As many of you, dear readership, know, I just recently changed jobs and just passed the two month mark of tenure with my new firm. As some quick background, I have been a Recruiter my whole career and have worked in Healthcare IT for the past three years. Prior to joining my new and totally awesome (!) firm Impact Advisors, I worked in contract recruiting and staff augmentation. Moving into corporate recruiting (meaning I only hire individuals directly for Impact Advisors and only on a full time basis) and joining Impact Advisors was a significant jump and step up in my career, though really, any job change is traumatic and here below are a few things that I thought about when changing jobs.
Duh, right? Everyone must think about pay. Income is fundamental to our survival and lifestyle as well as our families or anyone that depends on you. Conversely, pay isn’t everything and there are different kinds of compensation. Moving from contracting recruiting to corporate recruiting was similar to being a Healthcare IT consultant going from contracting to full time employment with a hospital or consulting firm.
While being a contract recruiter, my pay was commission-based and higher from a raw dollars perspective. Forewarning, for all of you wondering about how staffing works, I’m letting out the secret right here. My commission was a percentage of the hourly profit that the firm collected after the contractor’s pay and taxes were taken out of the hourly bill rate. Hence, the more people I placed on contracts with various clients, the more money I made. However, money was all there was, hence, high pay and high risk especially if there wasn’t a base salary and I did not have access to employer-sponsored benefits.
In my new (and any) full time role, my compensation is much more holistic, but my raw dollars are less. My pay includes a base salary, annual bonus, medical/dental insurance, employer-contributed 401K, vacation pay, holiday pay, and many other perks. Ultimately I chose this more holistic compensation as a better option for me and I believe that, all in, my compensation may be higher.
The Role and Challenges
After five years of contract recruiting, I really was ready for a change. I’ve dedicated my career to helping others with their careers so I decided it was time to take care of my own, too. I speak with many candidates that have spent over ten years with the same organization and I applaud their loyalty as well as encourage them to take the proverbial leap and try something new. Tangentially, I also highly admire those folks that worked in one industry and then did a 180, went back to school and started all over. Talk about courage!
I realize now that contract recruiting had become too easy and I really was ready for a new challenge. Wow, I got it! The learning curve has been steep, frustrating and rewarding. Though it felt so good to hire that first person and make that impact. I’ve become engaged in my work and am expanding my skill set rapidly.
Quality of Life
Like many folks out there, quality of life or work-life balance was a hot-button issue for me. Although many people say your work life and personal life are two separate things, I disagree because they profoundly overlap. Your kid doesn’t only get sick after 5 pm and you don’t only have dental appointments before work. When I was contract recruiting, all I wanted to do was work, but as I have gotten a little older and been through a few more things (mom with cancer and found “the one”) my values have changed. I want and do work hard, but I also want to play hard and be able to put the Blackberry down at night and on vacations. I need a little more life in my life and felt that a corporate recruiting role would afford me a little more of the fun stuff. I compare this to the travel debate. In Healthcare IT, our consultants travel on a weekly basis and candidates must decide if the road warrior lifestyle is a realistic one for where they are in their life.
Finally, I debated what kind of company I wanted to be with. I was looking for an established firm that is a true consultancy where I could be a strategic resource and partner to the growth of the firm. I was looking for a place where my individual professional goals would contribute to the aggregate goals of the firm. My goals just didn’t align with contract recruiting anymore though I still loved my co-workers and contract candidates. I would suggest thinking about the tangibles, compensation and type of work or projects, and intangibles, culture and goals, available in a potential firm when considering a change.
As a Recruiter, I encourage my candidates to think about any or all of the above points that I thought of during my own job change as well as what they truly value most and what is best for them. Now for me, it’s back to work!