Well, folks, I finally did the unthinkable. I cleaned out my desk and broke up with Big Brother. After over three years, I filed for the "Big D" (again) and left The Force, due to irreconcilable differences and overall incompatibility. I'm sure this takes most of you by shock-after all, we did seem to be the perfect couple-but the flame that was once so hot just died. Our relationship was no longer exciting and the little idiosyncrasies that I used to find cute and endearing started to become downright annoying until we couldn't even stand to be in the same room. Most of you that know me, know I took my relationship with K. Force very seriously, often to the point of obnoxiousness. I never said a bad word about The Force and was always happy to jump right in and tackle any task while giddily singing the praises of The Man. Even when times were tough, I took it on the chin and worked through it. Dr. Phil would have been very proud of my perseverance and loyalty. I wasn't going to let our passionate staffing romance fail without a fight.
It seemed everything changed after I moved out West. While my job with Kforce in Orlando was everything a little passionate recruiter could ask for, my job with the Kforce office in San Francisco office was not. At first I chalked it up to change and assured myself that I'd adjust to the "new way" and everything would work out. I am many things and adaptable is definitely one of them. As my time in the San Francisco office elapsed, I'd take a moment every few weeks to check in with myself and gauge where my head was at. By this point, I had enough time in my new position to really pinpoint what my big issues were. Though part of it was merely adjusting to the change, the bigger issues were environment, management's openness to creativity (or lack thereof), and the jobs I got to recruit on (a far cry from the development positions that really excited me). Once I figured out that these were my biggest complaints, I devised a little checklist and addressed each category accordingly. I figured this handy system would help me see if I my happiness and overall job satisfaction was improving or declining. It was like Kforce's KPIs but cooler.
I named my system the "The Top Five Ways to Tell if You Hate Your Job" and my checklist is as follows:
1) Regardless of how much sleep you got, you wake up with a pit the size of a baby planet in your stomach every single effen day. CHECK.
2) You have sexy fantasies of running and taking a swan dive out of your office's 18th floor window. CHECK.
3) You have adopted Tom Petty's "Free Falling" as your personal theme song during the work week. CHECK.
4) You intentionally touch every single thing your sick coworker handled. (Sure, that means you'll get sick, but when you are miserable, time off is time off.) CHECK.
5) You know that homeless guy that crapped his pants and walks around the city in dirty, poopie pants and stinks so bad you throw up your mouth? Yeah, you start to envy him and his freedom. CHECK.
At first, I was only identifying with numbers 1 and 3. I'd have fleeting romances with number 2, but all in all, I concluded I was only about half way miserable, definitely not the fully miserable that would prompt me to look for another staffing suitor. I definitely was not to the point where I expressed any emotion other than sympathy for Mr. Poop Pants. Every time I saw him (and smelled him) I felt bad and gave him a few dollars. Our daily exchanges put things in perspective for me and I was happy (borderline, at least) to return to my cube in the staffing version of Office Space. It could be worse. I could have crapped my pants.
After a few weeks, things started to slide downhill pretty quickly. During this week, I was given several clerical positions to recruit on (no offense to those that do this work, but I'm way too geeky and technically inclined to find this remotely interesting). It was during this week that I fully committed to number 2 on my list. It became a daily exercise for me as I stood at the printer to imagine myself dropping my stack of freshly printed resumes and sprint, heels and all, to the window, and go skydiving...minus the parachute. (For the record, in case any of you are thinking of Baker Acting me right now, I'd never really do it, but the thought of complete freedom from paralegal and medical records recruiting was very appealing.) In any event, this vision got me through that week and the weeks to follow. Occasionally, my coworkers would catch me grinning like a drunkard. They thought I was finally coming around. I was just imagining my Ann Taylor clad self mid-air. (Cue the Tom Petty.)
Two more weeks passed and by this time, number 4 and I had become very close. Fortunately we had a few sick people in the office so I didn't even have to touch their stapler, phone, doorknob...lick their half eaten sandwich, to get sick. It happened rather organically and I was out for two glorious days. (If it were any other situation, I'd chose a word other than "glorious"...after all, I was legitimately sick which SUCKED, but I was out of the office and free from all work related misery, so I figured "glorious" was fitting.) At this point, I was religiously checking off four out of five items on my checklist. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this isn't heading in the right direction.
But yet, I still did not envy the dude that pooped his pants. So back to work I went.
By the end of the next week, I was perfectly fine with crapping myself if that meant I didn't have to go to my job every again. That evening, I walked out of the office, found my feces covered buddy, and asked him for his resume. Little did they know it, Kforce would soon be looking for another recruiter.
It was about this time I got a phone call from my buddy, Paul, at Signature Consultants. Paul and I had been friends for about a year and I initially met him in Orlando while I was working for Kforce. I was perfectly happy with Kforce in Orlando so I never really thought I'd join the Signature crew, but Paul and I stayed in contact anyway and grew to be pretty good friends. Even so, I had always heard good things about Signature and it helped that my boyfriend was a former Signature contractor and absolutely loved them. Kevin is one of the pickiest people that I know and is not a fan of too many firms so the fact that he raved on and on about Signature definitely intrigued me.
As it turned out, Signature was in need of someone...for their San Francisco office! Paul explained to me that they were expanding and looking to open an office in San Francisco and was curious if I knew of a good recruiter that would be interested in joining their family.
"Me!!!", I said.
"Yeah, ok....right. Seriously, do you know anyone?", Paul retorted.
Screaming through the phone, I shouted, "Yes, ME!!!!"
...and the rest was history. Paul set me up with a series of conversations with several Signature folk and I ended up accepting an offer with them. In addition to clicking with everyone I spoke with, their company message really spoke to me. They seem to not only "talk the talk" but also "walk the walk". Most companies stress growing (and maintaining) strong relationships with clients, candidates, internal employees, but Signature actually practices that on a day to day basis. Everyone knows each other and goes out of their way to be helpful. Recontacting from the very beginning of the recruiting process(Kareforcing to those that read my last post) is highly stressed and employees' recontacting rates are actually tracked, which is awesome. They really seem to get the relationship piece of this industry and I can't stress how appealing to me that is. Another thing that really sets them apart is they don't lose sight of how important their contractors are. When one of their banking customers was forced to cut rates (substantially), Signature was the ONLY firm to shoulder that hit and not drop their consultants' pay. In the staffing industry, that is unheard of. Ultimately, these were some of the big reasons that I made the decision to leave Kforce and join the Signature team. I wanted to feel proud of what I did for a living and I really think Signature is going to give that to me.
With that said, it was definitely a strange feeling to put my notice in at Kforce; I had been there forever and I did learn a lot from some great people (Rich, Jason, Tracy, Glen, etc.). My manager was extremely supportive and understanding though so overall, it was a positive experience. I am still close with everyone I worked with in Orlando and I sincerely can't say a single bad thing about the Orlando office. For that matter, I really can't say a bad thing about my team in San Francisco either. I'm going to miss my team (a great group of ladies) and my work boyfriend, Jack. (I know I'll never find another coworker that loves Argyle as much as he does and that makes my heart sad.) I got a tremendous start at The Force but I'm so ready to take everything I've learned and apply it to a company that matches my recruiting style a bit more. At the end of the day, it just wasn't a good fit and that isn't the fault of anybody. After all, crap happens (just ask my homeless friend).