How do you measure a nation's strength? By the size of its army? By its
wealth in natural resources? By its balance of trade?
Sure. But a more meaningful metric might be found in the vibrancy of its
workplace. A nation that values its talent and creative energy can only
strengthen its world position, while a country that clings to a
complacent job culture is sure to lag behind.
In some corners of the world, there's a stigma attached to high
achievement. The taller a flower grows, the faster it gets pruned.
How sad. Where I come from, ambition meets an entirely different fate:
The taller a flower grows, the faster it gets recruited.
A Nation Obsessed with Work
Pound for pound, Americans are the most productive people on earth. We
work longer hours and take fewer vacations than anyone else. But it's
not because someone holds a gun to our heads.
We work hard because we generally love what we do. And with Blackberries
and cell phones as enablers, there's practically no limit to our
collective obsession with getting ahead.
Is a manic work ethic healthy? Probably not. But for better or worse,
it's wired in our DNA. When we love our jobs, we work like crazy. And if
we happen to hate them, so be it-we work all the harder to make a
Maybe Americans take the pursuit of happiness too literally. If a job
doesn't satisfy, we feel it's our right-if not our duty-to move on and
find another. And with increasing regularity, they're found with the
help of recruiters.
A World-Wide Trend
Recruiting isn't just a Western phenomenon. From Kiev to Dubai, and
Bangalore to Beijing, recruiters are increasingly woven into the fabric
of achievement. Like an army of bumble bees, we cross-pollinate the
tallest flowers in our respective fields. A million times a day, we wage
war against occupational inertia and unrequited goals. A good shuffling
of the deck tends to reward meritocracy and punish the status quo.
Recruiters turn dreams into reality and ideas into action. We help
narrow the distance between the drawing board and the production line,
between research and development, and between proof-of-concept and
Not long ago, a recruiter called to cry on my shoulder. "I work really
hard," she said. "And I get so little recognition in return!"
"That goes with the territory," I said. "But never forget: your work is
"Every time you make a placement, a candidate becomes happier and more
productive. A family's economic situation improves. An employer becomes
more competitive in the global economy. And ultimately, your success-and
the success of your many clients-makes us all a little stronger.
"So go ahead," I said. "Hold your head high. Take pride in your role as
a recruiter, and for your service to our country."
And in the blink of an eye, the crying stopped as her love of job and
country were joined.