I couldn't help but be at ease - knowing that I was arriving back in the very place my return to Recruiting Career pivot had taken off 14 years before - in Lake Tahoe for the 4th of July this past week.
So many things have changed since that time, but the themes I wrote about at that time are still relevant. I wish life wouldn't throw us curve balls, bend our timing, cause challenges, or put us in places of stress, but in a business that revolves around people that will always be inevitable. The key is to enjoy the journey.
Let me share some of the real life circumstances we have seen at the greater macro level that are adding to mental health challenges in our time where we must be able to navigate - albeit realizing that these have affected hiring managers AND candidates, and with it us recruiters. When was the last time you took a step back and allowed yourself to get back in the game, rev up your passion for your recruiting craft or took a moment to take it all in to transform your point of view on what it is you have been dealing with in the space of 3 short windy years? Here's a sampling of what you have faced:
>Fires in Australia and Lost Homes in CA to Wildfires
>Covid 19 for 2.5 years
>Lost jobs, lost livelihoods and millions of deaths
>A mini Recession and then a Crazy Labor Market followed by other factors
>Changes overnight to a work from office culture to a work from home culture
I could go on but these issues in and of themselves are crazy and a lot to take in. Of course then there's how all this affected people you knew, people close to you who lost their jobs, were shut in their homes, didn't have human interaction or lost a loved one along the way? Try being a leader in a local congregation charged with taking care of others. That was me. Where ever you have been, the loss of loved ones, friends, colleagues, work becoming blurred with home life, and all of this had to have taken a toll. Imagine worrying about your job while the entire world seems to be on Fire. That's a lot to take in in 3 crazy years isn't it?
As time went on displaced Recruiters were soon back at it, but their workloads were double, triple even. Unprecedented were the circumstances. In August 2021 after taking a new job I caught Covid and of course worried about it. My whole family caught it, and my neighbors also. Little did I realize that that had a profound affect on my stress. Today, you are more human than you might realize and your empathy as well as realization of how much your life MUST count is key to your moving forward. It was no longer about getting ahead - it was about survival.
For my part my mother had multiple entrances to the Hospital, and each time it was another stressor, I was across 2 states and couldn't be there as much as I wanted to be here for her. And then Covid hit. Day after day my Sr. Parents were at home by themselves, connected to the local congregation that supported them. Video calls were my way of connecting but even then, it just didn't feel right. Numerous meetings were held online, and managers shifted from the in-person interview to video interviews. That might be a thing to stay with us, but there's much to think about. Overnight cultures and work approaches changed. Your very way of interacting shifted.
At ADP where I worked managers wanted to be on camera more than ever before, and that was not an easy thing for some people. Beyond this, the cultures were shifting so fast, that to evolve and reinvent yourself in such an environment required you to rethink years of how you did things. I could go on.
Suffice it to say these have been 3 difficult years since the end of 2019 and start of 2020. Entering 2022 Covid is still with us. Recently, in the changes of the past few years, I made a Career Change to work for my Faith organization with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints last year in August 2021. That was a good move. But I left behind 9 years of memories and growth to recommit myself to a new way of looking at recruiting. The traditional lines of how I did my business had changed, good change for sure, but adaptation was absolutely essential and I'll admit I'm still adapting. On June 30th, 2022, after a long fight - having been diagnosed with Congenital Heart Failure my Mom's systems in her body finally gave up the fight. It was heart breaking but I also believe I will see her again.
So enter Tahoe. I found my opportunity for relevant quiet time. I had been on the go so fast and furious for months, that I had neglected a few things - that is self care. I was working hard, and putting in time to help my family. Go, Go, Go. It's all I had known for 3 crazy years. I had my moments of break away but I'll admit in recent months - the past 3 to be exact I had not taken time for quiet, meditation. As a human being will I be my best self when I'm moving at the speed of sound? 100% of the time? No stopping? Weekends even, just working hard and various things, but not even taking a moment to breathe. That was not a good mix. That was certainly not putting me in my strongest balance. You see, I was trying to move things forward on multiple fronts. Add to this a new work culture and adjusting in a first year career move, and that's quite a bit there. Balance. So key to your success. It MUST be part of your mindset. It MUST be part of your essential approach to living.
Then Mom passed recently. In all my years as a human being, something hit home. I have just a Few years to make time with my family, and make it count! I have just a few years to be moving the needle in the direction it needs to go. I can't be go, go, go all the time! My faith even teaches about that, and I'm working for it now. The lesson that needed to reach me most of all was the loss of Mom. It hit like a thunder bolt. Being at her funeral, surrounded by family suddenly if I was to totally reinvent myself yet again, (always be growing right?) I would need to have balance in my life, and enough time for quiet reflection, enough time to rise to a proactive approach to my recruiting venture. I couldn't sell myself short by not giving myself time to reflect, innovate, and grow. So here was the lesson - the difference from 3 months of go, go, go, it was actually time to sit still for a moment, write down some goals, and drive forward by working smarter, not harder. Hence these were all the circumstances and lessons needed to hit a reset of sorts, drive ahead and become better at life overall, not just in recruiting.
So, in Tahoe it was a turning point, one that I think will guide me for further growth, and move me to my best self. I see that now, that I will need quiet introspection, write more recruiting articles again to gain the innovative ideas to drive my recruiting desk and thrive. While I am a good recruiter, when you are on overdrive in your life you are bound to burn out. That's exactly what happened. And then losing my Mom hit me so hard in the heart. My best friend. My cheerleader, my most cherished Coach was gone. She had Anxiety, it runs in the family, and I possess it too. My advise as a Recruiter is this. In order to give your best self, you must find centering time. All the more important when you are in a people business. So I feel renewed and reinvigorated again. The human condition is such that, you must be authentic to connect with your candidates, and hiring managers - for when YOU are human - your very recruiting vibe will start to change. People will begin to notice, the reinvention will hit your soul completely and coherently.
I made peace with the loss of my mother over the past few weeks. I made peace with my Recruiting desk and the way I approach it, furthermore, the way I drive results will change. Proactive follow-ups, moving results, doing things for the right reasons, and taking time for self care, will ALWAYS be important. Here is one of my most important advocates and friends, next to my Mom it's my wife. She moves me. She helps me see the other side of an issue, and she anchors our family. When challenges emerged during Covid 19 she was a stabilizing influence on me, and the way I recruited, and kept things moving. Today, you may have to reinvent yourself, as the staffing realm has completely changed. Issues today are entirely different than when I started on the recruiting path all those years ago. Yet, I'm a better man for the lessons learned. For a time, I kept myself humming along, go, go, go. I forgot to think of one thing - that self care, and time out for reinvention would be the factors for success on the road ahead.
Take time for yourself today, just because. Take time to reinvent yourself just because. Serve your community just because. Forgive that difficult hiring manager, forgive that tough candidate. For 3 years everyone has been in a tough place - give the human beings around you some Grace and understanding. For now, that little touch of goodness can change a life. I have anxiety, through Covid I have seen people struggle, be hurt, tough it through, but deep down they were hurting, they were feeling the pinch. TODAY, do things a bit differently. You have but one life to live, and life is incredibly fragile - you won't be good for anyone until you realize you need to take care of yourself first and foremost.
To fight the battles you must win will take your whole self. In a human business like this, you will need to get ahead of the curve to drive results. When you start driving things, the entire dynamic and method of your delivery will change in ALL areas of your life. For me, I needed a reset - just because of where I was. Not that I was doing anything necessarily wrong, I just wasn't taking enough time, to reconnect, reset, and make new goals, short term that is. I have my long term ones. But these macro level issues caused by 3 years of shifting, and changing circumstances, I hope make us realize just how important it is to show up and keep trying when everything is moving in tandem to create new realities and adaptations.
It was standing looking over a bright blue lake yet again, I reconnected with my most effective staffing self once more. Like I wrote all those years ago, Finding your Niche is especially important, equally so is knowing when you need to take a moment to reset and recharge. Do you work through your lunches without stopping to eat? Do you drive forward to such a degree that you are not making enough time to think in an innovative way? These are key factors. They are essential for staffing success now and into the future. No matter what happens, I have an Angel mother looking down on me now, and I feel to honor her legacy is to make time, make time for reset, re-engineering planning in your career and life, and making time to be close to your loved ones.
You see work life balance isn't just a buzz word anymore, it's a factor where the lines have been blurred. So as you recruit remember one thing, the people you are recruiting for jobs have families, lives, and wishes. If you are on a path where you are taking better care of yourself, your entire recruiting landscape will transform, change, and move with you. I'm looking forward to where this reinvention journey and momentum moves me to.
It seems like Tahoe renewed the fire within me once again, and after all we've been through - doesn't it make sense to make every moment in your life count? Standing next to my wife in this picture with the beauty of Lake Tahoe behind us, spending a week connected as a family planning my mother's funeral and turning sorrow into a celebration of life, I learned one thing - that life is too short not to make each and every moment count. Take nothing for granted. Hug your kids, hug your wife, love your parents, make one more phone call, make one more effort to call that candidate back, make one more effort to be a genuine, authentic human being. Let people see you at your most capable and your best. Let reinvention be your mantra and Kaizen your gift to your workplace and humanity - then your Recruiting game will be even more elevated - hiring managers, your candidates, your colleagues, your family, your loved ones, will see the change - and it will be worth it. I guarantee it.