Where should I start? Was it the horrible Folgers coffee with the weird chemical skim and powdered creamer that accompanied it (which only worked when the so-called “coffee” was McDonald’s-style hot) which made me rethink my career in an office environment? Or maybe it was the 8-5 rule, insisting that I have my rear in my seat, accomplishing the whims of my boss? Honestly, it was a mixture of many things I disliked and couldn’t change … even if it improved my productivity, or the company overall. I think I just came to the conclusion that I could do things better, but I would have to work for myself in order to make that happen.
After school, I started off my career in the HR world. Payroll and employee benefits – yippee! Sounds exciting, right? I actually enjoyed it, though. I liked listening to people, answering questions, resolving problems, etc. The only issue I had was that I kept seeing things that needed to be changed. Day in and day out, I would see negative things happen with little power to change it. I would gather data, put together spreadsheets, and come up with ideas about how to make a positive change for the employees. These changes would better the company as well … but that always seemed to fall on deaf ears, unless it helped the bottom line.
I felt that, in order to see any progress, an investment needed to me made. I was constantly trying to be the voice for the people who helped make the company their profits, but I still wasn’t being heard. That's when I decided: If I wanted to feel good about what I was doing, and be able to make a change, I needed to move on in my career.
Now, this is where is gets exciting … seriously! I took a leap during my divorce and accepted a job that only paid commission for my work. You’re thinking I’m crazy, right? Now, I usually am a careful person with my finances, but this seemed like the motivation I needed. I only got paid if I could make the change happen – it’s exactly what I was lacking.
For the next nine months, I recruited my little heart out and changed a lot of people’s lives in the process. I was helping people like me find better careers and I was helping good companies become better by finding them solid people. I was like the career cupid. Things were great until I started getting some push-back from my bosses about how I was handling things. I liked meeting people face to face, listening to client’s needs before offering advice, not forcing someone to make a decision; even if that meant a paycheck for me. I wanted to feel honest and good about my work.
My way was working, but my bosses wanted more. Now, keep in mind … they thought it was a numbers game. The logic was that the more people you call, the more likely you’ll get a yes, right? But, along the way, I was burning 99 bridges to get to one that I might be able to cross. It was time-consuming and the luster wore off quickly. I felt like I was doing a disservice to the clients I worked with and was just shoving candidates into openings, while waiting with my fingers crossed that one pairing would actually work.
Around the time I started hating my job, I got an offer from one of my clients to come work for them. They liked my approach to people and thought it would make a difference for their relationships with others in the industry. I packed my belongings and said bon voyage to my recruiting cubicle.
But was this the calling I had been seeking? Ah, I wish it was … but this was the last step before going out on my own. The job I took was a large family-owned firm that wanted to make some big changes to keep up with the times. At first it was great! I felt like I was being heard, I had the flexibility to work with clients the way I wanted to, and I felt like I was making a difference.
But, soon after the one-year mark, the honeymoon came to a crashing end. I was getting asked to have more meetings with clients in our office or theirs instead of taking them out for coffee or lunch. I was also being asked why I wasn’t in the office much. I was in sales … I’m not sure what good sitting in my desk was doing, but I did it because I was told to.
The realization struck me that I was being put back into the box I just got out of … and I did not like it. So, after trying to make it work and realizing it wasn’t going to, I left.
Now, (yes we are at the NOW part) I’m sitting at my home office desk with my four dogs at my feet typing this blog entry. I work from home to pass the savings onto my clients and, also, because it is where I feel like I do my best work. I even make a habit of making a donation to the Humane Society every time I help someone find a new job … what other company does that?? Working for myself allows me to work the way that is best for me and I feel like that is how everyone should feel.
Wow! In real life, this is a much better story. Maybe I can liven it up in person over coffee or a good bourbon if you ever want to learn more about recruiting! If so, feel free to reach out to me to set something up!
Business Owner, Super Recruiter, Coffee Enjoyer, Bourbon Lover, Dog Spoiler, and Oxford Comma User
(Note: I wonder if all of that could fit on a business card?)