Tag: career coaching

  • Microvalidations: an antidote for difficult days

    Microvalidations: an antidote for difficult days

    Are you supporting your team and self with positive interactions? Here's how to use microvalidations to increase resilience, team cohesion, and improve your work life satisfaction

    Posted: 05/06/2023

    Read Time/Watch Time

    5 minutes

    Who should read this?

    veterinarians, vet nurses, vet techs, employers.


    Melanie barham


    Global content

    Microvalidations: the antidote to Difficult Days

    The Gottman Institute says in healthy relationship, you should have at least 5 positive interactions for every negative one.  This applies to co-workers as well, and direct reports. Building other people up gives us as much or more of a hit of dopamine as receiving one, and it also boosts serotonin (see this article here).  If you want to be more satisfied in your career, and have a team that feels the same, read on!

    So I’ve known that Gottman stat for a while, but often thought: “cool; how do I do that consistently?” 

    On Friday, I read this article from HBR  and it struck me like a lightning bolt.  Microvalidations are small, impactful appreciations of someone’s character, work, or contributions.  They are the antidote to micro aggressions and negative interactions.  

    I loved the concept of micro validations, but what struck me was that I can remember EVERY SINGLE microvalidation that an employer has given me.  I didn’t know they were called that at the time, but the name is fitting.  One boss used to stop me before I left every day, and even on the crummiest day, he would say, “Melanie, thank you so much for your hard work today.” There would often be a specific example too. He shared with me that that had become his habit many years ago to never let an employee leave without hearing those words.  

    Providing micro validations isn’t limited to bosses and “bigwigs.”  We are all part of teams, and we rely on one another for success and especially when we have difficult days.  

    Microvalidations also increase our resilience and team cohesion, and interestingly, they have a great effect on us too.  

    After reading the article, I stopped, and took 15 minutes to send each member of my team a slack message.  It was a great way to end a Friday.  

    Here’s how you can try it too:

    1. Be specific
    2. Use their name
    3. Be sincere
    4. Write a note, call them up, send a text, or say it before they leave.

    e.g., A text to a new RVT/RVN: “Claire, I really appreciate your attention to detail, and how you are kind with your reminders to me when I forget something.  I’m so glad to have you on our team.”

    Here are some other ideas to use also:

    • Say thank you at the end of the day to your employees
    • Leave a note on their desk
    • Praise them in an external meeting in a specific manner “Sarah is incredible at pulling together the most difficult information and making it into a cohesive outcome; I’d love for her to take this on.”


    How do you micro validate people in your life?  What results have you seen from this technique or others on your satisfaction and the people around you?

    If you’re looking for more inspiration and support like this in your career, check out our coaching.  VSGD has a wide array of qualified coaches to help support teams, individuals, and career transitions as they seek to create satisfying workplaces and careers.  Having expert support with frameworks, research, and tested techniques can amplify and accelerate your success and goals.

    Chalkboard surface with the words "be kind" written

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  • Jenny Cantlay – Communications Officer for the...

    Jenny Cantlay – Communications Officer for the One Health European Joint Programme

    BVM&S, MRCVS, GP Cert SAM, MVetSci
    Communications Officer for the One Health European Joint Programme (University of Surrey)

    Posted: 22/12/2022


    £28K - 40K Varies depending on organisation.


    Some weekdays travel to office and occasional travel to Europe for events.



    Essential Skills

    A veterinary or biosciences degree and a postgraduate qualification.


    Patient, resourceful, innovative and precise.

    Watch Jenny here...

    …with this fab panel discussing switching to a career in conservation.

    Jenny Cantlay

    Check out our Career Q & A questions below to take a deep dive into this career path.  If you’re interested in this type of career but unsure how to take the next step, click below to learn more about our services designed to support you.

    I initially worked in small animal practices for 12 years to develop my clinical skills. In 2012, I relocated to Asia due to my husband’s work, which gave me the opportunity to change career direction. I have always been interested in wildlife health, conservation, and One Health topics. During my time overseas, I undertook postgraduate studies and was awarded the MVetSci in Conservation Medicine in 2015. The five years spent living in Malaysia and China were filled with amazing experiences, as I did voluntary work for different animal welfare and wildlife conservation NGOs. On returning to the UK, I started a PhD in avian sensory ecology, leading to fantastic fieldwork experiences working with captive and wild birds. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic had various impacts on my doctoral experience, and I made the difficult decision to withdraw. Subsequent time spent doing locum vet work provided me with the flexibility to do a career coaching course, which helped me gain confidence to move forward in a new direction.

    The career coaching was great. I realised that I had acquired many transferable skills from my varied professional life that could be applied to other job roles of interest to me. During my time spent volunteering, I had written articles for magazines and blogs and given presentations at public events about my wildlife experiences to raise public awareness for these NGOs’ work. I gained a great deal of satisfaction from these science communication activities. I also attended some science communications sessions as part of my postgraduate research. To advance my skills, I completed the Communications for Conservation Projects course by Conservation Careers in January 2022. Whilst doing this course, the Communications Officer role for the One Health European Joint Programme was advertised. Since the One Health approach aims to optimise the health of people, animals and ecosystems, this role aligned with my interests. So, I applied for the job and was offered it!

    As veterinary professionals, we already have good science communication skills. We communicate daily to a wide variety of people (the public, non-veterinary scientists, and other professionals). We are often producing written information in different styles and formats, including clinical reports, practice newsletters, client information sheets, practice website content. Many vets are already confident in using the digital world to share their veterinary (or other scientific) knowledge on social media platforms, websites, or online forums. Of course, it would be an advantage if you can attend a science or digitial communications courses to learn more about the tools and techniques available, especially for digital communications activities.

    For my Communications Officer role based at the University of Surrey, there was the requirement to have postgraduate science qualifications, and preferably a PhD, due communicating One Health science from this European research programme. Although, I did not have a PhD, I was offered this job due to my background understanding of One Health topics and enthusiasm for writing. Most communication officer roles would not require this level of academic achievement on application, as it is more relevant to have practical understanding of different communications channels and audiences. I have learnt how to do most of my work on the job, and it has been a steep learning curve! Especially being given the responsibility for the digital communications activities (e.g., newsletters, website content, social media etc.), which was completely new to me.

    I really enjoy deciding how to share this research programme’s outputs and activities to various audiences in more easily understandable and engaging ways. For this role, it is important for different stakeholders to understand how this One Health research programme can benefit their work across public, animal health and food safety sectors. I especially like promoting the PhD students’ work, as this increases their confidence. Since this programme is based in Europe, I have the opportunity to travel for attending some events, as I need to promote them.

    This job is flexible since it is a hybrid role, so I mix working from home and going to the university campus. I have the freedom to decide how to manage my daily schedule and tasks within the framework of the Communications Team workplan. Whilst I work full time, my working hours provide better work-life balance than the days of working in small animal practice (inevitably staying late due to an emergency blocked cat at 6pm!). 

    My job is mainly computer-based, and the downside is that I do miss the human-animal interactions that I had as a clinical vet. I have also found it challenging to take on a website administration role without any prior experience in this.

    I deliver the digital communications activities, which involve writing regular internal and external newsletters, creating, and scheduling social media posts on Twitter and LinkedIn, adding content to our website (currently undergoing redesign), and emailing OHEJP members about internal events. I also contribute to reports, presentations, and compile communications data. Another member of the team deals with the creative branding and marketing for our organisation. Every few months, I may need to travel to Europe for a conference or meeting, so that I can provide live social media during the event, take photos, and gather information for reporting back on it afterwards. A reasonable amount of my time is spent doing administrative tasks. Overall, I much prefer the science communication activities to the administration ones!

    Someone who can work both independently and be part of a team who has a passion for sharing scientific information. You must be willing to step out of your veterinary comfort zone and learn how to use digital tools required for various communications activities. It is also important to have attention to detail for writing and editing of communications materials. If you are creative and like using editing photos or designing graphics in Adobe, making videos, or have marketing experience, these skills would also be beneficial.

    I would suggest that if you are interested in this as a career, you should explore how different communication channels can be used to share science information. If you work in practice, learn to administer the Facebook or LinkedIn page for your company, or volunteer your time to help a local charity produce its newsletter or magazine, or start writing blog posts. Professionally, it would be an advantage have done any courses in science communications, especially for digital communications activities, as it is good to understand how websites and social media platforms work.

    Start creating content, both written and other media (videos, social media posts, podcasts etc.) about a topic you are interested in and initially share it with people you trust.

    Be happy to receive their feedback on what you have created.

    Ask them questions to find out what they liked/disliked about it.

    Review what you have created and once you are more confident, share it with a wider group of people.

    Look online to find Communications courses that interest you.

    Come on the journey with Vets Stay Go Diversify

    I need some career inspiration.

    I'm looking for a new job/career path.

    I need some career support to work out what's next for me.

    Curious to know More?

    Subscribe to our newsletter and never miss our free events, resources, and tips!

    Continue Reading

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