My New Year's Resolution - A Ban on Ceramic Dalmatians

My New Year’s Resolution is quite simple. I will no longer be brainwashed by Pat Sajak.

In a less cryptic manner of speaking – I intend on imposing a ban on “Ceramic Dalmatians.” Wait. What?

For reasons unbeknownst to me, memories of my childhood are cluttered by the recollection of watching daytime episodes of “Wheel of Fortune” during the hottest days of summer.

I recall watching winning contestants spend significant winnings on fabulous prizes, but there was always a catch. If you had money to spend, and could afford anything in the room – you had to buy it. This often meant that a contestant would leave the studio with the iconic “Ceramic Dalmatian”.

You are will spend your money on me!

The Dalmatian represents everything that went wrong with our economy and can be traced to the beginning of last year’s hiring freezes, layoffs and corporate restructurings.

In fact, I blame Pat Sajak's evil creation for many ills of our economy, and society as a whole. This show hampered my ability to understand what the true value of $250 really is. What he sees as merely a “vowel purchase” represents a sum close to a week’s worth of unemployment assistance. I grew up without the ability to determining a good price for even the most mundane item. If people smart enough to be on “Wheel” could justify spending $350 on a ceramic Dalmatian – then would I not be willing to advise my clients to spend beyond their means?

This dim view on economic reality became a disturbing trend. As professionals, we should approach hiring and search engagements with a long-term focus in mind.

Unfortunately, that's the exact antithesis of what The Wheel taught us. The Wheel’s mantra was “If you have enough money to plow through an entire room's worth of fabulous merchandise, and still have money enough to buy the Dalmatian - you have to buy it. In fact, you have to spend every last penny until you are down to $50 or so bucks that you then get to keep in cold hard cash.”

Unfortunately, this seems to have bled in to our culture, and I think we all have learned first-hand what happens when a person or company takes on a spend without thinking mindset.

This requires the ability to make difficult decisions time to time. We have to choose between the Lobster© tennis ball practice machine or the 42 inch RCA remote controlled TV with Technicolor. These choices represent big purchase decisions that would warrant real discussions. In this fantasy world, they are arrived at by using only 5 seconds of brain power.

This year, we will all work with clients who can finally see a light at the end of a bleak economic tunnel that was 2009. Our job is to help them realize that hiring decisions represent more than filling an empty slot on a headcount roster. They need to know that each hire represents an improvement opportunity for their company.

The ability to spend and hire can not be looked in the same fashion as a shopping spree through the parlor room. Sure, they will want to hire some high-end candidates, just like a winning contestant would without fail purchase a “Six Million Dollar Man Pinball Machine”. Sometimes awesomeness and necessity do intersect.

But my sense of duty drives me to ensure that they finish each round with a little left in their pockets – rules be damned. As evidenced by the genius case studies in Freakonomics – our economy is driven by more than market forces – it is driven by incentive.

By placing an incentive on making wise hiring decisions, we have the unique opportunity to help clients establish a pattern of long-term growth. This will prove to be a pleasant departure from the “all or nothing” mentality that unfortunately governs the underground “Recruitonomy”.

The lesson here is that money is real. People are real. Careers tie these things together, and realistic stability is the great unifier.

Thus is the genesis of my resolution. My pledge is to give my clients and candidates the highest level of attention, ensuring that every stakeholder in each of my search engagements find themselves financially and personally better off because of our partnership.

And I will make sure that nobody ends up with that Dalmatian.

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Comment by Diane Prince Johnston on January 8, 2010 at 1:07am
Like your post, however there was something to be said for Pat, Vanna and the 45% placement fee!
Comment by Chris Hood on January 8, 2010 at 9:05am
I think that Pat and Vannah influenced companies like Enron - where the money spent and consequences of limited oversite steered them in to catastrophe. Would you rather get 45% for a short burst, or 25% over the long-haul with stability?
Comment by Diane Prince Johnston on January 8, 2010 at 9:12am
Totally agree with you. My comment was somewhat in jest and my apologies to Vannah for misspelling her name :)

p.s. Also nostalgic for the days of ignorance to trans fat and at the same time prefer organic and local produce. Long-haul vs. short burst!


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