Is AASV a priority in your professional life?
Last Saturday, my youngest daughter, Dena, got married in a wonderful outdoor wedding at our home. Now anyone who has had a wedding at their home knows that the work load preparing for it gets multiplied several times over a traditional church service. Somehow, everything that needed trimmed, fixed, touched up, or replaced, and was not a big priority, now needs to be addressed. For the past 4 to 6 weeks, making sure that our home looked the best that it could became a high priority.
Dena has been living in San Diego, California, for 2 years (yes, she is the person to blame or thank for my pushing San Diego as a great site for the 2008 AASV meeting after Columbus, Ohio, canceled the event). So when she comes home, I always try to make spending time with her a high priority – but this week was more special.
She was marrying a guy that I absolutely think the world of, and I wanted to enjoy the experience as much as possible. So work, hobbies, and writing the article for this issue of JSHAP would have to wait as I enjoyed Dena and Dan’s wedding. Anyone who has had the privilege of walking their daughter down the aisle for their wedding understands the emotions involved in that short walk. You tend to remember all of the great moments of growing up together. It is one of the greatest moments in any father’s life. In the end, I knew that I had made the right decision, and at least for a week, my priorities were in order.
Monday brought me back to the realities of life. Several issues that I had ignored at work needed my immediate attention. Bless the journal staff for waiting for my article, but writing it now became one of my highest priorities. I have always attempted not to use the excuse of being too busy when I become tardy on a task. Instead, if I am brutally honest, it just wasn’t high enough on my priority list. We all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to spend our time. How we prioritize our time is our own decision. One of the most difficult decisions that most professionals face every day is trying to balance a busy professional, personal, and family life. Sometimes it would be much easier if we could have a few more hours a day, but that just doesn’t seem to be an option. The burning question that seemed to follow me everywhere as I was thinking about this article centered around this magical balancing act. How can I prioritize my life so that I give my clients and my business adequate time, but still have time to spend doing the things I enjoy?
When I decided to be a candidate for vice president of the AASV, I spoke to my partners, my family, and current officers to understand the level of commitment that would be required and was encouraged by everyone to get more involved. I knew that it would require a time commitment to do the job right, but I also felt that this association and industry had given me so many opportunities that it was time to try to give something back.
The issues that are affecting our profession and our industry today are not going to go away. Animal welfare, antibiotic resistance, PRRS, PCVAD, influenza variants, global demand for pork, emerging diseases in other countries, attracting fantastic students into the swine veterinary profession, and career demands for swine veterinarians are just a few of the many issues that continue to demand our attention. We need the brightest and best swine veterinarians in North America to be actively involved in this association to address and solve these problems facing our industry. But once again, this prioritization problem enters the picture. Most busy swine veterinarians question whether they have the time to donate to an organization that relies on volunteer members to fill important roles.
On Saturday night, at my daughter’s wedding, I think I answered my own question. Do I have enough time to make AASV a high priority in my life? As I looked around at all of our family’s friends in attendance, I realized that many of them were people who were associated with my business. All of my partners at Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic, employees who for years have been the heart and soul of our business, clients who now are our best friends, partners in industry, veterinary classmates, and members of AASV were all in attendance. These are not just people I work with every day, these are my best friends. Better yet, most of these people are also my family’s best friends. My involvement in my clinic, with my clients, in my profession, and in this association have not taken time away from my personal life: these entities are my personal life. By making my profession a high priority in my life, I decided that being actively involved in the AASV was also a priority. So when you get approached to help serve this association, realize that the commitment will require some of your time and may force you to change your priorities. Also realize that sometimes the fringe benefits of being active in your profession and in an association such as AASV are more rewarding than we can explain.