Out of My Comfort Zone, and Into Recruiting—Why I Changed Careers

Posted by Mike Kida on March 29, 2016

2015 was a year of major change for me, with one of the biggest developments being my job, or more accurately, my career.

A total career shift is something I’ve done once before (14 years ago to be exact), but why do it again, and why now?  Honestly, I had a lot going for me so why leave a position where I had become an industry expert, had been successful in growing the business, had made some great friends, and had earned a great living just to try something completely new?

Like many major changes, it was a transition several years in the making, influenced by a number of personal and professional events. After all, I didn’t have the worst job in the world, and I had some great people around me, so I got very comfortable in my current role. But, like many people, I was in a job where I felt stuck. I worked in a niche industry, had a healthy income I knew would be difficult to match, and hadn’t changed jobs in 14 years. Feeling ‘stuck’ in a job is bad enough, but to make matters worse my company had gone through a number of major changes which made it an unhealthy environment (at least unhealthy for me).

The magic happens outside of your comfort zone.

I had known it deep down for a while, but when I really took a minute to look at where I was, I knew it was time to make a change. I drew inspiration from one of my favorite pictures, the “comfort zone / where the magic happens” picture. So much that I decided to put it on my desktop as a daily reminder to help me focus on finding (or creating) my own magic.

Out of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.

Invigorated by this realization, I started my search—my long, daunting search—with its endless list of questions:

  • Where do I want to go?
  • What do I really want to do?
  • Should I go work for a competitor?
  • Should I go work for a client?
  • Should I become a full time yoga instructor?
  • Should I just quit, travel the world, and figure things out if/when I return?
  • I haven’t looked in so long, how do I start?
  • Is it the right decision to move?
  • And the list goes on.

The only one from this bunch that I knew right away was the last, YES, it was the right decision. Great, 1 down, now what? I did a lot of soul searching at the beginning. I started talking to people—friends, family, coworkers, and anyone who might be able to help. I attended networking events and responded to job postings. I also did what many job seekers do: I panicked.

(Slight fast forward)

After a handful of disappointing interviews with competitors, start-ups and tech companies, I paused and took time to reevaluate what I really wanted and needed. Was it money, title, status, or something more?  While I’ve had all of those things in my previous career, I didn’t find them fulfilling, but what I did find worthwhile was helping people. Not just any people—I wanted to help people who were in the same place I was, feeling stuck or unfulfilled in their careers.

During my search I had talked to a number of recruiters, some better than others. I made a list of the ‘good recruiters’ and started reaching out to them to get the inside scoop on the recruiting world. A few of those conversations led to interviews, but many agencies wouldn’t move forward fearing they couldn’t pay me what I was making in my last position.

The moment I knew recruiting was for me.

Naturally, I felt a bit discouraged, but didn’t let it stop me. One day I reached out to Becky (who is now my coworker) and I finally found the magic. Becky embodied what I thought a good recruiter should be. She listened, she provided helpful, real, honest feedback, she knew her stuff, and she loved her job (the good and the bad). Becky introduced me to her boss, who seemed a little crazy (the good kind), and equally as forthcoming as Becky. I found the same to be true with everyone I spoke with from Paladin, from Recruiters to the Vice Presidents. I knew that not only was recruiting what I wanted to do, but Paladin was the place I wanted to be.

Throughout the interview process, I learned that I couldn’t necessarily help everyone (I may have been a little naïve thinking I could). However, there is still a lot I can do as a recruiter. I help people feeling stuck find a position that is meaningful to them. I also get to help people on the other side, the managers who are just as stuck and need people with drive to get things in motion.

Recruiting is a crazy, hectic, world.

Its’ filled with fast paced, long days and unique people, all of which make it exciting.  After being on auto-pilot for so long, I wouldn’t have it (or want it) any other way.

Change is a very personal thing, but it’s something we all go through.

If you’re feeling stuck and are ready to make a career move, consider working as a recruiter in the industry and with the company that fits you best. Some of the most well known brands in the world count on us—and will count on you—to connect them to the people they need.

See where a recruiting job can take you. Learn more and apply today!

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