Being in HR for nearly 15 years, I can tell you that I know my strengths and my weaknesses.
Patience is not one of my virtues. However, it is vitally important when you are unemployed. In my prior role, I had a rule with my team that when we had an applicant, we responded to them within 24 hours – even if all we were saying was “I don’t have an answer, yet. I will get back to you.” When someone is unemployed or currently employed and contemplating making a change, every hour counts to them. We didn’t always meet 24 hours – sometimes it was 48 hours or the next business day, and we took advantage of every automation possible to help us be more efficient. A good ATS should help you communicate more effectively with your candidates – not hinder it. That’s a post for another day, though.
Asking for help is another struggle for me. When you have a servant leader mentality, you want to help others – not yourself. My blog is HR Without Ego because I don’t ask for praise or thanks. I take satisfaction from helping others and knowing I made an impact. In the current state of the job market, however, I have learned that it’s okay to not only ask for help but to accept it. I have always built my network based on a pay it forward mentality, and I was very uncomfortable asking anyone to reciprocate. However, that changed thanks to coffee one morning with John Rhoads who I met at the HR Roundtable moderated by the fantastic Steve Browne.
John is a life coach, and trust me, when you think you’re going to retire from your current company, the harsh reality that you’re not is hard to take. He was the first person that I had spoken the words “my last day is next Friday” to at the Roundtable that morning, and I nearly cried saying it. I’m sure I looked like it because he looked at me and said:
“It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.”
I was nervous to meet him for coffee that morning for a multitude of reasons. First, I was embarrassed that I had lost my job. Second, I didn’t want to ask anyone for help. I was in HR, after all, I do this for a living. Shouldn’t I know how this works? Third, I was facing unemployment, so if he was selling something, I wasn’t buying.
I survived the meeting, nerves and all, and I was so glad that I had not talked myself out of going. John had just posted this video that morning, the importance of owning our story. He reminded me that it’s okay to ask for help, and that I’m most valuable helping my next organization, so I need to focus my efforts, own my story, and in the meantime, I will blog about the journey of being “in search” (where did that name come from?) and hopefully help others that are in a similar circumstance.