Back in 1982, just a freshman in high school at the time, I went to see Journey. They were my favorite band and Steve Perry was my favorite singer. Now, at the time, my aspirations were to be a professional singer and things were going well for that to be a reasonable expectation. So, I probably immersed myself in these concerts in a different way than others might have. I was, of course, enjoying the music and the show, but I was also studying and imagining myself doing the same thing one day.
As I sat in the audience last night, this time with my daughter who was attending her first rock concert, and my wife, I was having flashbacks to 1982. It was crazy! I could remember exactly where I was sitting and the angle of the stage to me. I remember exactly what I wore – green and grey parachute pants and a sleeveless grey t-shirt with high tops. I was once again singing the songs to the top of my lungs and no one in the place could hear all of my failures on hitting those incredibly high notes that only 2-3 people in the world can hit. This time it was extra special though because I was both reliving the past and making new memories with my daughter.
On the long trip home last night, I began think about how we hold onto the past – I know, I get all philosophical after a long night of rock n roll, and this time I didn’t even see or smell any pot in the crowd (unlike 1982). Were those better days? Would I want to go back to those days and relive my life from that point? I certainly made a lot of mistakes along the way and wish I had some do-overs, but all in all those mistakes and those positive and negative experiences shaped me and have gotten me to where I am today. My life isn’t perfect, but it’s my life. My current life allowed me to have a very cool experience last night with my daughter and my wife that easily rated as one of the top nights of my life. Do-overs come with a pricetag and that do-over might have changed things in a way where last night wouldn’t have occurred at all.
In business, this is also true. We experience some success in some way or another, and then we latch onto that strategy or that process and we make that our go-to weapon of choice. Soon, many years have passed and we are still holding onto the glory days. I speak with HR and Recruiting leaders all of the time and they readily admit that the way they recruit now is very much like the way they were taught many years before – some of the tools are different and new, but the strategy and process is very much the same. By allowing honest evaluation, optimization, and change to occur – better things could be waiting for you that will take you to greater places professionally and personally.
The world is far different now than it was a couple of decades ago. Think of just the way that the internet has reshaped how business is done. It’s also reshaped an entire generation of people who have grown up with it every day of their lives. Attracting, recruiting, managing and retaining them is far different now than when we worked with their parents and grandparents. It’s not all about optimizing through technologies, it’s finding the right balance between high tech and high tough to effectively reach modern day and next generation candidates and employees.
It was fun to relive 1982 last night. But I’m not that skinny, curly haired, zit faced freshman anymore. There is very little in my life now that was present in 1982. I’m an adult. I’m married for 25 years. I have a teenage daughter. I have big responsibilities that impact many other people. I’ve had to adapt, change, optimize along the way in order to get to where I am. 1982 rocked…but so did last night!