Recession Reset

I just got off the phone with a recruiter who had been let go on Monday of this week. Like many in this situation, he wasn’t surprised, but always “kind of thought” there would be another position in another division of his company to segue to.

Not this time.

One month severance pay plus a couple of weeks unused vacation puts six weeks between him and reduced living. His wife works, and her job looks “pretty secure,” for now.

But he needs to find a job. Immediately interviewing, he’s finding that departments are looking for a new kind of recruiter — one who can do their own sourcing on the front end as well as bringing up the rear in hiring. It seems to me like a lot to ask, and maybe one of management’s forays into “let’s see all we can get” while the “gettin'” appears to be good. It smacks of greed to me but maybe I’m just sensitive on the issue, sensitized as I have been at all the recent media coverage of excess and waste among those with influence.

“Have you thought of doing anything else?” I asked. I could hear him brighten somewhat when he told me, quickly, in a pleasant-sounding stream, of how one of his secondary skill sets at his company was keeping some of its outdated equipment running — he was the go-to person, it seems, for the company’s “Help Desk” requirements.

“Do you enjoy that?” I asked. Quickly, and eagerly, he admitted he did but then added that going there would mean a drop in pay.

“But do you like doing that?” I pressed.

“Yes, I do,” he admitted.

“Then doesn’t that count for something?” I pressed again, trying to be gentle.

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“It does, I guess.” I could hear he wasn’t wholly convinced but his mind was starting to ponder the idea.

“I think of this whole thing as a “reset” mode for all of us,” I continued. It’s not like some of us are on the outside and some of us are on the inside. We’re all in this together and whatever happens we’re all of us affected, together.”

“That’s true,” he agreed.

“It doesn’t make it easier, I understand,” I said. “But maybe, just maybe, some of us will be able to go in the direction of our dreams, as that old saying goes,” I continued, referring to Henry David Thoreau’s, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”

We then talked about some proactive things he might also do: posting a “job-wanted” notice in a geographically-local LinkedIn group; attending some in-person networking events; getting active in the “groups” and “discussions” on the social/business networking sites like ERE,, and Fordyce; contributing articles, remarks, and advice; and sourcing who was left in staffing at local companies and contacting them directly with his resume. Before we hung up I asked him to stay in touch with me. I told him I was interested in where he goes from here. And I am.

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!