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Oriana Scislowicz, LVT, PHR, was a veterinary practice manager for many years before becoming senior HR specialist at Pharmaceutical Product Development.
How to recover when you dont get that veterinary management job or are passed over for a promotion.
Sometimes a hiring decision may make you turn your head, but don't waste time being disappointed. Instead listen and learn to improve yourself. (Mary Swift / stock.adobe.com) Most of us have been there-you've told all your friends and family about an exciting new job opportunity and you just know you're the perfect fit. Then the dreaded call comes. Someone else was selected over you. While it's fine to be upset and mope for a brief period, it's also important to pick yourself back up and find ways to improve for future opportunities.
Are you ready for that management job? (It's not all roses and unicorns!)
Keep these traits in mind when trying to grow as a manager:
You can take a broad vision for the company and turn it into actionable items.
You enjoy supporting and helping individuals grow.
You enjoy your team's successes, even if you don't get the credit.
You know how to be quiet and listen to others and enjoy implementing others' ideas into the big picture plan.
You're comfortable having tough conversations, while remaining supportive.
You enjoy the unpredictability that management brings and don't try to plan each day out too far ahead, because you never know what's going to end up on your plate!
You can set your own tasks and goals and stay on top of your work with little guidance.
Once you have recovered from the initial blow, try to rekindle your drive. I like to do this by gaining CE or setting a new personal development goal for myself. The worst thing an aspiring manager can do after one of these experiences is to shrug their shoulders and keep on as they were, or even worse, develop a negative attitude in response to not getting selected. If the position was within your current company, be sure not to appear judgmental or bitter to the person who was selected. Even if you feel the decision wasn't appropriate, you need to respect the process and upper management's choice.
Settling into a bad attitude is also completely unproductive to your own growth. Use that energy to instead figure out how you can demonstrate your level of engagement to all of management and improve your position for future growth opportunities. Try to stay positive about tasks and projects you may not agree with. A good leader doesn't bring down their team because of personal opinions. Make an effort to keep team morale positive and build relationships with your colleagues and managers.
Instead of sitting back and waiting for the next opportunity, ask for feedback from your manager on where they feel you could grow and improve and act on this advice. Remember to try to play the role you want to assume ahead of a new job opening. No, you don't want to step on a new manager's toes, but you can offer to volunteer for additional duties and responsibilities wherever you can. You can also lead without an official title-make yourself a resource for the rest of the team when they have questions and need help. Be sure not to complain any time you're handed an additional responsibility or claim you aren't being paid to do that particular task.
Take the most important qualities of a leader-an ability to actively listen and being openminded to new ideas-and implement those in your current role. Utilize any potential “extra” time with less responsibility to find ways to further your education in management. Take business or human resources classes at a local community college and explore online veterinary and business continuing education opportunities.
If you haven't already, don't be afraid to branch outside of your company. While getting promoted within a company you're already familiar with may seem ideal, you need to be willing to step into unfamiliar territory to move up the ladder if the opportunities just aren't there at your current organization. You might find positions that aren't exactly a perfect fit, but you should apply and try to get your foot in the door regardless. Even a promotion within your company will come with some sacrifices, so keep in mind that a transitional position might give you the experience necessary to land your dream job in the future.
Oriana Scislowicz, BS, LVT, aPHR is a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and regional manager at CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets in Richmond, Virginia.