My 2014

Written by Tracy

The year started out pretty good with a free guitar (granted, with butterflies) and a burger named after me (albeit, it was available for two weeks). I would never expect a banner year that I had. You already know the stories:

Ultimately, the capper to my banner year was I earned my new job as Sourcing Recruiter at BroadPath Healthcare Solutions. Before arriving at BroadPath, it was a long two years of trying to find something.

It started in July 2012 when I was vacationing with my family to Williamsburg, VA and realize that my company was barely hanging on and I was not getting any business. Immediately after our family trip ended, I went to McLean to a happy hour event for all the local SHRM chapters and I was networking for a job for the next two years.

I had phone interviews, face-to-face interviews, video interviews and other interviews you can think of. I had leads, but neither materialized. There were some I could not care, there were some buffoons who ask questions about my personal life in my interview, and there were some I blunder. For almost all the interviews I did, I tried to mix who I am and trying to fit in their culture. It failed.

The best interview I did in those two years was for an Executive Director position for the HRLA Awards. You had your basic work experience questions, but Jim Ryerson, the person who heads the HRLA Awards, ask about my blogging history and what topics I was interested. Right there, I knew he studied up on me beyond the resume and the interview went great. Although we clicked, I was not hired because of my lack of event experience (of note: I did meet the person who was hired for Executive Director. I can say HRLA, or Strayer University, made the right choice). It was my story for the interviews I did well: I do great of the secondary parts of the job, but not enough experience of doing the primary job, apparently. I don’t know why, but I was feeling distraught that I was getting nowhere on my job search.

While I was job hunting, I was trying to do some work on the side to keep it going. I volunteered to help a nonprofit to build a talent pipeline for new board members. I can tell you the nonprofit was a mess from the start and basically did not care what we think, although we were all experts on recruiting. Although the nonprofit thought we were useless, the group I was with were amazing and did this for free.

After that was done, I was trying to find other work. It was on October 2013 that Ed and I met and discuss his new venture, Recruit4Cause. I already knew it was a good idea, but I wanted the job board to be different from the others and Ed and I were at the same wavelength. Fast forward to a year later, the company went under. There are many reasons why it happened, but I think the primary reason the company did not survive is we did it backwards. We had the mission, marketing, and support; but we did not have the one thing that is crucial for job boards: a community. This is the reason why NatsJobs still exists because there’s a community behind it. The only issues are do recruiters/hiring managers are paying attention of a big community they never tapped through and the format of NatsJobs have changed each year. I can tell you it’s going to change again next year, but there’s a permanent home and need to tweak the format so I want job seekers and recruiters/hiring managers to communicate.

Now, you’re wondering how did I attended all these events without a significant amount of money? For starters, I check for events that are free and go there on a bus. If there was not significant time, I took the Metro to Virginia Square and walked to my destination. I also use coupons, using my points on my credit card, and enter for contests for free food. That was only a fraction of it. Most of the money I got was from my oldest brother. I asked him for $1000 month to pay my bills and food. He didn’t have to do it, but he did. I did this for almost two years. My only regret is I didn’t say thank you every time. The only reason I didn’t say thank you all this time is I didn’t want the thank yous to feel empty. If I said thank you all the time and it resulted in nothing, I would feel like crap and felt I failed. When he couldn’t give me enough to cover my debt, the debt was adding, monetary and emotionally.

This leads to past February. I was finally closing my recruiting business for good. At the same time, I discovered Elance to get some freelancing work. Looking at the site initially, I thought it was a good area to make money and get decent jobs. Although there are a lot of opportunities, the pay was crap to average. I was in no position to say “I’m bigger than this.” I put proposals mostly on the HR/Recruiting front and on social media. Two weeks after I signed up, I got a proposal accepted by a job seeker. The job seeker is a Russian immigrant who had a lot of injuries. She was paying me $400 to find jobs in market research and forward the jobs to her. It was easy…so I thought. I did find the jobs she wanted, but she requested that I needed to copy and paste every job I found. I told her for some some jobs, I can’t do that. Eventually, I did my job and got $400.

Another job I had was a ghost writing gig for a staffing firm who want to sound their presentations like Buzzfeed. I used my authentic voice on my writing on staffing, but the guy wanted to Buzzfeedify me to talk about the “Six Things That Will Make Recruiting Better.” i didn’t give a crap and said, “take it or leave it?” He kept it and paid me $20 for that.

My first real recruiting role on Elance was for a staffing firm that dealt with a large telecommunications company. I believe the pay was around $15/hr and I was getting to the nitty gritty. On my first day, I found all the people that I needed for the position i was recruiting and email the candidates since they were tech positions. On the next day, my supervisor asked me to call the tech candidates. At that moment, I was screwed. I was not afraid to make a phone call; I did not have sufficient background information of the positions I’m recruiting for. I knew tech people do not want to hear the duties and responsibilities; they want to know what do you have that excites them. They gave me no information except the job description. I remember one candidate who had this voicemail:

Sorry, I can’t come to the phone right now. If you’re relative or friend, please leave a message. If you’re a recruiter, you can email your job description and details. The email is in my resume.

I was only there for a week and I’m back to square one. Although these were short-term jobs, I thought I had some momentum to land a long-term job. In May and June, I had nothing going on. I tried to bid on recruiting proposals, but most of the proposals asked freelancers if you have a “Careerbuilder, Monster, and/or Dice account.” So, the companies want the freelancers, who spend at least $2000 just to search resumes AND pay them between $9-15/hr? Yeah…

Anyway, it was in July that I had my first real break. Someone accepted my proposal to be a recruiting assistant for $9.00/hr. I was going to work for a staffing firm in Houston that deals with engineering.

Be honest, Tracy; did you had to recruit for the oil & gas industry?

Yes I did and I felt guilty, but in hindsight, my recruiting helped the oil industry to drop prices for consumers later in the year, so HA!

Seriously, I needed to create a talent pipeline of engineers for the staffing firm’s clients. My supervisor loved what I was doing that I found all these people, although I needed to find their contact information. I knew there is a browser extension to find contact information, but my laptop is six years old and is going to crap out soon.

Although the pay was low, it was my only streaming revenue and I was doing the job. For that, I thank Sandi Cole for giving me the opportunity to help her. Although it was my only revenue stream, it was not enough to cover my debt. Then came September.

September basically summarizes my whole two years. I had a lot of fun times with being fan of the game, in the Starting Nine, and had dinner with Mike Rizzo. Towards the middle of the month, I came to a realization that I needed a second job. It was on my birthday, I got a call from BroadPath that they wanted me to source for their open enrollment period. Two days later I join. Then, I had a freelancing offer from one of my friends to recruit for two positions. In nine months of 2014, I had a singular job that paid me pennies. In the two days, I had two decent (good, in my part) paid jobs. I knew I had to work my butt off to get even an extended offer. I knew the freelancer job was temporary because the company is that small, but BroadPath was where the potential was at.

In a month, I filled one of two positions on my freelancing position and I was building up BroadPath’s talent pipeline with a variety of sourcing tools. After one month, I went from temp to a permanent as their “outside-the-box” sourcer. On my first day as a permanent employee, the power in my house went out because a car drove the wrong way and hit a pole that cause a neighborhood outage. I had to stay for home inspection and I-9 verification, so I couldn’t get any work done. Afterwards, I had to go to Starbucks to do my work. Other than that, the job has been good so far.

For making an epic 2014 year, I want to thank Lisa Loeb, Jayson Werth, my Nats friends, Bradley Beal, Sandi Cole, BroadPath, and finally my brother, who is the best doctor in Reston (both my biased opinion and the people of Reston).

What to expect in 2015

First things first, I want to go to the Winter Classic on New Years Day. It’s doubtful I can make it because of the prices, but if anyone is reading this, I can make you a deal.

Anyway, I have mentioned in the past few years that I wanted to re-design my blog after nine years blogging. As you see, I have made the transition from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. How do you like the new look? I will go into full detail of the new look next week.

On a personal note, I have gain some pounds after losing a lot the past two years. It’s something when I work, I gain pounds, but when I’m out of work, I lose pounds. Maybe I have too much time when I didn’t have a job because I can walk from Ballston to Downtown D.C. with no consequences. Now that I’m working, I can only do that for the weekends. I do need better time management and shed a few pounds.

There two big events in 2015 I cannot wait for…

The first is the World Police and Fire Games in Fairfax County for two reasons:

  1. This event serves as a test for the D.C. Metro area if they can hold events for the Olympics in 2024. You have people traveling around the world and they have to drive or Metro to the event. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
  2. After recent events in Ferguson and in New York City, I would not be shocked if there are protesters to disrupt the Games. This might be the biggest test for the organizers of the the WPF Games.

I have registered to volunteer for the event and still awaiting word, but it should be intriguing how the Games fare.

The second event is the ten-year anniversary of the 2005 NPR Summer Interns. I have said this was the best class I have ever joined and still do to this day. Although HR was my main focus, I learned a lot about media by taking this internship and using some of those skills on my blog. Most of us are in our 30s (with the exception of one person, that I know of) and thinking of having a reunion. I still see some live in D.C., met a few, and being following their activities on Facebook.

It will be hard to top 2014 (or 2005) and I don’t expect to have the same magic, but 2015 sounds like a decent year…unless I screw up, which will likely happen next year..

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