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Looking for Love in February 2015

February 14, 2015

Old Treasures, New Love

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Right on the heels of Valentine’s Day and Adam’s early February admission that he prefers the Albertan economic light switch in its full-on, bright and beaming position as opposed to its current “romantic,” but eerily dim, setting, I thought it timely to discuss,however inadequately, love. While I’m not alluding to L-O-V-E and while Pekarsky Stein has, of course, the declared habit of keeping our newsletters strictly professional, given my own position as someone who is experiencing their first slow march through downsizing and belt-tightening in 2015 Alberta, I don’t think it off-topic to bring up the ways in which we take care of one another when the going gets tough. A significant part of the Pekarsky Stein approach to search, as you’ll know, is rooted in the way we get to know both the people we work with and we work for. Over the past year that I’ve been with the firm, I’ve learned that our “we know people” branding goes far beyond clever business cards and reaches into the interactions and relationships that bolster our business on a daily basis. Our 9-5 demands that we know who someone is on paper, to be sure, but what I think Pekarsky Stein does differently and deliberately, is taking the time to learn who our clients and candidates are in all three dimensions. In times of uncertainty, our ability to understand not just what someone can provide technically, but what makes someone thrive, or what they might need help with, or where they’d like to be in the next five years is exactly what makes it possible for us to distinguish good from great.

In the best of times, to borrow from both Dickens and Pekarsky, we don’t often give thought to how the folks we see on a day-to-day basis are coping, especially in a professional climate where bonuses abound. But in the worst of times, we all begin to wonder whether or not we are valued, if we are important, and if we are necessary. It may seem a bit extreme, but it’s hard to see individual stories and individual lives when headlines read of layoffs in the thousands, and if the Pekarsky Stein philosophy has taught me anything, people are not numbers. People require attention and investment and, especially in the worst of times, reassurance. The Hallmark Valentine’s Day version of that investment would suggest gestures need to be grandiose or expensive or chocolatey. They don’t. Much like the advice you’ve been given in your love lives (of course, taken with varying degrees of success), it’s what happens the other 364 days of the year that matters most.

So, what’s love got to do with it?

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One of my oldest friends happens to run a small jewelry business whose mission statement is “old treasures, new love.” She specializes in taking the ordinary, everyday, and lacklustre pieces in her client’s wardrobes and finding ways to rework them so that they once again become centrepieces. The guiding ideas are simple: new isn’t always better and often just a bit of attention given to what’s already in front of you can elicit stunning results. I think her approach applies just as well to people, and in a moment where many of us feel like a bit of an old treasure (some of us maybe just old), some attention and some love can go a long way toward making us feel valuable again. It’s a lowest common denominator solution–an appreciation for what you already have.

When the general sentiment across Alberta is riddled with nerves and anxiety about not just what comes next and how far the oil price might fall, but whether or not we will see familiar faces across the office next month (and I know that’s a bit dire, but like I said, I’m new to this situation), I think it’ll serve us all well to remember “old treasures, new love.” Take the time to talk with the people you share your days with, grab a cup of coffee, treat someone to lunch. Choose some small way to impress upon the people you do business with and the people you pass in the Plus 15 that even if the economy seems to have lost a bit of it’s shine, they have not. Because when the worst of times are the best of times again (and Adam promised that’s what’ll happen), you’ll be glad you showed them a little bit of love.

All my best,

Jessica

Jessica Young is an Associate with Pekarsky Stein. Prior to beginning her career in search, Jessica focused her attention in the energy sector as a Communications Consultant.