Episode #66 – The Power of Taking Responsibility and Ownership of Your Career

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive search consultant and 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 Employers and Veterinary Employers acquire top talent, while helping Animal Health Professionals and veterinarians attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about taking responsibility and ownership of your career. Stacy, thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. I’m glad to be here.

Samantha: Stacy, what’s behind today’s topic?

Stacy: Well, we talk a lot about what job seekers and candidates should do and what they should not do on this podcast. In other words, we talk a lot about actions. However, I’m a big believer in having the proper mindset, as well. That’s because the proper mindset will help a person take the right actions—or not take them, depending on the situation.

So today, I’d like to address taking responsibility and ownership of your career. Because just like the title of today’s episode indicates, I believe there is real power in doing that. The more responsibility and ownership that a person takes of their career, the more successful they will be.

Samantha: That sounds great. Where do we start?

Stacy: We’re going to start with passion?

Samantha: With passion? What do you mean?

Stacy: I like to call passion the “X-Factor” for experiencing success and reaching your true potential. If an Animal Health or Veterinary employee does not have passion for what they’re doing, then they won’t become a top performer. Not only that, but hiring managers want to see job candidates who have passion. That’s because they want to hire candidates who are passionate about what they do.

From the point of view of the hiring manger, if a candidate has a lot of passion, the hiring manager will believe that the candidate is likely to provide more value than a candidate who does not exhibit passion. And as I’ve said numerous times on our podcast, everything in the employment marketplace comes down to value.

Samantha: So passion is an important ingredient in taking responsibility and ownership of your career?

Stacy: Yes, and all of this helps in more ways than one. First, it’s good to identify what is important to hiring managers.

As I just mentioned, hiring candidates who have passion is important to them. So is hiring candidates who take responsibility and ownership of their career.

Second, when an Animal Health or Veterinary professional takes responsibility and ownership, they position themselves to do the things that are necessary to enjoy career growth. So it really is a win-win situation. The same things that can help you be more successful in your career are the same things that can increase the chances that employers will want to hire you.

But having passion and caring about your career is the first step. If you don’t care about your job or your career, how can you have the correct mindset and take the steps that are necessary to grow it? You really can’t.

Samantha: Stacy, can we talk for a moment about what exactly it means to take responsibility and ownership of your career? That seems like a general, overarching goal. What does it mean in terms of specific things that our listeners can do?

Stacy: Well, first and foremost, it means taking responsibility for everything you do in regards to your career and also everything that you don’t do. This is an important distinction. Not taking action can have consequences, just as much as taking action. Contrary to popular belief, not taking action is not necessarily the safe way to go. It just might feel like it is. You must be willing to accept responsibility for the consequences of both your actions and your inactions.

Samantha: That makes sense. Is there anything else?

Stacy: Yes. You can’t blame anyone or anything else for where you are in your career and you can’t make excuses regarding your career. In other words, an Animal Health or Veterinary professional is where they are right now in their career because of them. Not because of their boss. Not because of their co-workers. And not because of their parents.

I read a great book recently that pertains to this, and the name of the book is The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. One of the main themes of The Success Principles is that you must take 100% responsibility for your life instead of blaming others for what happens. As you’ve probably already guessed, I agree whole-heartedly with this theme. This is a great book that I encourage every professional to read.

Samantha, you might also not be surprised that I have a real-life example about all of this, too.

Samantha: I’m not surprised! You’ve shared many stories and case studies with us on the podcast. What happened in this particular case?

Stacy: I was speaking with an individual who had been with the same organization for almost 20 years. She was complaining that her employer has her train all of the new employees and then later the employer promotes them above her current position.

In addition, this individual suspected that these new employees were also getting paid more than her. She was receiving about a 1% cost-of-living increase every year. I can tell you from first-hand experience that she was earning less than people who I have placed in similar entry-level roles.

Samantha: So this person was not happy?

Stacy: She was not happy at all! And who could blame her? After all, her employer was requiring her to train all of the new employees and then promoted those employees over her. Then her employer paid her less than the new employees, and to “add insult to injury,” the organization only gave her a 1% cost-of-living raise every year.

Samantha: So why was she still working there?

Stacy: THAT is exactly the question! Despite all of that, she did not want to take action regarding her situation. Instead, she made excuses and blamed other people instead of taking responsibility and ownership of her career. There are some questions that she should have asked herself, and these are the same questions that every Animal Health and Veterinary professional should ask.

Samantha: What questions are those?

Stacy: There are six of them:

  • Am I happy with where I am in my career?
  • If I’m not happy, why am I not happy?
  • What are the factors that are contributing to my unhappiness?
  • How much control or influence do I have over those factors?
  • What specific steps can I take to improve my situation?
  • Who is ultimately responsible for changing and/or improving my situation?

 

Obviously, the answer to that last question is that each Animal Health Professional and Veterinary Professional is ultimately responsible for changing their situation. Since they’re responsible, they must take ownership. And once they take ownership, they must be willing to take the action steps that are necessary.

Samantha: Stacy, what are those action steps they can take?

Stacy: I have five main ones. The first one is to be proactive and not reactive. You have to be willing to make things happen, rather than react to what happens around you, or to you. Taking ownership means being proactive in both attitude and action.

This gives you a distinct advantage, though. When you’re proactive, you’re operating from a position of strength. When you’re reactive, you’re operating from a position of weakness. It really is that simple.

Samantha: What’s the second step?

Stacy: The second step is expanding your network. I mention this a lot, because I can’t overstate its importance. When you proactively work to expand your network, you’re positioning yourself for more and greater opportunities.

Remember, it’s not just what you know, but who you know. That’s why it’s a good idea to know more people, and that includes an experienced recruiter or executive search consultant.

Samantha: Stacy, what’s the third step?

Stacy: That’s engaging in continuous training and education. Once again, your career is only worth as much as the value that you can offer to employers. This includes your current employer and future employers. As a result, you must always be adding to the value that you offer. That means increasing existing skills and abilities and adding new ones.

Now, our fourth and fifth steps deal more with the mindset than specific action, and I mentioned at the top of the podcast that I wanted to discuss mindset today.

Samantha: What are they?

Stacy: The fourth step is being open to considering opportunities. Once again, we’ve touched upon this before, but you can see how all of this is connected and works together. This does not mean automatically agreeing to leave your current employer for a new job at another organization. You’re NOT committing to anything. But if you’re not open to anything, then how can you take ownership of your career and change your situation for the better?

Our fifth step is related to the fourth one, and that’s not letting fear stop you from moving forward. Fear of change has stopped many people from taking the proactive steps necessary to grow their careers. That fear has stopped people from leaving situations where they were unsatisfied and even downright unhappy and searching for new opportunities elsewhere.

Samantha: So if our listeners have this mindset and take these action steps, they can have more power over their career?

Stacy: Absolutely! They have the power to change their current situation, their career, and their destiny.

But they can’t make excuses. They can’t point fingers. Instead, they must be proactive, take responsibility, take ownership, and then take action. That’s the blueprint for setting yourself apart and taking your power back.

Samantha: Stacy, that’s definitely a positive message! Thanks so much for all of this great information today.

Stacy: Thank you, Samantha. I look forward to our next podcast!