Thursday, January 29, 2009

Job Fairy, Where Art Thou?

I am currently in a tentative hiring mode. I say tentative because I'm not in a hurry. I'm taking it slow. It is very challenging for me to trust someone else to come into my space, share my responsibilities, touch my equipment, interact with my clients, and otherwise affect the business that I have so carefully and lovingly set up here. Hiring is not something I have a great deal of experience with and not something that I particularly enjoy. I stink at it, really.

And as much as I value the learning process in general, this is one area where I wish the job fairy would just come and deliver to me the exact right personality, skill set, and personal situation to match up with what I need and what I can offer. I also hope that I have the right kind of vision to recognize them when they show up at my door. Perfect fit or not, it takes me a long time to feel comfortable around new people. And my discomfort tends to be contagious.

But I am determined not to work alone forever. One of my original goals for the business was to provide the kind of work opportunities that I was unable to find when I was an employee. I longed for the ability to serve my clients well and fully, to take time to communicate and educate and to make myself available as a resource for anyone who was interested in my perspective. I found myself often in a profit-driven environment, where the primary owner of the business was not involved in the daily operations except, as I saw it, to ask me to lower my standards of care. And profit was driven not by efficiency and increasing value but by circumventing the legal system and avoiding making investments in business-builders like employee education, advertising, client education and better service. My passion was a problem, my efforts were measured in dollars and cents without the option of working smarter, and my drive to share knowledge and help the clients and coworkers around me were met with surprise and sometimes criticism.

I freely admit to being a diva. I am never satisfied and humility is something I struggle to embrace. I'm an idealist, an empath, and an alpha. I get myself in trouble frequently because I assume that others can see that my intentions are so bright and beautiful and good that I give myself permission to speak in absolute, unapologetic truths. I assume that other people realize that I arrive at no conclusion lightly, that I am constantly absorbing and filtering new data and refining my thoughts. Although my thoughts are ever-evolving things, at the moment I speak them, I put behind them the force of my conviction. I'm good at conviction.

I thrive on debate and I enjoy a lively exchange of viewpoints. I don't really know when to quit. It is a challenging perspective, for me and everyone around me, but I've realized that it is who I am. My ongoing struggle is to harness the power of my convictions without expecting to be universally loved for them or driving away those that I would rather keep nearby. But my ideals have allowed me to serve a particular type of pet owner well and in congruence with my own personal fulfillment formula. I chose a good area for an educationally focused business -- my clientele in general is interested and engaged and willing to actively participate in the care of their animals. They recognize and appreciate quality, they value learning, and they enjoy the interactivity I offer. I am constantly amazed at how supportive they are.

My hiring decisions have to bring in more energy and fill in the gaps where my skills and temperament fall short. It's a tall and specific order and one that I haven't even managed yet to fully, objectively define. There isn't a lot of room for error. The position that I'm offering is part-time and entry-level. I don't have much to offer, financially. But in terms of learning, growing, and sheer opportunity to contribute, the benefits are limitless. The right candidate will be getting in on the ground floor, will be part of an environment where creativity is valued and encouraged, where attention to detail is treasured, where challenges will be heaped on as soon as the willingness and ability to step up is demonstrated, and where communication and cooperation are working realities. And more importantly, where skill is recognized, built, and rewarded. Some day this will be a well-oiled, self-propelling machine and I will have room for people comfortable with polishing it for a paycheck. But right now I need someone with an insatiable desire to learn how the machine works, has thoughts about how to make it better, would welcome the opportunity to be taught how to drive it, and is ready to make their career a priority.

Where is that brilliant, ambitious upstart searching for a platform from which to set the world on fire? Where is the wise and resilient soul with the vision to support and enhance my work who is willing and able to add their energy to mine? And when I find that candidate, will I be able to keep up?


  1. Welcome to Blogging! I look forward to reading you!

  2. Well, I am determined to work alone forever, if I can ever get this business started in the time I'm not looking after my father (still too busy moving into the new house to even apply for a zoning variance). I went into grooming (instead of some other dog thing) so I could work at home by myself. I hope it works, because I don't want to go back to working for somebody else, much as I loved (and respected) my boss.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky