Values. Everyone has values associated with family and relationships. The success of our relationships are normally a testament to the dedication of our value sets. As time progresses, relationships grow and change – and so do our values. As we age our values differ tremendously compared to our teen years, when life had less responsibility. Relationships may come and go as those value sets transition. Life goes on.
I bring this up because have we ever associated our value sets with our employer or our job? Employers love to white board company values during brainstorming sessions. How many of you sat through a focus group or session where these are yelled out: excellence, integrity, discipline, learning, fairness, results, accountability, innovation, continuous improvement, honesty, team work, collaboration, diversity, safety, customers, communication… and the best one, fun. A bunch of buzz words, but do they ever actually mean anything? Do we ever execute any of those values? Or is it just a carrot that employers throw out to keep us moving ahead.
I started to wonder, what happens when we continue to grow but our employers’ values no longer match ours?
When I graduated college in 2000, it was the beginning of the dot.com bust. Budgets started shrinking and a decade of layoffs began. I started recruiting in the early 2000s and just as I started to hit my stride and increase my earnings, the recession hit. More layoffs. In my entire career, I have never known an employer to be loyal. I learned very quickly that, as a Gen X’er, I had to take care of myself. Always keep my resume updated. Keep networking and never assume you will have a job tomorrow.
When I first started out in my career, my values were title, status, and money. Paying the bills and being able to visit Banana Republic was enough for me. Consumption was my top value. I figured I would gain experience and eventually find my joy in my career but until then, just make money. I worked extra hours, took on anything that was asked of me, always proving my worth through quick delivery and going above and beyond. I left employers for bigger titles and bigger paychecks. If there was a chance to make more money, I took it. If there was a chance to progress to management, I took it. I kept climbing.
With my networking, I started to be in the inner circle of local award winners – 40 under 40, management excellence awards, and invitations to join boards. I relished in the attention of it all. I felt like I worked hard and deserved the accolades coming my way. As I look at them, attracting dust on my bookshelf, I realize it was to feed my ego and not my joy or passion.
I wish I could be that employee that can work and keeping the machine running, all the while just saying yes to everything handed to me. Eventually it all just felt empty. What was I killing myself for? If I didn’t hop jobs, my salary barely increased. We have all seen the 2% cost of living increases since 2000. None of us are getting rich by being loyal.
My values had changed. I made a cardinal mistake and expected my employer to flex to my value change. I no longer wanted to be attached to my desk chair. I wanted autonomy and the ability to work a flexible schedule. I wanted to balance my life and ensure relationships outside of work were nurtured. I wanted to find the purpose.
Recruitment is relationship based. When working in a corporate recruitment role – relationships tend to be more transactional. I receive job, I fill job. The constant battle is allowing talent acquisition to be at the table for strategic staffing conversations in a corporate environment. 20 year from now I think TA leaders will still be fighting the good fight. Good luck to all of you!
I started to miss the sales cycle of a staffing recruiter. The hunt of finding and nurturing the candidate relationship. And the excitement of the close. I missed ringing the bell and hearing cheers from the bull pen.
My value set changed so I knew I had to make a change.
I decided that I wanted to create my own destiny. Create a recruitment process that worked for the client as well as the candidate. Where people come first. Where balance is a necessity. Where fun is inevitable and where success is the future. I left my corporate talent acquisition leadership role to create DNP Talent. Where my values are met. Where I create joy in my career. And where I help others find the values they are striving to have in their life.
So I ask you, are you living your values? Are you in a job that honors those values and helps you progress in your career? If not, we are here to help. Let’s talk.