Falling Out Of Love With Your Work

Aug 3, 2010
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

William Tincup was featured recently in John Sumser‘s Top 100 Influencers, which is a running series that Sumser is doing on recruiting and HR professionals who have made an impact in our industry. While Tincup isn’t a recruiting agency guy, he is a self-employed professional services guy, just like many of you. Tincup, along with Bret Starr, co-founded their company Starr Tincup in November of 2000. Starr Tincup is a marketing consultancy that serves the recruiting and HR community. He has been responsible for building the company brand, including the website, book (Try Not To F&ck This Up), direct marketing, email marketing, event strategy, social media strategy, and so forth. Tincup has been known (affectionately? notoriously?) throughout the recruiting and HR community for his low-brow sense of humor, colorful language, and yet his approachability and willingness to have conversations about his work and his thoughts on business and marketing strategy.

Recently, he fell out of love with his work and decided to move on.

At this point, you may be wondering “What does this have to do with me? This guy’s a marketer; I’m a recruiting professional!” I promise – there is a good point to all of this.

Falling out of love with one’s work is common. We’ve all had days where we’ve sworn that if we get on the phone with one more rude person or if one more client tries to cheap out on paying a fee, we’re through. Of course, few are the time when we actually follow through on those threats. But that thought is still lingering in the back of our minds – “Is this all really worth it?”

William Tincup’s story struck me because he detailed the reasons he decided to throw in the towel. He stopped believing in the outsourced marketing services business model. He was frustrated with the double standards applied to his efforts vs. in-house marketers’ efforts. He became annoyed that, as an external service provider, his status was constantly being threatened by these ridiculous standards. And the final straw for him, as he states:

“…the realization that over the course of 10 years in the game I might of [sic] been told “thank you” seven or eight times.  I (read: my firm) changed lives, changed destinies, built lasting brands, created market share, created real value, got people promoted, etc, etc. Yeah, I know – payment for services rendered was my thanks.  Yeah, well, that wasn’t enough.”

I would be very surprised if just about every person reading this article hasn’t struggled with at least one of these issues at some point during your professional recruiting career. Who hasn’t felt like the red-headed stepchild at least once when working with a difficult client? Who hasn’t been held to some crazy standards as an external recruiter that an internal employee would never be held to? And who hasn’t wished that once, just once, someone would thank them for all of the amazing talent they’ve helped shepherd in to an organization?

When you really fall out of love with your work, how do you know when it’s time to say “Enough!” and leave before you become bitter? Is it just a bad case of the Mondays, or is this a recurring gut feeling that just will not go away? How do you get past the rut and fall back in love with what you do? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below. Sharing your experience might just save someone from calling it quits!

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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