Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I pledge allegiance to The Force....
Some say it takes a certain kind of crazy to working in technology staffing (or any type of staffing/human trafficking ring, for that matter) and I absolutely agree. Not many people in my industry grew up wanting to be a recruiter. I know I didn’t. (We’ve already covered my wacky childhood ambitions in earlier posts….I had my sights on much cooler things…) When I started my sentence at Kforce I wasn’t sure what to expect. For all purposes, Kforce was my first real job and to say that I wasn’t intimidated by the massiveness of this company would be a HUGE lie. I assumed that everyone at The Force was assigned a little barcode on their first day and when the powers that be were done with you, the floor would open up and your fancy rolling chair would disappear into Kforce oblivion where you would then be turned into glue.
My first week at Kforce was interesting. I was assigned to our “Search” team (full desk, direct hire) and I didn’t know what in the world was going on. I knew nothing (seriously, NOTHING) about technology and I was put in a corner and told to recruit Java people. “Java???? What in the hell is Java?”, I thought. After a day or so of calling these mysterious Java people and sounding absolutely retarded, I decided that I was going to recruit .Net people instead. To my pea-sized woman brain (its science) this seemed the better route to go. Fortunately, I was right and I started to have more fun in my little cube. I actually met one of my best friends on my second .Net recruiting call. He took pity on me and took me under his dev wing. Slowly but surely, I was becoming less and less clueless. (Thank God for Luis.) In any event, after I got on the .Net train, I started to love my job more and more. The people I worked with weren’t half bad either. I was starting to bond with the other people on the tech team and I quickly saw what a great group of people I worked with. We were all in this crazy staffing thing together. But still, I thought, there was no way the entire company could be as cool as my immediate group of Kforcers. We all had a bond. We had matching barcode tattoos.
About a month or so after joined the staffing elite, my personal life hit the skids. I was getting a divorce. I tried to handle this as quietly (and quickly) as possible but at some point I had to be out of the office to deal with all of the fun and excitement that accompanies the big D. Being the newbie to the Orlando clan, I was very nervous about how my latest adventure would interfere with the staffing arts. Not only was I surprised with the support of local management, I also had quite a few cheerleaders at corporate. I was encouraged to take as much time as I needed to get things situated, to mourn (…or celebrate), and just to get my life squared away. I was assured that my fancy rolling chair would still be there waiting for me and that I would be granted a stay of execution. Little did I know, this was just a preview of how great Kforce is as an organization; apparently, the awesomeness was not limited to just the local Orlando office.
In the months to come, I was continually surprised with how great, supportive, and accommodating everyone at Kforce was. Whether I was in need of something small, some additional training and support, someone to vent to, or some major accommodations, my direct boss, along with my Market VP, National Champs, etc. were right there to help. A few months before my one year mark, my father, who had been ill with cancer for a few years, took a turn for the worse. As soon as I mentioned this to my boss, he immediately went to work getting me set up to work remotely and told me to go home to be with my dad. I didn’t have to ask permission and I didn’t have to worry about my job and what would become of it. Everyone assured me that I could take as much time as I needed and the important thing was to be home with my dad. He ended up passing away a couple of weeks later and I am forever grateful to The Force for their understanding and compassion. Now, in all fairness, I’m sure that most companies would allow their employee to go home and be with family during something like this. I get that. What I’m not certain about is that most companies would tell said employee to take off as much time before and after and really mean it. I received no guilt trips, no stressful conversations about my numbers (or lack thereof), and no whip cracking when I returned. And once again, my rolling chair was still there.
Two more years have passed and I am still impressed with The Force.
I am asked a lot why I love working for Kforce so much and for me that answer is pretty simple. Kforce is very big on taking care of their people and that message starts from the very top. Whether you be a Kforce internal employee or a contractor, we try to treat everyone like family. Crap happens, of course, but at then end of the day, Kforce is a company that (TRULY) cares and tries to do the right thing. Though we are a sales organization, we are not run by a heavy hand and we are encouraged to have a life outside of our jobs…just not during prime time. All in all, The Force is made up of people that really like what they do, the industries they represent, and transferring their passion to others with the staffing bug…and I’m so proud to be apart of that.
So, Dave Dunkel, if you are reading this…(or your assistant…or your assistant’s assistant), hats off to you for growing such a great company and placing an emphasis on values that really matter. I always say that I will never leave this place unless someone packs my desk up for me…so…please…stay away…and leave me and my rolling chair in peace. :)