I started my current role on March 23, 2020. I remember the day before I left my previous role so vividly. The team was about to move to a new office so there were boxes everywhere. Everyone was packing up items instead of plugging away on their laptops. Except for one person. The Director of Safety was glued to his computer screen figuring out if an upcoming events season was going to be feasible with a pandemic raging in Europe and the looming fear of it coming to the United States. Between boxes and packing, my former CEO asked if I was ready for a new role and how things would be. “Guess we’ll find out!” I told him as I shoved the carefully-wrapped toaster into a box labeled “KITCHEN.”
Coming in the veterinary industry has not only been a new role for me, but a new industry as well. I spent the past year learning how emotionally tiring this role can be for my colleagues in the field and also how important the human animal bond was for so many of our clients’ mental health. From a marketing perspective it was adjusting budgets, strategy, and content to be adaptable to the new curbside procedures. We opened 4 locations in a pandemic. 4 locations where clients didn’t come inside and trusted us to take the leash or carrier away from them. We wore masks, faced uncertainties if the tickle in our throats were seasonal or something more, we adjusted, and we pulled a Ross Gellar and pivoted strategy more times than I can remember.
As we’ve gotten vaccinated, allowed clients back in, I still think back to that day I first started. The first day I wore a mask at a grocery store. The last time I walked into Target to find out that thanks to my Pfizer vaccination card, I no longer needed to wear a mask in their stores. I can’t help but think there will be a day I look at an intern or someone just starting out who will ask me about this time and what I’ve learned from it.
So what have I learned?
Through 2020, a crazy pandemic, tremendous loss of loved ones, quarantines, TikTok dances, Netflix-binging Tiger King, George Floyd’s murder, a wild election and social media bans to our former President, I’ve learned how to be resilient yet forgiving with myself. I’ve learned how to address burn out and how to take the time I need to recover. I’ve learned how to quickly think on my feet and come up with a solution even when it felt overwhelming. I’ve learned how valuable communication can be whether it’s a text to check in or a Zoom happy hour. I’ve learned how to be grateful for time spent with family and how time spent away made my love for them even stronger. I’ve learned that this part of life challenged me the hardest – with online schooling, starting a career remotely, and pushing myself personally.
The lessons I have learned this year are only starting points. There will be other worldwide things that happen in the future that I will have to be able to adapt to and I’ll look back on this past year knowing that if I could get through all that and still be successful, that I can pivot to accomplish anything. To those who have not been as fortunate to pivot, I see you. I hear you. And I’m standing here with you, here to help you through it.