September 5, 2019

The Right Stuff

Sometimes it feels to me that everyone thinks they want to work at the Ottawa Humane Society. I say “thinks” they want to, because my experience has been that a lot of people don’t know what is expected of an OHS employee, or for that matter, any employee of a not-for-profit.

I recall one manager here telling me that when she left the for-profit world to work for the OHS, her soon-to-be-former work mates treated the move as if she was going into semi-retirement. Little did they know, she told me, but she was working at least twice as hard at the OHS than she had in the Ottawa high tech sector.

Some people believe that loving animals is enough of a qualification. I have had conversations with people who tell me they are desperate to work here, but they clearly did not have a skill set that the OHS required. Why the heck would we need a librarian? Loving animals is a good thing, but education and experience in animal care and welfare is what the majority of our positions require.

So, if you have been thinking about applying for a job at the OHS, what should you know about what you need to be happy and successful?  Here is a short list of the “right stuff”:

  1. Relevant education and experience.  A passion for animals is not enough.
  2. A love for animals, but…  Loving animals is good, but the love has to come with some perspective. Animals often come to us very sick or severely injured. Sometimes, the only option to end their suffering is euthanasia. If you can’t see this as a kindness, then you will not be happy here.
  3. A willingness to follow process. Most jobs at the OHS are not creative. Animal care must be provided in a strictly specified way to protect the animals’ health and well-being, just as it would in a human hospital.
  4. A willingness to go the distance for the animals. People don’t stay at the OHS for the pay or benefits—though they are competitive for the not-for-profit world.  They stay because they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves that is making a difference in their community. And for that, they will work hard and give their very best. Our team is full of people who go above and beyond every day.
  5. An excitement to help animals and your community. If you want to grow and develop with the OHS and are excited about the fantastic things your—and everyone’s—contribution is making happen, then you will be very happy here.

Where do you fit on this list? Do you see yourself on this list? If you do, visit the careers section of the OHS website regularly for opportunities.  If not, thank you for recognizing it. The animals need your help in many ways that don’t necessarily include employment at the OHS.

Bruce Roney
President and CEO

P.S.  One of the great ways to help the animals is to collect pledges and walk or run in the OHS’s Wiggle Waggle Walk and Run this weekend!