Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health 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.
Today, we’ll be talking about Animal Health and Veterinary career-limiting moves to avoid in 2022. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you.
Julea: Stacy, we’re approaching the end of the year now and it’s time for people to prepare for the New Year, both personally and professionally. I imagine this preparation applies to professionals and their Animal Health or Veterinary career.
Stacy: Yes, that’s right. There are less than two weeks before 2022 is here, and since this is also the holiday season, those two weeks are going to go by quickly. This is traditionally a good time for people to take stock of their career, assess what happened during the previous 12 months, and get prepared for the year ahead.
Julea: Before we dive into things, what do you mean by “career-limiting” moves?
Stacy: Well, there are things that a person can proactively do to advance their career, and there are also things that they passively do that can hurt their career. The problem with these passive things is that the person is not actively aware that they’re doing them. As a result, they’re also not aware of how those things are affecting their career, and if they’re not aware of that, then they can’t take corrective action to make things better.
It’s almost like the difference between good habits and bad habits, and habits can apply to both actions and thoughts. And the way a person thinks is very important because how they think has a direct impact on how they act. I’m talking about both conscious and subconscious thoughts. Both can affect a person’s actions, and in the case of subconscious thoughts, they can affect actions without the person even realizing that it’s happening.
Julea: Wow, I can see that there’s a lot that goes into this. Where would you like to start today?
Stacy: I’d like to start with a discussion about positioning yourself for Animal Health or Veterinary career success. Part of what helps make a person successful is being in the right place at the right time. You might think that being in the right place at the right time is just luck or it’s random, but you can do a lot to influence the kind of luck you have by positioning yourself in the best way that you can.
Julea: Stacy, what do you mean by “positioning” yourself?
Stacy: I mean working to optimize your situation or circumstances, so that when an opportunity comes along, you’re in a position to take advantage of that opportunity. I have a saying for this kind of scenario. That saying is, “Having good luck is when hard work meets opportunity.” There are some people who think that others are naturally lucky or that good things happen to them “just because.” But that’s not the case. More than likely, the person has proactively worked hard and positioned themselves correctly so that they were able to take advantage of an opportunity when it presented itself.
Contrary to popular belief, success does not just happen “all of a sudden” or “out of nowhere.” Even when a person becomes an “overnight sensation” in the entertainment industry, it turns out that is a misrepresentation when you dig down into the person’s story and discover how much hard work and sacrifice was necessary.
Julea: And you’re saying the same thing applies to a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career?
Stacy: Yes, you will not enjoy success “all of a sudden” or “out of nowhere.” Instead, you will need to position yourself for that success. Doing so requires both hard work and effort and also the correct approach and the right frame of mind.
Julea: Stacy, we’ve talked a lot about professional and career success on the podcast. I know that’s a subject you’re passionate about, but your job as a recruiter has certainly helped you in this area. Would you say that’s true?
Stacy: Yes, that’s very true. I’ve been in the executive search and recruiting profession for almost 25 years now, so I’ve seen a lot. Specifically, I’ve seen what professionals have done in regards to their career and the different ways that they’ve conducted themselves. I’ve seen what works in order to be successful in a one’s Animal Health or Veterinary career and what doesn’t work. And not just once or twice, either. I’ve seen certain behaviors play out over and over again.
Julea: So with that as the backdrop, we’re going to discuss ways that professionals can position themselves for success in their Animal Health or Veterinary career in 2022…and beyond.
Stacy: That’s correct. Some of these things we’ve touched on before in previous podcast episodes, but others we have not. But today, I’ll be bringing them together within the context of what I call career-limiting moves, things that can put an “artificial ceiling” of sorts on how much a person can grow their career. In fact, I have six such moves.
Julea: What’s the first one?
Stacy: The first one is a big one, and it’s definitely one that we’ve talked about before. It’s not being open to hearing about an opportunity. Nothing will stop your career from going anywhere faster than this will. You must be open to at least hearing about other opportunities if you want to enjoy more career success. I’ve contacted thousands of professionals during my career as a recruiter about an opportunity, and they’ve said “No” to it without even hearing what it was about.
Here’s the golden rule about this career-limiting move: unless you know for a fact that you are going to retire with your current employer, then it’s a good idea to hear about an opportunity if one is presented to you.
Julea: And not many people in the workforce are 100% sure they’re going to retire with their current employer.
Stacy: Not at all! In fact, when it comes to the members of the younger generations—Millennials and Generation Z—they’re pretty much 100% sure that they’re NOT going to retire with their current employer. After all, the members of the younger generations change jobs more frequently than the members of any other generation, and most of them are just starting out in their careers.
Julea: And even if a person plans to retire with their current employer, their employer might have other plans.
Stacy: Exactly! I’ve had people tell me they plan to retire with their current employer only to become the victim of a layoff or downsizing and then they found themselves in a position not to retire with their current employer. Some of these individuals have passed up opportunities with other organizations because they thought their current employer was committed to them until they retired only to find out that they were not committed to them for the long term simply because the business had other plans or needs.
Julea: That must have been brutal when those people found out their employer had other plans.
Stacy: Oh, it was. And that underscores the importance of being properly positioned and being prepared.
Julea: What’s our second career-limiting move?
Stacy: The second one is not being open to relocation. And once again, I’ve seen both kinds of behavior in this situation. I’ve seen candidates accept a position and relocate and enjoy success and upward mobility and I’ve seen candidates refuse to consider an opportunity or decline to pursue it after consideration even though the position was clearly better than their current job.
Julea: Why are people so resistant to relocation? Is it just the idea of moving. I know that’s never fun.
Stacy: I agree, moving can definitely be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but it’s sometimes necessary if a person wants to grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career. And I have a couple of case studies that illustrate this.
I had one executive tell me he could not relocate because he had a five-year old child at home who would be starting kindergarten within the year. Since when did five-year olds start calling the shots for their dad’s career?
Julea: That’s the same question I would have!
Stacy: In the other example, a candidate told me that she would not relocate for another position. When I told this individual that this was a career-limiting move, she disagreed with me. Years later, this individual did decide to relocate to another geographic area and her career really took off. She then called to tell me that I was right when I told her not being willing to relocate is a career-limiting move. But she didn’t want to agree with me at the time when I tried to convince her to consider opportunities to advance her career in other geographic locations.
Julea: Wow, it must have been frustrating.
Stacy: It was, but I was glad she found out that what I said was true.
Julea: Stacy, what’s next on our list?
Stacy: Our third career-limiting move is not wanting to work for a competitor. Sometimes when I contact a candidate about an opportunity that involves a competitor of their current employer, they don’t even want to hear about it.
Julea: So they’re combining two career-limiting moves into one?
Stacy: Exactly! They believe that even hearing about the opportunity somehow makes them a disloyal employee. But of course, nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re a top performer, then your employer’s competitors will be most interested in you and they may be prepared to offer you greater career advancement than your current employer offers.
Julea: Loyalty is an admirable trait, though.
Stacy: I agree, it is. But you must balance the loyalty that you have for your employer with the loyalty that you have for yourself and your Animal Health or Veterinary career. At some point, you’ll have to choose between the two. To whom will you be more loyal—to yourself and your family or to your employer?
Julea: That’s a great question. What’s next on our list?
Stacy: The fourth item on our list is “burning bridges.”
Julea: Ah, yes. We’ve talked about this before.
Stacy: We have, and this includes quite a number of things. But to define it, “burning bridges” is anything you do that damages your personal brand or your professional reputation. One of the easiest ways to “burn bridges” in your Animal Health or Veterinary career is to say that you’re going to do something, but then you don’t do it.
That’s a big problem because when you do that, you’re seen as unreliable, and when you’re seen as unreliable, you’re also seen as untrustworthy. As a general rule, employers do not want to hire untrustworthy people. So do what you say you are going to do and have good follow-through skills. Getting back to people and returning calls and emails quickly brands you as being reliable.
Julea: I would imagine that “ghosting” also falls into this category.
Stacy: It absolutely does! Not showing up for a phone screen or a face-to-face interview is considered “burning bridges.” And so does accepting an offer of employment and then not showing up for your first day of work without telling anyone in advance that you won’t be there.
Julea: That brings us to #5 on our list. What is the fifth career-limiting move?
Stacy: Our fifth career-limiting move is not networking enough. Julea, you know that I’m a big proponent of networking. I can’t stress enough how important it is. This includes both networking on LinkedIn and also in face-to-face settings, such as the ones available when you attend conferences and tradeshows. And I know the pandemic has put a damper on in-person events during the past year and a half, but these events are still being held. In fact, I’ll be attending quite a few of them in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession next year.
Simply put, when you limit your networking activities, you limit your career opportunities. I’ve said this over and over again, but I’ll say it again because it’s so important. It’s not just what you know and it’s not just who you know that makes a difference, but it’s both what you know AND who you know.
And the importance of networking actually leads us to the sixth and final item on our list for today . . .
Julea: Which item is that?
Stacy: Our sixth career-limiting move is not building a relationship with a recruiter.
Julea: We’ve discussed this on the podcast in the past, including just recently.
Stacy: Yes, the title of our podcast last week was, “10 Good Reasons to Talk with an Animal Health or Veterinary Recruiter.”
And as I mentioned, this is actually a continuation of #5. Part of your networking efforts should definitely include building a relationship with a good recruiter who has placed people like you with similar qualifications.
Julea: And this starts with being open to at least hearing about an opportunity, is that right?
Stacy: That’s right! When a recruiter calls, it is a good strategic career move to at least be courteous enough to take their call or return their call. And even if you don’t want to consider or pursue an employment opportunity today, it is a good career move to strive to act in a professional manner. As we discussed last week, it doesn’t cost you anything and it also brands you in a positive way. Even if you’re not interested in a new opportunity right now, you may need a recruiter later in your career, so don’t forget to include an experienced recruiter in your network.
Julea: Stacy, we are just about out of time for today. Is there anything else that you would like to add before we end today’s podcast episode?
Stacy: Yes, I want to wrap things up by reiterating that if you want to be successful in your Animal Health or Veterinary career, then you must be in a position to be successful. To do that, you need to work hard, put forth the effort, and have the correct approach and the right frame of mind.
I would encourage the members of our listening audience to not fall prey to the career-limiting moves that we discussed today. Instead, be proactive, be positive, and don’t be afraid to go after the things that you want in your career.
Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information about Animal Health and Veterinary career-limiting moves to avoid in 2022 and beyond. Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. 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!