Tag Archives: learning

My mental health journey: 1 year in

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Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

A year ago this month, I decided to start taking my mental health seriously. I’ve always paid close attention to how my body is feeling, I can’t say the same for my mind.

‘Mental health’ is a hot topic at the moment with people more aware than ever about the importance of talking about their feelings. The last 12 months have been about discovery, understanding and acceptance. A lot of which has been really uncomfortable but necessary to move forward and get to a healthier point.

Why?

I began to recognise a growing frustration with certain parts of my life a couple of years ago. This mainly stemmed from work and never feeling settled with what I was doing. This soon spiralled from ‘is this it?’ to feelings of anger and resentment.

I reached a point where destructive and negative feelings had consumed me. They left me a frustrated and angry person. I was caught in a never-ending cycle of overthinking, anxiety and fault-finding, berating myself for things that I had said and done (or not).

I started to look at my feelings in a new light but didn’t have any answers for how to deal with them. My go-to was to suppress, tell myself that I shouldn’t be angry. Partly because I was trying to get myself emotionally back on track but I’d also worry about how people would view me if I expressed these feelings.

I’d use various techniques to calm myself down like breathing slowly and counting to 10. None of it worked long term.

Where to begin?

Internalising things wasn’t getting me anywhere so I decided to do the exact opposite. I started talking. To friends, family, strangers and a professional. This didn’t come naturally and I still cringe a little at the thought of it.

What’s ‘wrong’ with me?

Through a lot of talking, I came to the realisation that I’m carrying this huge sense of self-burden on my shoulders. I have this incessant need to justify my worth, prove to people that I’m good enough. When things are out of my control, I try to fight it.

I’d go into new jobs (and I’ve had a few) with a negative mindset, convincing myself that the only way to prove my worth was to work long hours. No matter what I did, I could always do better. I’d push and push myself and 12 months in, I was burnt out. I had nothing more to give. It was easier to quit than to take a step back and admit weakness.

I wasn’t accepting what was going on around me and how that made me feel. If there was one word in my vocabulary that was most frequently used it was ‘should’. I should work late to catch up, I should be out training, I should not get annoyed when things don’t go my way. This was how I had conditioned myself to demonstrate worth. I wasn’t seeing things for what they were, what I had done and achieved. Instead, I was pushing to reach a level I believed I needed to be at for people to give me recognition.

This isn’t a healthy mindset. I was always going to end up feeling disappointed, frustrated and bitter.

Accepting & Understanding

The main thing I take forward every day is that feelings are totally natural. I had to stop beating myself about how I felt. It was time to take back control (but not like Brexit). I make a conscious effort to accept intense feelings but remind myself that I have the choice of what I do next. Dwelling on situations is sometimes useful but now I know it’s more important to realise that events and emotions have a place….in the past. I try to understand where my thoughts come from and work through them (journalling is a great way to detail how you feel).

Consider the good things

It was also time to appreciate the good things I’ve achieved. It’s so easy to just focus on what’s next in life. Taking time to stop and reflect was an important step. I’d always focus on the ‘bad’ but never the ‘good’. It was time to give myself a break. It didn’t come naturally but I’ve stuck at it and can take some satisfaction from things I’ve achieved.

This is a process

I’m proud of the progress I’ve made over the last year but this is just the beginning, I’m not even 1% there. I feel calmer and more content yet I still have many moments of worry and anxiety. The difference now is that I’m better equipped to identify and accept them and decide what to do next.

Feelings and emotions are a temporary state, you’re always in a state of flux as they come and go. We all crave certainty in our lives but the truth is that we can’t always be in a constant state.

It takes daily work. I set aside time for personal development and it’s often the best time of the week.

I would encourage you to do the same. The first thing you can do is start talking. That’s where it began and I’m amazed most weeks about how I can work through situations that used to seem totally hopeless. If you’re experiencing this, you can do the same, just don’t do it alone.

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**There are some fantastic charities and organisations that can help you take these first few steps:

Mind, Mental Health Charity

Time to Change

Heads Together

NHS — Counselling

Are we becoming a bunch of recruitment robots?

2015. Recruitment tools – we have plenty. Too many? Maybe.

There was a time (before my era, mind) when recruitment was about a few simple things… people, getting to know these people, building a network and connecting this network with opportunities at your company (clients if on the agency side). Over simplified? Yes. Is this simplistic view compatible with modern recruitment?

Today’s market, particularly in the world of technology, sees the candidate in the driving seat. As recruiters, our task of finding and attracting some of the best talent that our employers demand is harder than ever. This has of course led to the rise of what I call ‘The (Recruitment) Tool Army’!

‘Recruitment is broken’ they say? Fear not; let’s build a host of products that will solve everything! Buy this and your life will change forever.

I’d like to think that as recruiters, we’re not all so gullible, or are we?

I’m not going to waffle on about what tools are good and what aren’t. There’s too much debate on that subject already and there are too many tools to cover. My gripe is with some of my fellow recruiters. As part of my job I speak to a lot of candidates, I also speak to a fair few recruiters. Some truly excellent ones. These are the ones who really get what is required and actually execute on it by trying things that others can’t or won’t.

There are unfortunately others who have forgotten what this job is actually all about. Recruiters use tools and moan when they don’t instantly solve their problems. Why would you rely on it to take your place in recruitment?

Have we lost sight of what’s really important?

I think we have to an extent. Professional and successful people want to surround themselves with smart people, they form communities of like minded people. Why? Because they continually want to learn. We, as recruiters, need to follow suit. Developers have communities, so do doctors, mathematicians, marketers. There’s no excuse not to.

So what should we do about it?

Go back to basics and have a desire to learn. When I think about recruitment and what it should involve there are certain things that come to mind:

  • Relationship-building
  • Hard work
  • Communication
  • Research
  • Respect
  • Good Timing

Think about how you would want to be approached and consider the mindset of a candidate. In the context of someone’s career they only interact with recruiters for a very small portion of that. Go to great lengths to ensure that it’s a good experience. Through showing somebody respect and that you’ve bothered to try and understand what they do you’re far more likely to get their trust. If you show you care and want what’s best for them how could somebody not appreciate it?

Learning – build a community with fellow recruiters. Some have really great advice and experience that they are only too happy to share. The London startup community is one place where this is happening. A group of recruiters are doing more to learn from each other and more importantly give honest feedback (through events).

The ‘War on Talent’ is not just one of skills shortages and competition. For recruiters, it’s also about reclaiming ground. Tools are there to complement us, not do our jobs for us. Be prepared, transparent, go to events (if you’re brave enough, speak at them – it’s worth it!) meet your candidates and get to know them.

Show understanding and a willingness to learn and people will respect you. Use this as a base and build from there. Utilise the tools you have to make things a little easier. Don’t become the ‘tool’ who blames everything else when they don’t succeed.