Get a pet 2 get ahead

News Desk

Why do we need pets? Do you really need a furry responsibility in your life while you climb the corporate ladder? The answer is yes, you do need a pet. More so if you are a rising executive with lots of stress.

Pet’s help you distress, keep you healthy while achieving a better balance between work and personal life. Another plus point is they help you develop empathy and your emotional IQ; all soft skills that may be essential to success in a senior team.

“Well-informed HR managers and directors sneak surprise questions in about you and your pets during interviews as the benefits of pet ownership are more widely known in the corporate world,” Gusti Coetzer, director of Signium Africa said. According to one US survey, 93% of top executives grew up with a pet and 78% partly attribute career success to childhood pet ownership. Survey respondents say having a pet taught a sense of responsibility and helped them show empathy. Later in life, walking the dog helped them relax and come up with business ideas. Pet ownership also helps these executives connect with colleagues who also own pets.

Various surveys spotlight a pet’s knack of de-stressing owners and the ability of pets to “spread laughter and positivity”. The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative quantifies many benefits. For example, pet owners save in visits to the doctor while the owners who walk their dogs five times a week keep obesity in check. Similarly, workaholics who live at the office attest to the life-changing properties of pet ownership. Having a dog or cat waiting at home gives you a reason to call it a day.

“Researchers increasingly focus on quite specific medical benefits. They have found that pet owners tend to have healthier hearts and feel less depressed. When you own a pet, blood pressure and heart rates return to normal faster after a stress test. Performance under stress also improves. Apparently, simply stroking your pet can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. In a nutshell, if you’re animal crackers you’re less likely to crack up at work. That’s got to be good news for pet-friendly decision makers and the businesses they lead,” Coetzer concluded.

*Auguste (Gusti) Coetzer is a director of Signium Africa (previously Talent Africa), a leading recruitment company based in South Africa offering executive head-hunting and leadership consulting.

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