Vicarious Careers is a regular newsletter or ‘blog’ if you prefer where I share some of my musings, wisdom gained from others, useful daily tools, analogies, and stories. “It’s not the years it’s the miles” is my response when being ribbed by my younger team. As the old dog in the office, I have covered a lot of miles, anyone in recruitment will tell you it’s an emotional roller coast with some experiences feeding your soul reminding you why you do it and others raising the question do I want to remain a member of the human race where the thought of setting up a commune on a remote island seems preferable.
One aspect that many external to the industry often fail to see is the vicarious aspect of recruitment, I have seen the world through the eyes of successful business owners, failing startups, Fathers and mothers trying to juggle busy lives, individuals attempting to beat addiction to become a functioning member of the workforce again, you name it Grief, Tragedy, Joy, despair the whole smorgasbord of human emotions has been at the end of a webcam or phone at some point.
As it was for many the Pandemic was a point of reflection, a historical moment for all of us, and hopefully not to be repeated in our lifetimes. For me, the daily buzz of the office faded, and the background hum of day-to-day life grew faint, replaced by my inner thoughts and the need to find purpose in my days. As it happens ‘purpose’ sought me out, in the early weeks of the pandemic a steady trickle of calls came through, “can I grab your ear”, “I need some advice”, “I was told you may be able to help” Calls from individuals I helped secure job roles years ago reached out to me, not to discuss work or their career but their lives, each of them had a tale to tell,
This period is where I coined the phrase “Work is never just about work” it became evident work had filled a need for some and papered over the cracks for others, without it some of us were struggling to deal with the flood of thoughts and emotions that filled the void. Weeks became months and business owners, and successful entrepreneurs were now making contact, “what are your thoughts” “You speak to lots of people, what are you hearing from others” and everything in between. I walked the lives of individuals hoping to retire who saw their retirement pots reduced by half, the recently redundant, and on the other side of the coin the jackals who chose to feed off the chaos. “seizing the opportunity”, Making the best of a bad situation, is one thing. I’m all for a “positive mental attitude” but manipulating people when they are in need of support or cashing in on the outcry for certain products doesn’t make you a glass-half-full kind of person it makes you an asshole.
Divorce, Suicide, Health worries, Anxiety about the future all were points of conversation, this blog isn’t to breach any confidences, individual stories will remain untold but the differing reactions, life skills, and the human strength I witnessed combined with my wider experience of what makes us ‘Human’ and how it’s possible to rewire the machine to create better outcomes in our careers and wider lives is the primary aim of my posts, with input from others I hope to offer a different lens on the day to day choices you make.