Sunday, August 14, 2011


It's been awhile since I've posted, but the summer has presented me with some amazing triumphs, and some devastating tragedies. It's been tough to focus on my blog, but I've been inspired to write again with the promise of being more diligent about my posts come the fall.

So what inspired me you ask...well a good friend of mine owns a sleepaway camp in PA, and as the last night of camp approached, she wrote a letter to her campers and staff thanking them for making her job as amazing as it is. It instantly made me cry as I was transported back to my days at Camp White Oaks. A place where I spent 10 years of my life and managed to grow up and stay young at the same time. A place that set the groundwork for all that I've become. It taught me how to share and live communally. It taught me that life is not over when the cute boy in the other bunk likes your best friend instead of you. It taught me that stopping the winning goal is not so fabulous when you send the girl who was about to kick it to the hospital (true story...sorry Robbie wherever you are). It taught me that frozen Snickers, freeze pops and Charleston Chew are GREAT substitutes for any meal of the day. And it taught me that the relationships that you make as you navigate life may help you one day so you should always be kind, compassionate and caring. I spent 530 days of my life at that place and I've thought about it every day since it closed on August 1, 1992. And up until my father passed away 4 1/2 years later, that was the most tragic day of my life.

So what does camp have to do with recruiting and the workforce? Well one of my favorite parts of camp was Color War (many camps have changed the name or now call it Olympics because they feel it's not politically correct to use War, but it will always be War to me). Anyway, when Color War broke, and the camp was divided, 8 individuals were chosen to "lead" their team into battle. After 6 1/2 weeks of living with 15-20 campers, days filled with activities and nights caring for the homesick, the heart broken and the unhappy, these eight people committed everything they had to win. For seven days, they did not sleep, barely ate, and encouraged, cheered and supported their teams through the thrill of victory...and the agony of defeat (always loved ABC sports). There was also a laundry list of "things" that needed to be created based on the theme of your team:
  1. banner
  2. scoreboard
  3. team flag
  4. team t-shirts, all spray painted with a custom designed stencil based on the theme
  5. and a 6-8 foot totem pole (see picture)

And regardless of how organized or anal you were (and I was both hence my propensity for being a great EA), you always had 15 people standing around with blow dryers making sure the paint was dry 5 minutes before the judges came around. At the end, as each team sat across from one another, singing about the amazing time we had, and the friends that we would miss, we cried. And regardless of who won (as my record was 2 and 7, it was never me), you always ended up loving everyone in the room...ok, I've digressed. The point was regardless of how tired, overworked or underpaid we were; or how meaningless, or meaningful it was, we were all committed to making each summer the best it could be.  It's what still resonates in camps today. It was exactly what my friend wrote about...

And yet when I present a candidate who can barely get arrested, the opportunity for a salary, benefits and the prospect of not sucking on the government unemployment teet anymore, they no show without so much as a call, email, text or tweet. So I ask myself, "Where's the commitment?" Where's the sense of self worth that we all look for as we navigate through life? And where's the common decency to the friend who put their reputation on the line to get you the interview? Obviously he NEVER went to camp OR wrote an alma mater at 3am!!!

When I meet a candidate I always gauge their conviction and their commitment. Looking for a job IS a full time job so it's important to be 100% on both counts. And what I've found as I've gotten older is that commitment is the first thing that goes. Sad to think that while I'm trying to help, others are holding up their middle finger and thinking they're getting the last laugh. But in reality, this is a war I ALWAYS win...So here's to all the people who went to White little white elephants stuffed with hay...thank you for teaching me so much as it truly shaped who I am today. I am forever committed to you...

Good Night and Happy Job Hunting,

The JobYenta

1 comment:

  1. Jen that was inspiring and so very true. After being an educator for the past 22 oops 23 years your observations are very true in my field as well. I can't even imagine any of the students that i have now being able to accomplish the tasks that campers accomplished in 10 days. I am so thankful to our dear departed Rob Quinn for introducing me to some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. love to all of you Elaine