Episode #201 – What the U.S. Military Can Teach You About Growing Your Career During COVID

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #201 - What the U.S. Military Can Teach You About Growing Your Career During COVID
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health Executive Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter, Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter is focused on solving talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

Stacy: Julea, it is great to be here with you discussing this topic of conversation today.

Julea: Stacy, we have been talking lately about looking for opportunity in the marketplace, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is certainly a lot of adversity and a lot of fear, which we talked about during our most recent podcast episode. Some members of our listening audience may be wondering what they can do specifically to help grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career. Isn’t that what today’s episode is about?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely Julea. So, I know that things are rough for some professionals right now, and I am not talking just about those who have lost their job or are unemployed at the present time. I’m also talking about those people who feel like they can’t move forward or that they’re trapped in their current job or employment situation. So today, I want to discuss what Animal Health and Veterinary professionals can do to grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career during challenging times like the ones we are currently experiencing.

Julea: Yes, and on top of that, there’s the political tension that exists in the country because of the Presidential Election.

Stacy: That’s right, we can’t forget about that. On some days, it might even appear that the world is “spinning out of control,” but the good news is that it’s not actually the case. The bad news is that it might be a small comfort to those who are caught in the day-to-day reality of everyday life.

But that’s what I want to talk about today. There IS something that people can do about the current situation and circumstances. And these things are not only applicable to a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career, but they’re also applicable to the rest of their life, as well.

Julea: That sounds great. Where would you like to start today Stacy?

Stacy: I would like to start with an acronym from the United States military. That acronym is VUCA, V-U-C-A.

Julea: What does it stand for?

Stacy: That stands for the words:

  • Volatile
  • Uncertain
  • Complex
  • Ambiguous

Julea: What does it mean Stacy?

Stacy: Many times, the military uses this acronym to describe a state of war, and as you can see, these adjectives are accurate in their description. The military created this phrase so that they could successfully navigate these kinds of situations, instead of possibly being overcome by the circumstances surrounding them.

Julea: So civilians can use the same acronym and take the same approach?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right! You can also do what the military does. Because those same words describe what is happening in the world today—volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.

And the strategy behind this acronym is actually a very simple one.

Julea: Which strategy is that?

Stacy: The strategy is to control what you can control and don’t try to control what you can’t control.

Julea: That does sound simple. But I’m willing to bet that it’s not as simple as it sounds.

Stacy: You would be right about that. For some people, it’s not simple at all.

People often experience stress when they try to control things that they can’t control. This experience is heightened during a VUCA situation, for example. That’s why it’s critical to focus on those things that you directly control and/or over which you have at least a degree of influence.

Julea: Which things might those be?

Stacy: I’m glad you asked! So, I have a list of those things, and the first item on the list is showing up on time.

Julea: That seems like an easy one Stacy.

Stacy: Yes, but once again, it’s apparently more difficult than it appears, or everyone would be on time for everything. Clearly, that is not the case.

And not only is it something that a person has almost 100% control over, but it’s also an important part of personal branding. You want to brand yourself as someone who is on time, especially for important appointments.

The next item on our list is what’s called “being present.”

Julea: What does that mean?

Stacy: This means not being easily distracted, which is not easy in the Digital Age in which we live. There are smartphones, social media, and the 24-hour news cycle that seems to consume us every minute of every day.

The problem is that when you’re distracted, it’s more difficult for you to create and build relationships, and relationships are a critical part of growing your Animal Health or Veterinary career. You have to be “present in the moment” with the people with whom you are trying to build those relationships. And yes, that includes over a Zoom meeting.

The third item on our list is active listening.

Julea: We have talked about active listening before Stacy.

Stacy: Yes, we have, and it’s related to #2 on our list. When you’re present and not distracted, you’re able to listen better. As you just mentioned, we’ve talked about this before, but active listening is one of the skills that professionals are lacking the most right now. I know this because hiring managers have told me so. In fact, it is one of the most common pieces of interview feedback I receive when someone does not get hired, that they were not listening well enough in the interview.

Julea: What is next on our list of things that Animal Health and Veterinary professionals can control?

Stacy: The next item is communicating well, and this is also related to #3 on our list. You can start to see how all of these things are interrelated. The first step in effective communication is the ability to listen well. If you don’t know how to listen, then you don’t know how to communicate well, and communication is one of the soft skills coveted the most by employers. And your soft skill set is how you set yourself apart from other professionals.

Another part of your soft skill set is having a positive attitude, which is the fifth item on our list. It would be impossible for me to overstate the importance of having a positive mental attitude. Keep in mind that I’m not talking about a “pie in the sky” mentality. Instead, it’s a mindset that is based in realism, but it’s also anchored with a consistent expectation that good things are going to happen.

Julea: That makes sense. I know that some people struggle with that, but having a positive mental attitude is something that a person can control if they want to grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Stacy: Yes, it’s very important. Also important is the next item on our list, which is working to enhance your personal productivity.

Julea: Can you elaborate on that?

Stacy: Yes, of course. Your value as an employee is rooted in your productivity. The more productive you are, the more productive your employer is. And when your employer is more productive, there’s a good chance they will be more profitable, as well.

Julea: And if your employer is more profitable because of the fact that you’re more productive, they’ll be inclined to reward you for that, right?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. And if they’re not, then there’s a good chance that another employer would be willing to reward you for the productivity and value that you would bring to their organization.

Julea: Stacy, are there any other items on our list you wanted to talk about today?

Stacy: Yes, there is one more item. One final thing that you can control—and quite possibly the most important item on our list—is being proactive instead of being reactive.

Julea: We have talked about that before as well Stacy, being proactive rather than reactive.

Stacy: Correct, and that shows how crucial it is to helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Julea: Stacy, when you say proactive, do you mean when it comes to exploring other employment opportunities?

Stacy: Yes, but I don’t mean only when it comes to exploring other opportunities.

Julea: What do you mean by that Stacy?

Stacy: I mean being proactive in every aspect of your professional life, whether you’re exploring other employment opportunities or not. Even if you’re not open to opportunity at the moment, you can be more proactive at your current job. In fact, if you’re not open to opportunity, then your current job is very important, because it represents the full scope of your Animal Health or Veterinary career at the present time.

Julea: And when you’re proactive, you’re moving from a position of strength, instead of from a position of weakness.

Stacy: Yes, absolutely! Considering world events and what has been happening in the United States, it almost seems as though some people are moving from a position of weakness already. You don’t want to add to that feeling by being passive and reactive in your job with your current employer and with your career in general.

Julea: Stacy, we’re just about out of time. Is there anything else that you’d like to add before we end today’s podcast episode?

Stacy: Yes, there is. I’d like to bring this episode back around to where we started at the very beginning, when we talked about the U.S. military and the VUCA acronym.

The members of the military are NOT passive and reactive. They are proactive, and they practice this important trait during times of VUCA, when things appear volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.

Animal Health and Veterinary professionals must accept the fact that there are certain things out of their control, and by now, be willing to accept that fact. However, also acknowledge that there are things that are well within their control, and those are the things that we have discussed in today’s podcast episode.

So now that the members of our listening audience have identified these things, I encourage you to be proactive about controlling them and growing your Animal Health or Veterinary career in the most strategic way possible!

Julea: Stacy, thank you for all of this great information. Before we end today’s podcast episode, I have a question for you. Not only have you been a recruiter for more than 20 years, you are also considered an Animal Health key opinion leader and Veterinary key opinion leader, is that right?

Stacy: Yes, that’s correct.

Julea: Why is that so important and why does that set you and The VET Recruiter apart from other recruiting firms in the marketplace?

Stacy: My experience as an Animal Health Executive Recruiter has helped me to become an Animal Health and Veterinary thought and opinion leader, and that is a role that I’m proud to fill and one that I take seriously. Not only does The VET Recruiter offer this podcast, but we also have a newsletter for both professionals and employers and I conduct presentations and webinars within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession on a regular basis. You can read past newsletter articles on The VET Recruiter website, and you can also see recorded versions of my webinars and presentations.

It’s important to me to be able to share my expertise with others. Wisdom does come with experience, as the saying goes, and what’s the point of gaining wisdom if you don’t share it with other people so they can use it to increase their quality of life?

Julea: That’s great Stacy. For our listening audience, you can learn more information about The VET Recruiter and the Animal Health and Veterinary executive search and recruiting services provided at www.thevetrecruiter.com  Reach out to Stacy if you are a hiring manager with critical hiring needs. If you are an experienced Animal Health or Veterinary professional wanting to make your next career move, reach out to Stacy as well. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

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