top of page

Reflections on Resilience: My Human Experience

Updated: Aug 22

(Trigger Warning: Gun Violence)

The world often feels like it's moving at warp speed. It creates moments of reckoning that can strike us unexpectedly - causing us to pause and reflect on the interconnectedness of life's various threads. It makes me think of the beautiful quilts my mother makes and how each one is unique down the individual cut out square or piece that created the whole masterpiece. Humans are masterpieces much like these quilts. Two weeks ago, I found myself in the midst of a drive-by shooting, an experience that prompted a whirlwind of emotions, trauma, and deep contemplation. I was home with my daughter asleep and on that Thursday at 2:40 AM we woke to more than 16 gun shots screaming towards our townhouse and those around us. This traumatic experience served as a stark reminder of my privilege, the privilege of others, systemic racism and how it has literally created so much trauma that it led to this experience, the challenges of being a recruiter, and the importance of empathy in the realm of how recruiters and hiring managers assess and interview job seekers (whew run on sentence express!!). CANDIDATE experience is important. So is the overall HUMAN experience.

Through it all, one truth sparkled clear and pristine like a flawless peridot: life is incredibly precious, and our interactions with one another should reflect that understanding with love, empathy and kindness. The sound of gunshots piercing through the air, shattering glass, bullets penetrating our home and homes around ours is something no one should ever have to experience. Yet, it was an unfortunate reality we faced just two Thursdays ago. The trauma and fear from this experience forced me to confront the fragility of life and the immense importance of cherishing every moment. It made me realize that while I am often reminding myself to LOVE MYSELF HARDER but mostly telling my followers to "LOVE YOURSELF HARDER", that I really did need to step up my self-love game. This moment reminded me that the world can change in an instant, and this realization drives me further to consider the bigger picture. I hope it drives you as well.

Surviving the experience led me to ponder my own privilege from a lens I had not. While traumatic and frightening, I realized that while I did not have immediate financial resources to help me through the aftermath, I did have a small community around me that was willing to show up. There was Jenny in Seattle offering me and my daughter a place to stay for the night, Aaron in Seattle going through his own struggles and trauma and still checking in and offering support, Felicia in Texas calling me the very same morning to make sure I was okay and offering a place if needed, Kat in Chicago checking in more than once to show love and support, Rachel in Oregon checking on me consistently that week and onward many other friends checking in on me. I am grateful for my personal and professional communities. I have been thinking further on the systemic disparities that exist in our society, where not everyone has the same safety net, community, and/or access to financial resources. It's a reminder that we must continue working towards a more equitable world where privilege doesn't dictate one's outcomes when it comes to basic human survival and so much more. Because when we really dissect it, systemic racism and discrimination impact these outcomes and these varying levels of privilege. They are what caused the entire traumatic scenario to begin with. I may not have the resources others do financially - but in a pinch, I know I can leave my things behind and that my kid (and me) will always have a safe place to go to when in need. Not everyone has that.

This traumatic event also underscored the importance of empathy in the world of recruitment. As recruiters, we engage with job seekers at a critical time in their lives, and often, they're grappling with their own challenges and trauma. It's easy to lose sight of this when faced with seemingly endless to-do lists, hiring managers with unreasonable expectations, the current job market’s unique and new challenging surprises, and time constraints often tied to the stupid time-to-fill metric that many employers put far too much stake into vs. quality of hire. However, as dramatic as this blog post may sound so far – IT IS NOT - THIS IS REALITY. When events like this take place we are reminded that we are all fighting battles, visible or not. We all have varying levels of support systems and resources. Some of us have less than others. Some of us have more than others. Some of us have only ourselves. This realization has infused my continued passion for providing world-class candidate experiences while stiving to uncover newfound empathy beyond what I thought was best in the world before this experience.

Recruiters play a pivotal role in connecting job seekers with job opportunities, yet the challenges we face are often misunderstood by job seekers, our co-workers, and people outside of our field. Despite the trauma I experienced, I found myself back at work, conducting interviews just 36 hours later – not because my employer made me, expected me to, or needed me to – because I needed to work - for me. I needed something I could feel control of while navigating a situation and new trauma not as a single human being but as a mother as well. This is not to downplay the importance of candidate experience and how incredibly tough the current job market is for job seekers, but to emphasize that recruiters are humans too, dealing with their own personal struggles while striving to serve both candidates, hiring managers, and employers with best-in-class experiences. Many of us even use our personal time to support the job seeking and recruitment communities.

In the aftermath of the shooting, accusations of negligence, and claims that I was an insensitive recruiter landed in my InMail box from a job seeker. It stung deeply. I was accused of "...not caring about job seekers like you claim to" and being a fraud by this job seeker (who originally messaged me Wednesday morning that same week). They sent the first InMail with their resume attached and a note that said, “Hi Rachelle, Here is my resume. Let me know if you have anything for me.” on Wednesday morning. I get these messages often. I cannot respond to a message like this easily so I often wait until I have spare/free time to take a look. Job seekers often confuse the job of corporate recruiters and agency recruiters, and employment agencies (Amy Miller talks about these differences in her blog - I will find the link and post to comment section of blog for anyone curious to learn more - might take a bit to find). Instead of getting frustrated that the job seeker sent the message, I move it to a folder to look at as time permits. 99% of the time these messages (" is my resume what do you got for me" types) are from people who do not have a skillset I hire for. So when I logged into my InMail on Friday to a message berating me for not replying to their message from Wednesday, I had to take a deep breathe and step back from my keyboard. I literally sat at my desk and closed my eyes taking several deep breathes. When I opened my eyes, I reminded myself how important it is to view these interactions through a lens of compassion. While this job seeker was out of pocket completely - they may be experiencing some type of trauma as well. We are all walking our own paths, and a little more understanding can go a long way. That said, I have not responded to this job seeker. I did review their resume but I do not hire 3PL 3rd shift Supervisors and have not in close to a decade. I also reminded myself that while I was and can look at these scenarios and interactions from a place of compassion, it is okay to protect my own peace, mental health, and sanity along the way.

Life has an uncanny way of imparting wisdom through unexpected events. Surviving that drive-by shooting was a stark reminder of the privilege those around me have, my own privilege, the myriad of systemic disparities that choke society to its very limits in many cases, and how our work is never done in fighting for human rights as a whole is not close to being over or unnecessary. It echoed the importance of empathy in the realm of recruitment and job search. It reaffirmed that recruiters, just like job seekers, are navigating their own challenges while striving to create meaningful connections.

So I implore you to remember with me that our actions have a ripple effect and can either contribute to the burdens others carry or dismantle these burdens. As we continue on this human journey, let's infuse our interactions with kindness, understanding, and the knowledge that life is precious and fleeting – a lesson worth carrying forward in all aspects of our lives. Like a patchwork quilt, we are all people doing our best to do more than just to survive the human experience. Let us not get so busy or self involved that we forget this.

73 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page