you do that brands you; it’s also what you don’t do. In this case, what the job seeker did not do is contact me themselves. That would have been a much better course of action. Regardless of what happened during our conversation, they probably would have branded themselves much better in my mind.

And think about it: how could I possibly recommend this person to one of my clients? I couldn’t. I would be doing my clients a disservice. Our firm’s clients don’t want to hire people who can’t solve their own problems and rely on their parents to do everything for them. This is basically a no-win situation for the job seeker.

Julea: So what advice do you have?

Stacy: I have simple advice. Conduct your own job search! Solve your own problems! Do not involve your parents in any way, shape, or form in your job search. You’re a grown adult. You have to brand yourself in other people’s minds as a grown adult. An Animal Health Company or Veterinary practice is likely NOT going to hire someone who is not a grown adult. And it doesn’t matter whether you think you’re one. What matters is whether they think you’re one.

And once again, I completely understand that these parents are trying to help their children. They love their children, and they want to help them. But if they really want to help them, they should simply step back and let their children handle and solve their own problems, and that includes handling their professional life and their career.

Julea: Stacy, This is great information that we appreciate your sharing. While we are here today I want to remind our listeners who are considering a job change, there are a number of employment opportunities on The VET Recruiter website and to check back often as we continually post new job opportunities.

Stacy: Yes, there are some fantastic job opportunities on The VET Recruiter website.. For those listeners who want to change their current situation and are interested in exploring Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, I invite them to visit our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com. For Animal Health and Veterinary employers who are in need to hire top talent for critical job openings I invite you to contact me through our website as well.

Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: It has been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health Employment Insider!