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Recruiters struggle with work/life balance

       Until this week, I hadn't looked unemployment from a recruiter's perspective. Today, in my Miami Herald column, I profiled Victoria Villalba, 43,  and Jason Galvao, 27. Victoria of Victoria & Associates is married and a mother of a college aged daughter. Jason of Manpower Professional is single and struggling to detach enough from work to have a social life.

  Victoria29_smallbiz_biz_jvb    The idea for the story came to me when I gave Victoria a ride from one networking program to another. While sitting in my car, her BlackBerry had constant activity, emails from people who had lost their job, desperate for work. Many of those emails ended with these three words, "I take anything!"

      I could see Villalba was exhausted. She hadn't slept much the night before, troubled by the desperation in some of the e-mails she had received. Remember, recruiters are paid by the clients, the companies looking to fill a professional position. As Victoria's lobby fills with candidates each day, the number of positions she has to fill is significantly less -- she says the ratio of qualified candidates to jobs is about 40 to 1. It quickly became apparent to me that recruiters are becoming pseudo therapists, social workers, career counselors and sometimes even targets of misplaced anger.

  Jason    Jason told me candidates often take it out on him when a hiring manager at a company takes longer than expected to make a decision or when they learn they didn't get the job. For Victoria and Jason, finding work/life balance is increasingly a daily struggle. Who wouldn't find themselves working well into the evening when day after day you're listening to the pleas of former executives who can barely pay their mortgages.

       It makes me wonder what other professionals are facing the same intense struggle to keep work from overwhelming their personal lives in this troubled business environment. Are you experiencing this complete consumption in your work life? Have you found a way to cope?


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Walter Sabrin

Hi Cindy,

While I enjoyed reading the quality of your writing the other day, I felt your article is part (albeit, a small part) of the reason the news on the economy is so gloomy. Sure, the statistics are grim, but there are plenty of jobs out there for smart, hard working, persistent job seekers.
At my firm, we have clients that are still hiring across all business lines. We see fantastic looking candidates all day long, and place them in new careers on a consistent basis. I am curious why you chose to write only about a staffing company branch that is having troubles with their life-balance as well as their candidates and clients.
How about we as a society get more positive? It would be nice if we wrote positive, read positive and just plain acted positive. As we say around the office, "Act as If"

Cindy, I work 80-100 hours a week, have a great family and love getting up every morning. I cant jump out of bed fast enough to get to work. Today could be the day I find someone that great job. In fact, it will be!!! Act as If.


Walter Sabrin
Branch Manager
Triumph Professional Staffing

Christine Louise Hohlbaum

If you count folding the laundry, checking the kids' homework, and cleaning the guinea pig cage as part of my work life, I work as much as Walter does; as a PR professional who works for international clients from a home office, I am able to live flexibly and well. It's not the number of hours you 'work' that count. It's the quality of your life that does.

Perhaps it is time to redefine what work means altogether. We can live more organically and stop pretending we aren't mothers, fathers, wives, husbands or partners with a life outside of the cubicle. It should be okay to say you are going to the doctor or the dentist. We aren't machines after all!

Whoever said life can't be your work? If you love what you do, it can be!

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