Lessons we've learnt from the world of work
We all have stories to tell about our experiences in the workplace, and working in recruitment, I’ve heard more than most – the good, bad and the ugly! Considering it’s where we spend a large proportion of our time, it’s important that we feel supported, motivated, and ultimately happy at work. And when things don’t go to plan, as inevitably from time to time they won’t, we learn from the bad experiences rather than repeat them.
My first job in recruitment was in London straight after graduating. I was the youngest and quietest in the office, and it was all a bit overwhelming, so the first three months were a steep learning curve. This became particularly evident when at my three-month probationary meeting, I was led down to a gloomy basement room to be told I had two choices; I could improve quickly or leave.
It was a short, sharp shock, and a dent to my confidence initially. However, I quickly decided that I would succeed at the job that I had worked so hard to be offered. I can’t pinpoint what I did differently but I can remember the exact emotions and moment when I decided success was the only option. This was a turning point in my career, despite it being so early on.
Fast forward to 2008, the day the entire office I was working for was made redundant with only an hour’s notice to leave the premises. I used that same determination to succeed, and I set up Jems Recruitment the very next day. Eight years on and the business has gone from strength to strength. For me, the key is using bad experiences, learning from them and then creating good ones.
Now when things get tough, I tell my team that with the right attitude and teamwork we can not only find a solution to a problem but can often turn that problem into an opportunity. So, I asked them to share times when they did just that…
Lesson 1: Interviews are a two-way street
One of the team told me about the time she was working in a salon when she was 17 and cut a little boy’s hair too short, despite voicing concerns that she lacked experience in cutting children’s hair. The mother was furious, and rather than support her, her manager made her feel as though she’d failed. On the flip side, when she worked in an admin role and was having problems in her personal life, her manager was incredibly supportive and flexible. This taught her how important it is to have a good relationship with your manager, and that job interviews are an opportunity for you to get a sense of this so make sure you ask questions about management style, support and training before accepting a job – an interview should be a two-way street.
Lesson 2: Skills are transferable
Another member of my team told me that in a previous job she was encouraged to do work that she hadn’t been trained to do. On her own initiative, she booked herself onto a course to enhance her skills but still felt pressured to do certain tasks before she was ready. As a result, she left that employment but continued with the course, which helped her secure another job in a different industry. She said it taught her to never doubt herself, to not be afraid to ask for help and to also stick things out as you never know how you might be able to transfer skills into different professions in the future.
Lesson 3: It’s never too late to change career
Our newest member of staff joined us after a career in the retail industry. She realised she wasn’t satisfied in that profession and wanted to move into recruitment. She did research on how she could apply her skills to a new career and decided to be brave and make the leap. She’s been at Jems Recruitment for five months now, and is a valued member of the team, the move was definitely a success. She would recommend anyone that’s considering a new career, to go for it (after some careful consideration first of course!).
I want to thank my team for sharing their experiences and showing that however awful it seems at the time, you can always learn from bad experiences and turn them into positives.