Thursday, May 19, 2011

Simple Reminders...

Today was one of those days where, no matter how badly things are going, you realize someone always has it worse.

My day began at work as it usually does: We have a daily staff meeting to discuss who is working on what and what our priorities are. Unfortunately, this was the meeting where I had to announce that not only had two of my people quit yesterday but one of my candidates didn’t want a job.

This is never a good way to start the day. Even though it’s not my fault the consultants quit, it feels like I did something wrong. It doesn’t help that my boss and the other account manager in the office are stressed that we now have to replace my candidate. In short, I felt like I was lousy at my jobs.

So, one of my tasks was to try to replace the consultant who quit with no notice. This situation did not make me happy. Rather than be professional and call me to tell me he wasn’t happy, he couldn’t afford the gas and he was going to try to get his old job back he instead signed a contract with his old company before he told me he was quitting. Thus, even though I asked for him to provide us with a weeks’ notice, he couldn’t.

You can see why I was both upset and frustrated. Fortunately, I had a resume from another candidate with a similar background to call. So, I called her.

It was then that I realized that my bad day with irritated account managers and low work-esteem was really not that bad. You see, this poor woman had been laid off two years ago. She’d been trying to find jobs but, unfortunately, she’s an older programmer and technology is evolving. Thus, there is less and less need for someone with her skills. As a result, she’s currently living with a friend because she’s homeless. Prior to getting laid off, she’d been laid off at two prior jobs.

Talking to her made me realize that I was incredibly lucky to have a job. I already knew this, of course but having it affirmed is always a good thing. Things can always be worse. Way worse.

By the time I got off the phone with her, I wanted to give this poor woman a job. She’s running out of unemployment and she really, really wants to work. She could easily do the job I was calling her about and I want her to get it.

Unfortunately, it’s not my decision. The way it works in my office is that when I find a candidate, I have to present her to the account manager who is in charge of the position. This is easier said than done when dealing with this particular account manager. She worries constantly about little things and looking bad and thus, she hesitated when I told her my candidates tales of woe. She doesn’t think she can get this woman a job because she hasn’t worked in a while. However, she knows as well as I do that the market has been horrible and there are lots of people looking for work.

I can’t do anything about it. Even with a good reference, I don’t think she’s going to help me out with my candidate. This, unfortunately, happens a lot. It’s one of the few things I don’t like about my job- both me and my fellow recruiter spend hours finding candidates for positions. We phone screen them, interview them in person and then present them. This takes a lot of time.

Unfortunately, it only takes a few minutes for my account manager to say, “I don’t think so.” Many times they’re right and, even in the case of my Virtually Homeless Candidate, she might be right.

It’s just that I’m a softie. This is why I end up with a pile of resumes from desperate candidates who just want a job, any job. I can’t say no because I want to help them.

This is probably not very good. However, even when I’ve tried to change, I still can’t really say no because I don’t want to say no. I want to help them. I’d want someone to help me.

Unfortunately, in the world of IT recruiting, there are times when I’m going to have to say no. I’ve done it but I don’t like doing it. Sometimes, it’s easy- particularly when the candidates aren’t very pleasant or, worse, are greedy. Case in point, yesterday, I called a consultant who I’d spoken to just a couple of weeks ago. Back then, he was looking for a job and wanted $70K a year which, for his skillset, is very reasonable. Just two weeks later, he’s found himself a cushy little short term project that pays well. Short term projects do pay well because there’s no overhead fees for the company. He now feels as though he’s worth at least $70/hour and, ideally, “should be making $75/hour”.

I’ll do the maths for you on that. If he had a job that paid $75/hour that was fulltime, his equivalent salary would be almost $150K. Given that he wanted under HALF of that two weeks ago, methinks he might be in for a rude awakening when this contract is over and he realizes that while he’s good at his job, there are a lot of other people out there who are better and way more affordable.

Sorry I’m blogging so much about my job this week. It’s been one of those weeks. On the plus side, I actually saw the sun today! It came out for ten minutes. Yes, that is all…ten minutes. Yet it was ten minutes we didn’t have yesterday.

I’m hoping that next week will be a better week, workwise. Yet, even if I have another week full of quitters, disappointments and gloomy days, I will remind myself: Life could be far, far worse. I do, after all, have a job and, what’s even better, I like it most of the time.

But, really, what more can you ask for in a job really?

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

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