Recruiters – The World is Bigger Than Your Desk

There are many reasons I adore my current boss – I was reminded of one just the other day. I was coming off an especially grueling couple of weeks. One particular search, which should have been an easy fill, had become nothing short of a nightmare. Without going into all the gory detail (I’d like to keep my job) let’s just say there had been a communication breakdown between me and my client. As a corporate recruiter, my only option is to keep working with this person. I can’t give it to another recruiter (we’re aligned by business group), I can’t “fire” the client, and no one was coming to my rescue. I finally reached my breaking point, sat in my boss’ office, and burst into tears.


My boss did the only reasonable thing. She pulled that day’s paper out of the recycle bin, slapped it down on the desk in front of me and pointed out whatever horrible headline was leading the news. Look at what’s happening in the world, she said. Cry about THAT. Cry after the election, if you really must (I guess depending on if the guy you support wins or not). But this? Work? Don’t cry over this. IT’S JUST RECRUITING. THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN YOUR DESK.




I’ll admit it – I often find myself smack dab in the center of the universe thinking the world as I know it will end if I don’t close this deal. If I don’t earn this commission. If that client doesn’t return my call. Guess what - life goes on. There are at least six billion other people on the planet who could care less if my favorite candidate gets hired.


Yesterday we remembered the tragedy of 9/11. I was managing a staffing office that day, and I can tell you my team did not conduct a single interview. Life went on. Today we’re watching events unfold in the Middle East including (as of this post) the assassination of our Ambassador to Libya. My boss is right. There are those who have it worse than me.


I have a job. I have a family that loves me, co-workers that like me. I win more than I lose at this recruiting thing. My life is generally pretty awesome. Bad days will happen – deals will fall through, clients will piss you off, and the world will seem to be against you. Life will go on. The best advice I got last week on my very-bad-no-good day? Go home and hug your kids. The work will be here tomorrow. The world is bigger than your desk.

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Comment by Erin Passmore on September 12, 2012 at 2:04pm


It is very easy to get caught up in these days, its a great reminder of how big the world is.  And I remember 9/11, I was on my way to a client meeting, was stuck in traffic.  Needless to say I cancelled the meeting and ran back to the office.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 12, 2012 at 2:30pm

thanks Erin! :)

that was a tough day... I was living in So Cal and so of course we were 3 hours behind. I had no idea what had happened (no news or radio on the way to work) until I walked into the office to find my entire time huddled around a TV someone brought in, rabbit ears and all.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 12, 2012 at 2:30pm

entire *team, that is

Comment by Erin Passmore on September 12, 2012 at 2:44pm

That was what we were watching on as well when I got back in.  And with the scary stuff happening in Libya, well I may be in Canada but it affects us all.

Comment by Tom Bolt on September 12, 2012 at 3:41pm

Amy, we have all had days like that. I don't think I have burst into tears (and if I did I would probably not admit it!) but sometimes it seems as if the little things are bigger than they are. You are lucky to have a boss who understands and cares. Many years ago as a corporate recruiter I began to feel that there was no way out of the gloom. My manager gave me a copy of the book "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and it's all small stuff)" which became my mantra. The other lesson I learned from all this was to pay it forward and preach this lesson to my co-workers. Attitude changes everything.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on September 12, 2012 at 4:12pm

I have a speech that has been referred to as a McCartism.  It gets repeated to my kids, my clients, my candidates, my friends and sometimes to myself which always makes me laugh at myself.


When you feel like the whole world is just a big ball of shit remember that the big ball of shit is made of a whole bunch of little toids.  anybody can clean up one little toid so how about we clean up the bird toids first, then move on to the elephant toids.  by the time we get to the elephant sized one it will be the only one left and the whole big ball of shit only takes a couple of shovels to get it handled.  And after all if your job is to clean up after the elephants please remember that it's fun to be in the circus.  Who would leave show biz.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 12, 2012 at 4:15pm

lol Sandra I was HOPING you'd comment!! :) I love that and will be stealing your McCartism.

Thomas, I need to pick up that book.

Comment by Christopher Perez on September 13, 2012 at 9:05am

Good reminder, Amy. Perspective is always a reliable refuge during these "woe-is-me" moments. It helps you square your shoulders and dust yourself off.

Comment by Donna Richardson on September 13, 2012 at 10:29am

Amy – great article!  My one New Year’s resolution this year was to lead a more thankful life. Your article just brought me back around to that.  I’ve been very blessed in both my professional and personal life and believe in paying it forward.  The world of recruiting is one of the biggest roller coaster rides out there – so on those days when we’re at the bottom of ride we just need to remember that we’ll be at the top again soon! And that yes, "The World is Bigger Than Our Desks"!

Comment by Robye Nothnagel on September 13, 2012 at 10:58am

Thanks for the refreshing look at our job.  It's so easy to get caught up in the little stuff -- "are they ever going to call back" etc.  It's also nice to know that most of us feel the same way. 

Donna - I like the roller coaster ride - it's funny how the ride to the top takes so long and being at the top is so quick. Guess we need to enjoy the ride.


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