All Work – No Play

Hi Danny,
I very much appreciated your recent newsletter about the evolving methods of recruiting professionals through social media, email blasting, and more.

In the same line of thought I was hoping that you could talk about work/life balance. Our top biller in the office leaves at 4:25 in the afternoon (while the office stays until 5 or later). He also has between 30 and 40 calls during a day, and talk time around an hour per day. Yet the result is between 60 and 100K per month on the board in solo deals from him.

Similarly, the next couple of top billers in the company have similarly low call rates, and yet our President continues to drive the importance of doing all prep work and planning at home, and staying late, and being on the phone above all else as a means of guaranteeing effectiveness and revenue.

It has always been my contention that quality trumps quantity and that in order to live a healthy life-style there needs to be a break in the time that one works, to after hours. I’ve always thought that if a person can’t do the job really well in the 8 hours we should be at our desks, that employee either needs training or help in attacking their workload.

This is a sensitive question because all too often bosses in this business can be seen as “never satisfied” and “only goal driven” which makes it harder for a recruiter to feel appreciated.

What are your thoughts?

Danny’s response,
In the spirit of your question, I am going to bottom line this, since, by your definition, if it takes me all day to prep for your question and I have to stay late to answer it, something is wrong…

In all likelihood, your top biller, currently killing it at $60-$100K a month (putting them in that Politically Incorrect 1% of all billers in our industry), would NOT bill any more if you made them work longer hours or make more calls.

Your boss doesn’t want to hear that. I hate admitting it. Because it was not my way. I am a plodder. I have Puritan blood. Life is hard, then you die. You have to bring it every day. If I am tired, I try to picture one of my competitors driving to work already on their headset, fully engaged, well rested, and happy to take on the business I am too lazy to fight for. A fear based philosophy: it’s not really yours, it is on loan, and it can all be taken from you if you don’t protect it. I have mentored a lot of top billers like me. Maybe your boss is one of us. So we have a choice, we can sit around and grouse about how the next generation “has no fire in the belly”, or we can admit that the fire has brought its own set of problems, from ulcers to a full blown melt of a burn out.

Some combination of sensing this creeping demise and the advantages inherent in technology have created a new and, time to face it, better recruiter. They:

Go at it happy and hard. For a while.
They pause, they breathe, they gather themselves.
They take time off and prioritize their loved ones.
Their work life exists to improve their home life. (A message I misunderstood for way, way too long.)
They have a killer instinct when something is real and then you need to get out of their way.
When they aren’t “feeling it”, they will get in their own way.
They can only feel sorry for themselves for SO long and then they snap out of it.
They are motivated not by shame or guilt but by positive reinforcement and praise.
The fact that they prefer their friends and family to you doesn’t mean they’re not dedicated.
I see it all the time. We hire Tarzan, and then put him on a tractor in his loincloth and get frustrated with him when he doesn’t plant the seeds as well as you want him to. It’s a hard lesson to learn for your boss, because it is not how he became who he/she is, but after we’ve done the very hard part of developing and teaching a top producer (and I’m ONLY talking about the top people, not the posers in between), we need to find the strength to do two things. 1) Be grateful for them every day, even when they seem ungrateful. 2) Get out of their way.

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We have hundreds of great questions and answer blogs from Danny and the recruiters he has trained. Look for emails highlighting these questions.