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Cheers to Eleven Years!

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by Shannon Barlow

3 months ago

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11 years ago (2007), bright eyed and bushy tailed; I entered the weird and wonderful world of recruitment with people2people in Sydney. At that time, people2people was in its third year of operations and we were still small enough to sit around a table together at lunchtime to do the quiz in the Daily Telegraph (paper!).  From an inauspicious start (I thought they had me mistaken for someone else when they offered me a temp accounting desk and at the time I knew nothing about accounting!), I couldn’t have guessed or dreamed that over a decade later I would not only still be with the business, but would have helped take people2people internationally, by opening our first New Zealand branch in Auckland.

This month I have been running an experiment on the ‘pursuit of happiness’ at work based on a Shawn Achor Ted Talk. The world of recruitment is often described as a roller coaster, or worse, ‘champagne and razor blades’ so basically I am trying to rewire my brain to seek out the positives, wins and moments of joy rather than focusing on the things that don’t go my way.  Each day I reflect on the things I am grateful for from the day before and the moments that make it all worthwhile.  Looking back on my time with people2people I thought I’d run the same exercise.

I AM GRATEFUL …

that even though we can’t all fit around the table to do the quiz anymore, we have kept that family feels.  There are so many examples of where we have come together to support each other through tough times as well as celebrate the momentous occasions of our lives.  My family, like virtually every family, has had its battles with mental health.  My people2people family has supported me through kind words, hugs, covering my work and even allowing me time to fly back to New Zealand to be there to support my family.  Recruitment is a competitive industry, so it’s great to work with people who strive for the wins but don’t forget to care.

I AM GRATEFUL…

for the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry and to pass on that knowledge.  When I started my p2p journey (and quickly had to get my head around accounting!) I had the privilege of learning the ropes from 3 of the 5 ‘p2p originals’ Mark SmithKirsten Garrett and Simon Gressier.  Our training is fantastic and as a rookie, the on-the-desk corrections, encouragement, competition and advice I received from the team was invaluable.  I remember finishing a particularly bad marketing call and saying, “Oh my God, that was car crash!” and Kirsten very calmly said, “No, it wasn’t great, but…” before reminding me of the successful calls I had made previously, boosting me back up and guiding me through how to make my next calls much better. Eleven years on, I have now had the chance to pay that guidance forward. One of the most rewarding things about being a manager is seeing your former rookies go on to achieve amazing things and knowing that you played a part in helping shape them. Just last week another manager was looking for someone to run a masterclass on building and managing a temp desk and I was really proud that Rachel Fisher was an obvious choice for this, showing how much she has grown and developed in her time with people2people with exposure to a multitude of mentors.

Mostly I AM GRATEFUL to people2people for letting me “give it a burl” (as Mark Smith would say), for second chances, for boosting me up and believing that I am good enough.  What they say is right, recruitment does have its highs and lows, but looking back it’s the champagne moments that I remember!

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