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In true St. Louis “baseball fanatic” fashion I want to talk a little about what I affectionately call the “curve ball”…   I was thrown said curve ball late last week and my lack of refinement in my initial response to it immediately reminded me of just how important flexibility and a dynamic attitude can be in recruiting.  To be honest, it’s been a little while since I had a pitcher who really “stepped up to the plate” and surprised me – (okay, I’m done with the baseball lingo now, I just wanted to use the title!) so as I was driving home, feeling a bit bent and nearly broken, I was reminded of a toy I used to play with when I was young.   Gumby… Remember him from the TV show?  He was made of green rubbery material on a wire frame, perfect for moving and shaping into exactly the pose you wanted.  Ideally flexible while still holding his shape – just like we must be.
gumby1
Flexibility is so important because our business is incredibly dynamic, whether you are an internal or third party recruiter, your day can change completely with just one call from a hiring manager.  We must be committed to dealing with changing priorities, and adept at seamlessly managing new needs.  Even when it means starting from scratch or swallowing your pride.  What I have learned is that while we have to be flexible, we need to not break that wire inside of us.  It’s what helps us to bounce back, to push back when necessary.

 

I’m interested, when a situation calls for an about-face, how do you manage it?  How do you maintain the integrity of your position while affording your client the flexibility that they have come to expect from you?

How do you swing for the fences on even the tough pitches that catch you by surprise?

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So yesterday was parent-teacher conferences.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) for my daughter her teacher was way more excited about sharing her slide-show of the kids and the new gadgets around the classroom (one of which would actually allow her to record a lesson outside the classroom and present it later) than actually telling us about issues she was having.  These new toys are all cool, most definitely, and I would be excited about them too.  I am very glad that our PTO fund-raising and all the recent votes for the various Propositions have done the kids some good (I guess… I’m not sure this is all that exciting to the kids, but she sure got a kick out of it). 

But, um, I’m here to learn if the kid is doing okay in class.  I mean, she got a “B” in science.  What is that about?  Why?  Oh, she has a specials class that takes her away during that time, hmmmm, that may have something to do with it.  Good to know.  We’ll work extra hard on that at home.  She hasn’t been doing the homework?  Oh, again, good to know!  It alarms me that for the second year in a row we’ve come into first trimester conferences without having had teachers reach out to let us know that there are things that need to be addressed.  I nipped this one a bit earlier by asking the teacher about a month ago if she was having trouble turning in homework.  The response?  “Oh, yes, she hardly ever turns in assignments.”  WHAT???  Why did I have to ask about this!!! 

I could go on and on…  I don’t remember as a child being able to walk all over my teachers this way…  And of course it’s not the teachers fault – she, by the way, is just a delightful lady, really sweet and very animated – but the heart of this issue goes much deeper.  When we learned that she was having some trouble in math (which her father was appalled by as he’s the engineer of the family) we asked if there was anything else she could give her for extra practice since the homework that comes home usually consists of a problem or two from the worksheet that is specified in the “Syllabus” (Gosh darn it now, we can’t go beyond the guidelines which are set out for us!  It’s of the utmost importance to insure compliance with the No Child Left Behind act which I have a whole other set of opinions on).  The answer, oh yes, I’ve got lots of those sheets (makes a note), I’ll get those to you.  Yeah.  OK.  I heard the same thing last year…   If I could stand staying at home I might think about homeschooling.  I just don’t think I could take it. 

One thing about the technology and this particular teacher that I do like is that she’s putting homework up online now.  This means no excuse for the kid to come home and tell me she has none.  See, because I believe in a parents responsibility here.  I’m not laying it all on the schools.  But how can we be responsible when the information is not provided to us?  When a teacher waits until the first trimester conference (or for when a parent reaches out to see if their child is doing okay) to let parents know that they never do a lick of homework I just don’t understand that.