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Episode #211 – Self-Awareness vs. Self-Absorption in Your Animal Health or Veterinary Career

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #211 - Self-Awareness vs. Self-Absorption in Your Animal Health or Veterinary Career

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’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In fact, 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.

In today’s podcast episode, we’ll be discussing self-awareness vs. self-absorption in your Animal Health or Veterinary career. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you.

Julea: Stacy, this is the next installment in our podcast series about success isn’t it.

Stacy: Yes, it is! As I mentioned last week, I believe that everyone wants to be more successful. Not only that, but our mission and our passion at The VET Recruiter is to help other people enjoy more success.

Julea: Right! And last week, we discussed what you called the most underrated aspect of Animal Health and Veterinary career success.

Stacy: Yes, and that aspect was the mental aspect. I’m a firm believer that everything starts in a person’s mind, and I’m 100% convinced that is the case when it comes to achieving success and enjoying it.

Julea: Stacy, does today’s podcast episode also fall into the category of the mental aspect of success?

Stacy: Yes, I would say that it does, because it involves how a person sees themselves. Specifically, it involves how a person sees themselves interacting with the world and those around them.

Julea: What does that mean, how they see themselves interacting with those around them?

Stacy: Perspective is an important factor in how successful a person is. However, there are many different forms of perspective. It can involve how a person sees a particular situation, it can involve how they see another person or a group or people, or it can involve how they see a person or group of people in a particular situation. However, one of the most difficult perspectives that a person can master is the one in which they view themselves and how they interact with other people.

Julea: Why is that Stacy?

Stacy: Because it’s very difficult to be objective! It’s difficult to be even partially objective, much less 100% objective. That’s because human beings are hard-wired to be biased for themselves.

Julea: Are you saying that people are not predisposed to see their own flaws?

Stacy: That’s part of it, but it goes beyond that. Overall, people have difficulty objectively assessing themselves, including professionally. That means not only are they not predisposed to see their own flaws, they sometimes they’re not able to see their true strengths and everything in between.

Julea: What kind of consequences does that have for their job and their Animal Health or Veterinary career?

Stacy: That is an excellent question Julea, and it’s one that we’re going to explore today. And everything that we’re going to talk about is based on what I have seen and experienced during my 20-plus year career as a recruiter.

Julea: I imagine that you’ve seen just about everything.

So, Stacy, I know you have talked about self-awareness before on the podcast. It’s such an important topic and I look forward to discussing it further today.

Stacy: Yes, I have talked about self- awareness before on our podcast. One of the reasons I’m choosing to talk about it again and also include it in our series on success is that it’s only become more important since then. In this modern day and age of digital technology and social media, there has probably been no other time in our nation’s history that self-awareness has been this important. And there’s no reason to think that it’s going to decrease in importance in the future. It is a necessary trait for people to have, especially professionally and especially if a person wants to grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Julea: Where would you like to start today Stacy?

Stacy: I want to start by discussing the difference between self-awareness and self-absorption. They both start with the word “self,” but they are very different.

Someone who is self-absorbed is usually either incapable of seeing past what they consider to be their own wants and needs or they are capable and they simply choose not to do so. And the severity of this perspective is made worse if the person is focused on their short-term wants and needs.

Julea: Are you saying there are different levels of being self-absorbed?

Stacy: Unfortunately, yes. Let’s say there are two people, and they are generally self-absorbed individuals. However, one of them is focused on their short-term wants and needs, while the other is focused on their long-term wants and needs or even both the short term and the long term. The person who is only focused on their short-terms needs is more likely to make poor decisions that can negatively affect their Animal Health or Veterinary career.

When you’re only focused on yourself, and especially on what you consider to be your short-term needs, then you’re self-absorbed in an unhealthy way.

Julea: Stacy, I assume that you have seen plenty of examples of this behavior in the marketplace since you became an Executive Recruiter. Is that right?

Stacy: That is absolutely correct! I wrote an article for The VET Recruiter website a few months ago titled, “Don’t ‘Burn Bridges’ or ‘Close Doors’ on Your Animal Health or Veterinary Career.” In that article, I talked about the “immediate gratification mindset.” In other words, it has become commonplace for people to place a higher priority on what is short-term gain, as opposed to taking the long view and taking the “big picture” into consideration.

In that article, I also listed some of the behaviors that are associated with this kind of perspective. They include:

  • Lying or being dishonest on your resume or at any other stage of the hiring process
  • Being disrespectful during the hiring process, including during the interview
  • Going around the executive recruiter’s back and contacting the hiring manager directly after you have been approached by an executive recruiter.
  • “Ghosting” on the employer in any way, shape, or form
  • Branding yourself in a negative way, through whatever behavior results in that kind of branding


What this all boils down to is opportunity, and I know for a fact that the more opportunities you have, the better your chances for success in your Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Julea: Stacy, can you elaborate on that Stacy?

Stacy: I certainly can. Ultimately, the amount of success that a person has in their career is tied to two things. First, the number of opportunities that they have to advance or grow. And second, the quality of the opportunities that they have. The general rule of thumb is that if you increase the number of overall opportunities that you have, then you will also increase the number of quality opportunities, as well.

Julea: And when you “burn bridges” and “close doors,” you reduce the number of opportunities, is that the case?

Stacy: That is exactly right! This is where the “immediate gratification mindset” can betray you, because you’re not really thinking about your opportunities in the future. Instead, all you’re thinking about are your wants and needs in the present, so much so that you don’t think about the additional opportunities you could have now and in the future.

Julea: So what are you thinking about if you’re self-aware and not self-absorbed?

Stacy: When you’re self-aware, you’re aware of a lot of things. First, you’re aware of both your short-term and long-term needs. However, you don’t allow those needs to dictate your actions to the point where you act irresponsibly. But those aren’t the most important things that you’re aware of.

Julea: They’re not? What are the most important things?

Stacy: When you’re self-aware, there are two important things that you’re aware of within the professional realm. The first thing is how you come across to other people. In other words, your personal brand. And yes, we’ve talked about personal branding before on this podcast, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s a critical component of a person’s success, including their professional success and their efforts to grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Julea: Stacy, correct me if I’m wrong, but an individual’s personal brand is basically the experience that they provide for other people, right?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. And when you’re aware of the experience that you provide for other people, then you’re better able to improve that experience and also improve your personal brand. If you’re not self-aware, then you probably have no idea of the type of experience you’re providing, and that is the equivalent of “flying blind” in your career.

The second thing that you’re aware of if you’re self-aware is the value that you provide to your current employer and that you could provide to any future employer if you were to change jobs. And just like your personal brand, if you’re aware of the value that you provide, then you can take the steps necessary to increase that value.

Julea: I can see why it’s difficult for a person to stay 100% objective when it comes to their perspective of themselves, their personal brand, and the value that they provide to their employer. After all, most people like to think the best about themselves.

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. And there’s nothing wrong with thinking good things about yourself. There’s something to be said about having self-confidence, positive self-esteem, and a good self-image. All of these things are necessary for enjoying success and reaching your full potential. However, there is a fine line between these things and being self-absorbed. When you’re self-absorbed, you tend to think that “the world revolves around you,” when, in fact, it does not. This is yet another reason why self-awareness is so important.

Julea: Stacy, is this another instance where the Principle of Reciprocity is applicable?

Stacy: Yes, it is, and I’m glad you brought that up. People who are self-absorbed typically do not practice this principle, mainly because they’re thinking about themselves first. In fact, they’re usually thinking about themselves first, second, and last. However, those who are self-aware are more likely to practice this principle. As we’ve talked about in the past, according to the Principle of Reciprocity, when someone gives us something, we feel compelled to give them something in return. On the flip side of that, when you first give something to someone else, they will feel compelled to give something to you in return.

One of the core values of The VET Recruiter is a “win-win mindset,” and the Principle of Reciprocity is part of that. When you’re self-aware and you practice this principle, you strive to give to others first instead of trying to get from others first, and this helps you to achieve a “win-win situation” with everyone.

Julea: Stacy, what are some of the consequences of being self-absorbed and not practicing the Principle of Reciprocity?

Stacy: There are plenty of tangible consequences, and we’ve talked about them before on the podcast.

First of all, it can prevent you from receiving a promotion. Sometimes, people who receive a promotion also receive a raise at the same time. Not being self-aware can prevent you from receiving that, as well. And it can also prevent you from receiving an offer of employment if you’re exploring other job opportunities and are interviewing with other employers.

I can’t tell you how many candidates I’ve spoken with over the years who thought that their interview went very well, only to discover that the hiring manager had a much different viewpoint. In other words, the candidate was not aware of how they were coming across, and because of that, they had no idea that the interview did NOT go well.

Julea: So when you’re self-aware and you practice the Principle of Reciprocity, you’re more likely to receive a promotion, a raise, and an offer of employment with another organization?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. And something else to keep in mind is that people who are self-aware and not self-absorbed are more likely to be considered for management positions and also more likely to thrive as a leader.

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 want to remind our listeners that professionals who are fully self-aware are rare in the employment marketplace. I know this because I talk with hiring managers every day and many of them tell me this. However, there is good news associated with this fact.

Julea: There is? How’s that?

Stacy: Since there is a lack of self-aware professionals in the marketplace, this is a good way to stand out from your peers. This includes your co-workers at your current employer and also other job candidates if you’re exploring job opportunities in the marketplace. The bottom line is that being self-aware is a great way to gain a competitive advantage and position yourself for more Animal Health and Veterinary career success.

Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. And before we end today’s episode, can you talk about how members of our listening audience can get started on The VET Recruiter website?

Stacy: Certainly! If you’ve never been to our website before, I would recommend checking out our extensive blog of career-related tips and advice for Animal Health and Veterinary professionals. Something else I would recommend is filling out a profile and then uploading your resume. The information that you submit with your profile is important because it helps us keep your qualifications in mind as different Animal Health and Veterinary Job opportunities become available. Executive recruiters are “eyes and ears” in the marketplace. When a job comes across our desk and could represent the next logical step in your Animal Health or Veterinary career, we will keep you in mind and potentially reach out to you if it is a good fit. And The VET Recruiter works in a confidential manner.

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

Stacy: You’re very welcome, Julea, and thank you. It’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

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