For many of us, you don’t even have to say anything else. Just the mention of 9/11, and we can look at each other and find commonality and understanding. What a horrific day, followed by many days of uncertainty and questions. It’s hard to believe that thirteen years have gone by.

We all have our stories – where we were, how we heard, where we watched, and how we felt. They are seared into our memories. We don’t get attacked on our home field, but if we did, surely it would be a mighty army with all of the most advanced weapons systems. No. Just a few guys with box cutters riding on a few planes.

One of the most memorable things to me personally was how united the United States of America became in the days immediately following this event. Something rarely seen before, and sadly, after. We cared more for country that we did for party. We cheered for America rather than the candidate. This was just a taste of what patriotism could be like…and it felt good. I believe that’s why Barack Obama’s words were so appealing to us when several years later he said…

“Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

Oh, if that were the country we live in, but it isn’t. We are divided, and we even idolize and reward those who come along and incite the division. Today, everything is looked at through a racial filter. One political party can’t vote on legislation that might make sense because someone from the other political party presented it. Those who create and oversee our laws routinely break our laws. And if you dare mention the name of God in many arenas, then you are a small-minded bigot.

Think of how far things have declined since that day. While there was division among us before 9/11, a new “normal” has been established in our country since it. Everyone needs someone to blame for everything that happens in their lives, and because of that, we attack and malign those who give of themselves to support communities, states, and country. We have a mentality now that we are owed something by others, so instead of going out and earning what we have in life, we wait for someone to give it to us. We no longer can have a civil debate or offer differing opinions…oh no – that is inexcusable and cannot be tolerated. Freedom? Oh no…we are rapidly eliminating freedom. Ask yourself, am I now more free or less free to express my opinion? Ask yourself, is the press more free or less free to report unbiased news? Ask yourself, are you more free or less free to worship and hold to religious beliefs?

9/11 was a nightmare of a time in our country, but one of the lone positives that came was that we were just Americans. No other labels mattered. We were just Americans. As we remember 9/11 this year, we should ask ourselves what we want America to be. Are we pleased with the path we are on, or does it scare us? If it’s the latter, then what will you do about it? What will you demand from the people you elect? How will it change the way you interact and respond to others who disagree with you?


Political Stance Screening Questions?

American Politics ConceptRecently the big news story was Brendan Eich and his stepping down as the CEO of Mozilla under pressure from his board due to the calls for his firing by OKCupid and their followers. Six years earlier, Mr. Eich wrote a personal check to a cause that he supported aimed at defeating a gay marriage law in California. According to everything I have read, he had never been accused of discrimination or any unlawful act in his professional responsibilities. At issue was what cause he chose to support as a private citizen…the same stance, by the way, that Barack Obama held at the same time. OKCupid believed that his own personal beliefs and contributions from 6 year prior were grounds for him to lose his employment at Mozilla, where he had been employed for 13 years.

As someone in the recruiting industry, I’ve begun to ask myself how this scenario will impact how recruiters will do their job, and how they will need to respond to hiring managers or clients who may want to know more about their potential candidates. Although I haven’t been asked to yet, what if a client asks me to lead a search for them and they only want people who support gay marriage? Or what if I have a client who says they only want to see candidates who are against gun control? Or pro-life? Or pro-choice? What if they want financial records for the past 10 years to make sure they haven’t donated to a charity or a cause that the hiring manager doesn’t personally support?

Obviously, I cannot legally ask these questions. Or at least I can’t yet. But is that where we are headed? Will recruiting take on more of a private investigator persona so we can only have people working alongside us who think identically to the way we think?

It is troublesome to consider these scenarios. Individuals should be able to form and hold their own personal opinions, beliefs, and convictions. They should be able to support a cause if they feel it appropriate and lawful. If they can maintain those opinions, beliefs, and convictions without unlawful issue in their professional lives, then so be it. Mr Eich’s story is something all of us should consider. It isn’t about what side of the gay marriage argument you support. The next time, it could be another hot button topic that you adamantly oppose, and someone just like you could be fired because the boss doesn’t see things exactly as you do.

Share your thoughts with me…is this where we are headed?

Basic Assumptions

I’ve been giving some thought to what some people generally assume to be true:

  • All people are generally “good” at their core.
  • If I were in danger, someone would help me.
  • Life is fair.
  • And that recruiters typically know what they are doing. 😉

I think we can all agree that there are foundations assumptions that get us through our days with peace of mind. But are they true? Do we assume too many things to be true? Are we naive about things, or do we just not know and don’t take the time to find out the truth? Let’s look at each of those points.

“All people are generally ‘good’ at their core.” – I do think that most people have goodness, kindness, self-control, etc. inside of them. But sometimes circumstances have pushed it WAY down deep inside. You see evidence of the goodness when a crisis hits and there is an outpouring of concern that comes forward.

“If I were in danger, someone would help me.” – Not sure that I can prove this for the population in general, but we see random acts of kindness from strangers around us all of the time. You see everyday people who suddenly thrust into heroic situations at the drop of a hat. I believe that people are willing to help when presented with a need and opportunities.

“Life is fair.” – I think that life is fair, but the results will vary from person to person based on other factors. You hear from our current President the words, “fair” or “fairness” often, but in his context – I do not agree. To me, I don’t see how it is fair to take from one person to give to another person. Now, if someone wants to be presented with the opportunity to give and they choose to do so – that’s great! But for our government to mandate that we give what we have earned to others, nope. Not agreeing. If a student worked very hard to receive a 4.0 in college – sacrificed, studied long hours, really dedicated himself/herself to it – and another student sacrificed some, studied some, and somewhat dedicated himself/herself to it – yet the professor told the student with the 4.0 that it wasn’t fair that he/she should keep that GPA and should reduce their GPA by 2.0 to give to the other student – we’d be outraged.  No one would stand for that.

“Recruiters typically know what they are doing.” – When it comes to recruiting, in general, the candidate assumes that the recruiter speaking with them knows the company and position that they represent, but we all know that isn’t always true. Yet, that recruiter holds the financial fate of the candidate in his/her hands. Working with a dedicated recruiter, or team of recruiters, who knows your business, knows your managers, know your openings inside and out – this should be the desire of each organization. Contigency recruiters who work a position here for one company, and two positions over there for another company, and 6 more for yet another company – they aren’t dedicated to you and your brand.

RPO solves that problem. It is possible for an external recruiter to partner with you and know all of the details about your company. This should be the rule, not the exception. From a candidate point of view, they want to speak with someone who knows everything about that opportunity and has the influence with the hiring manager to get them considered. RPO allows a firm like Stark to partner with an organization and supply dedicated resources to your team to handle all of your recruiting efforts. They become one of you! There are strong advantages to this model and I would love to discuss your situation with you and see if RPO would be a viable option for you.