Got the Monday Blues? Press On!

It was 5 pm on Friday. The caller ID display read a solo practitioner friend of mine who touches base periodically just to catch up on what’s new. It’s always a boost to me to hear from this guy. This time, however, it was different.

“Neil, I just had a fall off. I am absolutely sick right now. I needed the money from this one for Christmas, and now I don’t know what I’m going to do. You know, I’m going to tell you something that I’ve never admitted to anyone…ever. Even though I have been doing this business for 17 years…I HATE it!! I always have! Even when I was a national rookie of the year with (a major franchise operation before he went solo), I have always hated this business. I feel like the biggest hypocrite in the world…persuading people to change jobs if they aren’t happy…and I’ve never been happy.”

I am rarely speechless…but this time, I was. Here was a guy who had always been one of the most gung-ho recruiters I had ever known.

He has motivated me and lifted me out of many down times. Now I was deeply troubled for him, not just because my friend was having a bad day and was hurting, but because his words struck a nerve for me.

On many occasions, I have also hated this business, but I never told anyone.

Let’s face it. Any business where you must hire 10 people to get three successful has major negatives. Any business which has franchisors that require you to put your life savings on the line to purchase a franchise because, otherwise, you’ll quit, has major negatives. Any business where you can spend entire days speaking with people who do not wish to speak to you can only be enjoyable to strange people. Any business where thousands of dollars in personal income can go away instantly due to variables you have no control over can only be enjoyable to people who love living constantly on the edge.

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Why would anyone make a career out of this?

I’ve found that most who continue doing this business for longer than the usual couple of years do so because, like my friend, they are good at it. They have a talent which only one in 1,000 people have. I’ve also found the majority do not particularly enjoy it, no matter what they may say in public, but they stay at it because they have a part of themselves which asks “If I do not do this, who will?” And they enjoy changing people’s lives in profound ways.

We ALL have hated this business. Anyone who hasn’t is either a liar (or insane). We all have introspective periods where we ask ourselves what else we could be doing, and times of self doubt. As for myself, I hate to wear religion on my sleeve, but I’ve always felt that this is my “calling,” that each of us has a unique God-given talent, and mine happens to be placement.

We should use our talents to serve others, even if we suffer from time-to-time by doing so. I told this to my friend, he agreed, and we concluded our call with him recommitting himself to this business, and a new day on Monday.

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10 Comments on “Got the Monday Blues? Press On!

  1. Neil,

    Very well said!

    As a recruiter for 19 years, I can strongly relate to your friend’s sentiments. There have been plenty of times I could have said the exact same thing. The only difference is that there are times when I do love this crazy business.

    Charles Haines

  2. I concur. However, I believe that we can have what we say. I often “catch” myself on my down days, saying things that I would NEVER want to come to fruition. So, I force myself to say what I really want and exhale.

    This ain’t for the squeamish. This business in a regular climate will test your mettle – let alone a shaky economic one. So, what I do for myself is to take a look at what is *good* about this business, what contributions that I am making, what joy it is to find a placement for someone who truly needs the job. Then it is easy to see why we are here…at this time.

    It’s about perspective, I guess…especially when you are having a rough time.

  3. I honestly LOVE recruiting… But right now I am TERRIFIED…. This looming recission …. that is what I hate.

    Anyone looking for a fatastic Recruiter who closed 487K on a last year…..

    What will 2009 hold for us?
    Sharon
    sharon@opis-group.com

  4. I’ve NEVER hated this business. From the first time I picked up the phone in 1987 to the lunch I just had yesterday with a new contractor and happy client at the Chili’s Restaurant in a Detroit suburb. While I certainly agree this is a crazy way to make a living – and the pendulum swinging back and forth each month between being up 50k or down 50k does at times take your breath away! (Thank goodness for happy hour!)

    Never. Have. Hated. This. Ever.

    Fall offs? You simply can NOT be in the recruiting business without them.

    Sorry to be the one to point this out – but if you’ve been at this 17 years and have to skip Christmas because of ONE fall off – you should most likely find another line of work.

  5. Old Schooler:

    See :”insane” above.

    JUST KIDDING! I have never met anyone who did not hate this from time to time…so you are very fortunate. And you are correct…one fall off does not kill Christmas.

  6. I can honestly say that I have never felt that “I hate this business”, but this busines can definitley eat your lunch at times. I am one of those that am addicted to the rush, the thril of “The Deal”. Does anyone relate?

  7. The only line that does not ring true is “If I do not do this, who will?.” What I’ve heard many times is “I don’t know how to make money at anything else.”

    It’s not a calling; it’s a job.

  8. Let’s not kid ourselves , this is an emotional business and not for the weak of heart. So if you are normal human being with normal emotions, than you bet you will be discouraged when things get tough. And as Neil correclty stated, only a select few can truly prosper in our industry over the long haul. Neil you hit the nail on the head regarding your calling and each of our callings. God is ultimately in control not you not me not the economy and not our emotions. So if our chief purpose in life is to prosper year in and year out, live comfortalby with no pain or suffering than no matter what busines you are in when it fails you for a season you will be crushed, because your foundation has been forged on sinking sand. I have been in this business for 14 years and have been through a couple of significant downturns. And although my faith has kept me afloat, humanly speaking it can be difficuly and challenging. If we have found our calling and we have ultimate purpose, than this to will pass- but you cannot not go it alone you need a band of brohters to support you and help lift you up. My business is down significantly- but because I am one for the 1 in 1000 who has been successful in this business, I know I will survive and again thrive! Keep the faith!

  9. Hate is a strong word but I am not going to take issue with Neil. My first reaction was to maybe TRY to claim I have never hated it but for me it’s more like this…for 22 years on December 11th I will have hated some aspects of this business ever since I learned them and loved some of them for the same amount of time. Neil’s right in that those of us who love it enough to keep on doing it ARE a bit strange (I have pictures from Pinnacle meetings to prove it)… I think my pretty rare “hate” days come when one of the aspects I have always, and will always, hate is at the forefront. Maybe thinking of it as a calling is delusional, Tyler, but I know I am a lot happier than some guys I know who do this well but only consider it a job. Thanks for a good post, Neil.

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