Our parents or grandparents taught us this principle, often in the middle of our requests for some grand thing.
At the time, we probably didn’t hear it or felt it was a cop out or distraction technique to change the subject from the thing we begged for.
To say I didn’t understand his urging—that giving was somehow better than receiving—is an understatement.
If you’re like me, this puffy, patriarchal principle seemed something passed down from another time, an age gone by. A time when things were scarce, not plentiful. A time when pictures were black and white, not color, and things were hard to come by, not easy to accumulate like they were in my childhood (and easier than ever now). To me, this advice was from a bygone time marked by saving everything and “making due” (whatever a 9 year old could make of that strange phrase), and of a long, faraway look in my grandfather’s eyes when he thought perhaps too much of those hard, lean times when he was a boy.
(But perhaps, they are times more and more of us may be facing again)
Of course, this proberb’s lesson, as they are wont to do, seems to sweeten and perfect itself over time.
Giving Of Your Time Actually Gives You More Time
Our rise and grind culture of worshipping at the altar of the eternal hustle dissuades this belief, but for centuries, people have found that the more you see and be with other people around you, or open yourself up to the humanity that is present when we just stop and listen for it, the happier and more abundant your life will become.
And I argue you will have more time, and you will be more productive with your time because you will be happier, think clearer and have more energy.
If you are struggling, lonely, find yourself frustrated, anxious or afraid, I am moved by the calm that can come as you pull yourself away from the tightening, shrinkingly claustrophobic cares and concerns of your own life and open your heart wider to allow the life of another.
Perhaps a forgotten friend or a struggling neighbor.
A widow or a stranger.
Even getting to know your postal worker or the Amazon delivery person, or making a concerted effort to graciously thank your DoorDash delivery person can open your heart a little wider than before.
Thanking employees your come across for working and brightening their shift as you check out from the store or buy your take out meal can brighten your day as well as theirs. If this feels challenging to you, remember that they would probably rather be (and might need to be) home caring for a loved one rather than working, but they are deemed essential and have to work instead (which carries less and less paycheck and more and more risk these days).
In times of COVID-19, many people’s support systems are shrinking smaller and smaller. Rediscovering the joy of a phone call, letters across town like a pen pal, or baked goods delivered carefully to another’s door can lighten or brighten a day, a week or a year.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself.”
And, it turns out, giving is much, much better than receiving.
What will you give or give up today to have peace and more happiness tomorrow?
I have a mug that says this on the side in cute, right-aligned, lower case serif letters:
let the adventure begin
The alignment, the blatant disregard for conventional spacing, capital letters and punctuation give it a playfulness I love and I find makes my heart smile a little each time I read it.
Does ‘work’ feel adventurous to you?
In a small way, isn’t this what work could feel like, too? I can hear the voices of droning mall-store bosses lecturing well-rehearsed ted-talks on the merits of hard work and thats-whats-wrong-with-your-generation speeches, but aside from all of those sounds, let’s just ponder for a moment.
What if work actually did feel adventurous?
I think, if you look around at the people you admire in your field*, the ones who make it look effortless, I think you will find one thing they have in common is, almost a sense of wonder that they get to do what they do and, perhaps, a sense of awe as if the things that seem to just “go right” for them, they never would have expected.
*Side note: If you don’t see anyone in your field you admire, that might be your sign ?
Now Is the Best Time to Have an Adventure
The world is freaking out right now, and, well, they should be. There are some seismic shifts happening in the world today.
But you don’t have to freak out and wring your hands
Let me show you why:
As I write this, the world is trying to re-awaken economically from the COVID—19 pandemic. We still don’t know what will happen and, in the United States, with official unemployment numbers topping 14% (as of May 8, 2020), people estimating the real number is much higher and could climb as high as 25% before this is said and done, there is a lot to be mindful about. The first part of that is it means we are undergoing a once-a-century forced reset of how our economy works at all.
Many of the great companies of our time have come about during times of economic downturns. Facebook, Microsoft, Disney, Trader Joe’s… its a long list. And, look, you don’t have to be the next Warren Buffett to see an opportunity to work on something you feel passionate about and, since some of the people you trust to work with you are also out of work, why not!?
Passion Doesn’t Mean Travel OR Entrepreneurship. It Means Being On Purpose
Don’t get me wrong, there’s something deceptively alluring to packing your bags and moving to Taiwan for a year and hoping everything works out financially, but you don’t have to start a company or go traveling the world to match your work with your passions.
If you can choose, purposefully, the things you will do and will not do in your life from this day forward, you will have a singular advantage over every other person working for a buck in the world who does whatever they’re told, won’t say no, then complains to everyone about how their life feels soul-sucking and useless.
Your advantage? You will be doing things on purpose.
But—that doesn’t mean glamorous, either.
But it does mean actively choosing.
I know plenty of people who purposefully do very difficult things today so they don’t have to do those things forever.
I also know several who gladly give up certain perks and benefits of a cushy white collar lifestyle so they can have other things more important to them, like family time or being able to volunteer when and where they want.
So… What Do You Love?
For me, this question surfaced recently in a raw and powerful way. I made the choice in 2005 to fully dive into recruiting as a way of life and I have not looked back.
Now, 15 years and recruiting for fantastic companies and meeting thousands of incredible humans later, I find myself asking what is next? The next job req? The next placement? Those things still bring passion and fire in my belly, but I find myself scratching at something more… something just beyond that which I still have not quite uncovered but it has me, and this is critical—
I realized that I have mastered a series of recruiting behaviors in my career that can both help anyone become a master recruiter and can help any recruiting team do their best at keeping hiring more human, solving the problems of bias in their workplaces, being more inclusive, and welcoming.
Finally, I realized that my true passions lie around recruitment automation and helping companies minimize the processes that computers can do and instead maximize the things humans are best at doing.
All of these things do not take me away from recruiting, and I will never stop having candidate conversations as often as I can to fill those interesting roles, but I do think I can have even more excitement in my work as I follow these paths to more adventurous outcomes than simply keyword searching for candidates and repetitively busting out linkedin messages will get me.
These are the things I love… now your turn
Perhaps you need to take a walk or a hike, sit on a mountain or in a quiet room and think about the things you want and the things you love.
How can you marry those things with the things you do? When you step back, what is it about the things you get very excited about which you can replicate? Is it process management? The chance to be creative? Closing a deal? Seeing the balance sheet work out perfectly? Consider these signals and follow them closely.
Follow my lead and work to proactively choose to say YES to the things on your list of things you love and NO to the things you don’t.
Write down your things. Each time you feel you are forced to sacrifice one of your long-term loves because of a short-term necessity, write it don on a sheet you can recall. Go back in a month, three months or six months. Have things changed? Ask for them to change again and see what happens.
If you consciously push on these boundaries of things you’re asked to do versus things you love doing, and do this for five years straight, you will be living a MUCH DIFFERENT LIFE than you are now.
Which is good, since the world has changed, too.
— Written by Robert Merrill 5/18/2020 from near Salt Lake City, Utah #blog #askrobertmerrill
It appears that nearly 70% of Americans on unemployment are earning more than they did in their pre-laid-off jobs. Some as much as 150% more. What does this mean for recruiting and the economic recovery?
Making recruiting entry-level workers even harder than it has been in the past, many people are finding their unemployment benefits outstripping the amounts of money they would have earned had they not been let go.
They cite a report from University of Chicago economists which “estimate that 68 percent of unemployed workers who can receive benefits are eligible for payments that are greater than their lost earnings.”
What does this mean for Workers?
I believe there are three factors at play here which can be good and bad for things in the short run, but will end up as major factors in the long term.
The winners in these struggles remain to be seen, but history has a few lessons of its own to share:
We’re in a once-in-a-lifetime reset of the economy
These debts will come due sooner or later (and probably both)
Recruiting & Retention will continue to be challenging in new ways.
Once-A-Century Economic Output Shift
First, I believe we are at the tip of a once-a-century shift in massive economic change. In fifty or seventy years, b-school textbooks will talk about the 2010’s like the last few years before refrigerators took over the ice box business in 1930s America. Those lectures will undoubtedly relate similar harbingers in our time of how none of the significant and profitable ice-trade businesses which boomed in the late 1800s ever made it as a significant player in any sense past 1950.
What does this mean for us? Booming industries that were safe havens for workers and owners alike just months ago may be gone in the next 5-10 years and, except perhaps for
Someone Has To Pay The Bill
The massive, crippling consumer debt problem is going to continue to cause issues in unexpected ways in the next few years.
Smart individuals will work hard right now to find ways to pay off debt and remove unneeded expenses. These short-term benefits in unemployment are intended to be a bridge over troubled waters, not a platform to build on. Mind you, the gravy train will come to the end of the line. Will you be clinging to the freight car when that happens hoping to eek out one more spoonful of gruel, or will you have taken your fair share and moved on to better things leveraging the economic boost for what it was intended for — to keep you from selling plasma to pay your rent — and instead contributing meaningfully to this new post-COVID-world of ours.
End of the day, someone has to pay these bills. Of course, those payments have to come from the backs (and pockets) of taxpayers. If the economic times turn around quickly as some hope, we may see a way to narrowly escape truly challenging times. However, even as it’s predicted these job losses will be felt far into 2021 and beyond, it stands to reason that, like grabbing the store credit card on your way out so you can save 10% on those jeans, as convenient as this all is, the whole world will be economically paying this down for a long, long time.
Recruiting & Retention is going to be harder for entry-level roles
Companies who value their entry-level workers will need to find ways, monetarily or otherwise, to compensate these workers and intent them to work rather than stay home, collect unemployment and “look for work” while golfing, watching NASCAR, etc.
Furthermore, I predict retention will be a killer subject not to far from now, as companies eek out some life, and things seem to have some semblance of settling down, I believe that people who were lucky enough to survive the unemployment cuts in the first place will pack their bags in droves as they realize, with some disdain, that all those glittery perks at their former companies was not, in fact, gold at all when it came down to what really matters to them in their lives.