How often do we hear the excuse “Sorry, I have been busy” or even more dramatic “Sorry I have not replied to your e-mail, I just have been very busy…” We all hear these statements when we are asking someone for input or seeking someone to address an issue or concern. The question is, are they that busy, or is this just an excuse?
If we are to be honest, instead of saying “I don’t have time” say “It is not a priority for me.” This is harder to say but is reality. We all make time for things we want to do. We all find excuses for things we prefer not to do. There are many times when other people’s priorities are not our priority or concern; and that is okay, we just need to be honest. Amazingly, some of the people who are good at replying to e-mails in a timely manner are the same people I would consider extremely busy.
This issue of priority is critical when looking at taking time to address employee concerns, taking time to train or mentor someone, helping serve or promote a cause, or simply taking time to help others. Our association is very grateful to the many who volunteer their time and talents to advance our goals. The talents of many of our members are amazing. It is amazing how unselfish they are in giving and not asking for something in return. Sometimes it seems like we continue to ask the same people to do more.
Volunteering follows the 90-10 rule. It is 10% of individuals that do all the volunteering. This same 10% volunteer for many organizations and are just as busy as everyone else is, yet they make time.
The same is true for advocacy. It is easy to sit back and complain about new rules or lack of understanding or support of animal agriculture. The question is, how much of a priority are these issues for us? If they are important to us, then we need to make time. When and how we support this advocacy is a personal preference. If timing is not right, we can always look at helping support the cause through financial contributions.
Our AASV Foundation is an excellent example of how we can give back not only through volunteering, but also through financial contributions. Student mentorship is something I highly value. I am fortunate to be in an academic institution in which I can more easily provide this mentorship. As a swine veterinarian, you, too, can help mentor students through summer programs or preceptorships. Yes, it takes time. Yes, we are all busy. However, if we really want to help the future generation of swine veterinarians, we need to make time. We need to make it a priority. One can also provide financial support to the AASV Foundation so that even when we are not busy mentoring students, students have the opportunity to be mentored by others. These travel stipends to both our annual meeting and for summer preceptorships are invaluable.
Next time a student or AASV asks for your time, be ready to answer, “Yes, I am busy, but this is a priority for me.”
Alex Ramirez, DVM