The Buddy System Can Keep You Going When “Life Happens”

Nov 13, 2012

We all know that “life happens.” When you work as part of a larger organization, there is always someone around who can help pick up the slack. But when you are a “one-man-band,” it’s all you or nothing at all.

There can be several different reasons why you are not at your best.

One that comes to mind is when one is truly sick. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has on occasion come down with a stomach virus or the flu and been knocked out of commission for a couple of days or even a week.  And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had to force myself out of a sick bed to attempt to close a deal or return calls from some of the bigger clients.  Thank goodness that technology allows us to do a lot of this from home these days, but it is still not a pretty sight.

When I was a Boy Scout, one of the many rules we had was that you were never allowed to go off into the woods by yourself; you were certainly never allowed to go swimming alone. There always had to be at least two of you. They called it “the buddy system” — the reasons why are pretty obvious.

We should implement the buddy system in our recruiting businesses as well. Ideally, it should be a fellow recruiter — either someone who works for a larger company or perhaps a fellow lone recruiter.  But if push comes to shove, it can be almost anyone who you feel can carry on an intelligent conversation with your business contacts. Either way, we should have someone who will have our back in these types of situations. Of course, we do the same for them as needed.

There are other scenarios that come to mind as well. We all know there are things that on occasion happen to us that fall under the heading of “life happens” (except we usually use a different word). Some of them are less serious, such as having to serve on jury duty (especially for an extended period of time) or having to appear in court to answer a traffic warrant. Some of them are a little more serious, such as when a spouse, child, or parent gets sick and you need to tend to them. Even if you are in the office, you are being distracted by these outside circumstances and your heart is not really in your work.

And then there are those sledgehammers that hit us on the head every now and then. Things like the death of a loved one, a major financial catastrophe, or even a divorce.

Our response to things like these can vary. For instance, I have a friend, also a recruiter, who several years ago went through a very painful and nasty divorce. Much to his credit, in spite of what he was going through, he was able to completely pour himself into his work. It was his escape from life and he wound up having the best financial year he has ever had.

Some of us, myself included, might not have the same response to our circumstances. Sometimes, the response is the opposite.Sometimes the situation make it hard to keep your head in the game. It’s not that we don’t know any better. But, emotional situations can sap our drive, leaving us unmotivated.

Here is where the buddy system becomes even more important. We all need some type of accountability partner. But a situation like this calls for even more drastic measures. This buddy must be someone who you completely trust and to whom you can give unconditional permission to do whatever he or she feels is necessary to snap you out of your funk.

I know many of us have professional coaches, but a coach’s role is more along the lines of setting up goals and procedures for you to follow. Plus, coaches are usually too busy with other clients to be able to give you what you need in this kind of situation. What is needed here is someone who can speak to us in no uncertain terms. This is a time when they must pull no punches and they should have your permission to smack you across the head if necessary. This is a true friend.

Running a business is a very difficult thing. Running a business completely on your own is an even more difficult thing. Human beings were not created to go at life alone.

I know we all personally have true friends. But does you’re your business have a real “buddy?”

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