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The Ampersand July 2018 – Turning Nine and Doing Fine

July 1, 2018

Upon reviewing a recent article by Katherine Lee and Joel Forman, MD, entitled “Developmental Milestones for a 9-Year-Old – A Period of Major Transition as Adolescence Nears,” I’m pleased to report that we are mostly on track. The article reviews five critical elements of a 9-year old’s development:


  1. Behaviour and Daily Routines
  2. Physical Development
  3. Emotional Development
  4. Cognitive Development
  5. Social Development

Let’s take these one at a time.


Behaviour and Daily Routines


The article suggests that “children of nine can be paragons of contradiction.”  It goes on to state that “while most will want to expand their social circles, they will seek refuge with family if ever they feel insecure.”  Well, we have worked very hard to expand our social circles – over 12,500 of you receive this blog, for starters. And during the past year we completed 70 projects, over half of which were for brand new clients, from six different cities, in 12 functional disciplines across 9 industry sectors. So, yes, our social circles are expanding.


But, as the article suggests, there are times when insecurity gets the best of us. Specifically, most Wednesday mornings at around 11 a.m. during our weekly Ops meeting as I repeat my mantra, “Guys, I’m a bit worried about the pipeline.”  Eye rolls usually ensue, and the pipeline usually fills up quickly but it’s at times like that when I am so thankful for the team we have; a team we proudly call our work family. And one more thing; if ever we start a firm band, we shall call it The Paragons of Contradiction.


Physical Development


The article warns that “nine-year-old children will begin to face numerous physical and emotional challenges as they approach adolescence….body image issues may even start to arise.”  Our body image issues are manifested in our premises and, indeed, we recently faced numerous physical and emotional issues as they relate to our nine-year old space.


You see, for a boutique firm such as ours, the lease informs almost all of our long-term decision making. As the adolescence of our firm life approaches, we have had to do some serious soul searching about our lease, for it binds us in a very real and meaningful way to a future we cannot clearly see. To this end, I’m very pleased to report that we just concluded a rather fascinating and complex three-way negotiation with our landlord, the ever-agreeable Allied Properties REIT, and our long-time neighbour, Murrieta’s Bar & Grill, that will see us take an additional 350 sq. ft. of space from the Chef’s office (sorry, Chef), which we’ve cleverly named The S&box (props to Kate), allowing for future growth in a building we love (the old Alberta Hotel Building) while concurrently blending and extending our rental rate to better reflect 2018 downtown Calgary, not 2014 downtown Calgary when we last negotiated.


Yes, our work body is changing, and the upshot is we’ll be here until March, 2024 – well into our mid-teens. Though the Reader’s Digestversion is “more space, less rent” it’s still a six-year commitment that translates into about $700,000 in additional rent. Those are big numbers for a 9-year-old. Watch this space and our Instagram feed for pics of our new S&box over the summer.  The ‘before’ shot:





Emotional Development


Interestingly, according to the article, at nine, children will have become more emotionally mature and better able to handle inter-relational conflicts.  Our May edition of The Ampersand may lead you to question how far we’ve come in this regard (no, we never did receive the feedback, but thanks to all those of you who shared our pain) but the article goes on to say “[t]heir growing independence will lead to them to seek relationships independent of their family…and many nine-year-old’s will have a strong desire to belong to a group.”


To this end, our recent affiliation with Panorama, a partnership of 18 like-minded leading executive search firms with 42 offices around the world, has proven fruitful. We have collaborated with Panorama on several initiatives, partnering with our sister firms in Montreal and Vancouver. Late last month, our Associate Erin Dand, participated in the Global Researcher’s Conference in London and we also sent Pekarsky & Co. delegations to productive Partner meetings from Nashville to New Zealand during the past year. Finally, I have been appointed the Global Practice Lead for the Panorama Legal Search Practice Group (pretty fancy title for a nine-year-old) entrusted with exporting our Canadian know-how abroad.



Cognitive Development


It is suggested by the authors that “at nine, children will be able to think critically and may want to share their opinions about a diverse range of subjects.”  Us?  C’mon.


In the past year, ten editions of The Ampersand were published covering a most diverse range of subjects, to be sure.  We kicked off the writing year on September 1 with P&Co. 2.0 by writing:


“Let’s jump to it, shall we? True story. Last Spring, we wrote a few pieces in this space that may have expressed a slightly unfavourable view toward the current American president.”


If our views were merely “slightly unfavourable” back then, they are barely suitable for print now. In a possible sign of our encroaching maturity, we’ve been mostly muted about his Trumpness throughout the past year. This, even as he’s clearly picked up the pace of the Crazy.  Writing coherently and logically about the frenzied formlessness, racially charged predilections and sheer lunacy that is the embarrassment called Donald Drumpf requires greater cognitive dexterity than this 9-year-old presently possesses.


Other posts from the past year included Ranju’s piece about our Panorama partnership and her time in New Zealand as part of the Panorama global conference; an inside look at the dark art of recruitment in How the Hot Dogs Are Made; a pithy holiday top 10 list of recruitment tidbits; a guest column by our very own Cam McDonald about answering when opportunity knocks; our take on the virtues of losing in A Swing and A Miss and the perils of naming a firm in Taking the Long View.  We finished strong with a piece about the winter that was, a rant about feedback and, last month, another guest contribution from Associate Erin Dand about the shape of success (no, it’s not about a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank).  Along the way, our blog blogged about many other community and fun things we did and saw and our social media game got a major shot in the arm with the arrival of Kiara Marika.


Starting in September we will be counting down to our 10th birthday by reviewing our 10 favourite posts of all time, annotated with some of the more colourful commentary and feedback that accompanied them.


Social Development


The final developmental milestone of a 9-year-old is social development.  Specifically, “many [9-year-olds] will have cell phones and high-level activity in social media.  This, along with an inherent curiosity, makes them vulnerable to influences that you may be less able to control, including online bullying and inappropriate web content.” As the foregoing demonstrates, it is debatable whether we are victims of inappropriate web content or purveyors of it.


The article concludes by suggesting that “children of nine tend to have a strong sense of fairness and what is right or wrong. They will also become more socially conscious as they yearn to find a place in the bigger world.”  Us? C’mon.


Have a great summer and we’ll see you in September!














p.s. Even though you’ll have to do without The Ampersand during our summer hiatus, you can still follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and watch our Blog for other posts throughout July and August.