We often talk about career routes and every time it brings a smile to my face imagining what younger Lacey would think if she could see me now.
I’d been a good student in school, worked hard and got on well with everyone often driving projects; yet growing up in the Valleys I’d been told “not to aim too high”. Reflecting now fills me with pride and frustration in equal measure. Why should little girls be expected not to dream? To me, dreams were merely plans we had yet to figure out a roadmap for.
I subsequently spent the following years feeling like a square peg in a round hole. Not quite fitting the ideals of what career growth should look like and often feeling there were no seats at the table. What if I were too bold, too curious, too passionate and too ambitious? What if the careers advisors had been right?
The years that followed were full of grit. More rollercoaster than mono-rail. I pinballed around the system via 3 different nursing colleges finally obtaining my precious green uniform and wearing it with pride. I WAS a Registered Veterinary Nurse. Everything I had dreamed of, and yet when I got there I realised that to me I had only scratched the surface. I wanted to experience all corners of the profession and to explore the potentials once again of asking “what if”. I enjoyed meeting and joining new teams, adored teaching and mentoring, the range of clinical settings. The community. Instead of asking for seats at tables, I began to ask why not?
Why can’t RVN’s define their own roadmaps and decide where and how they want to get there? In truth, I realised the option was there all along, but we didn’t talk about squiggly careers. As I began to sit in boardrooms full of brilliant people, I realised they were exactly that. People. Each with their own road maps, some destination undefined. Each measuring success in different ways and that is absolutely ok. Better than ok, it should be championed.
RVNs have such a wealth of transferrable skills that it’s time to delve into how we can use them and utilise them for the better and so, in a career pivot, here I am. Working for the RCVS in a more formal role that young Lacey would never have imagined. In a role that meets my values and marries up my passion of Veterinary medicine and nursing with interest of improving mental wellness and care of the profession that nurtured me as I grew. One that challenges the image of how socio-economic diversity should limit how we approach that glass ceiling and smashes through preconceived ideas of what neurodiversity limits.
I am Lacey Pitcher. I am not a square peg in a round hole.
I am a round peg in a square hole with room to grow. Boundaries undefined. Potential uncapped. Squiggly career and destination unknown. I am proud to say young Lacey would now grin, but I am even more excited to explore the possibilities of what could be if curious minds were nurtured and empowered to drag their own seat to the table. Better still, to be invited as equals. A table where we may ask, why not?