Stressed? Thought so…

stress2Did you know that the recruitment industry is the most stressful industry in the world? That’s right… more stressful than teaching… police work… dairy farming… ambulance driving… hell, it’s even more stressful than the military.

I can picture you now… some nodding in agreement… others shaking their heads in disbelief. But I can categorically confirm that recruitment is the most stressful job on earth. This is backed up by a recent survey I completed with 200 people – testing their levels of stress. The fact that all 200 participants were recruiters may have slightly skewed the results… but… hey… the facts don’t lie! (Just like Shakira’s hips…).

Speaking of stress, I just returned from the annual RCSA International Conference in tropical Port Douglas. It was horrible. Sunshine… golf… swim up bars… jungle canopy gala dinners… and some bloody good speakers!

stress1One of the speakers in particular resonated with me… and the fact that our industry is the most stressed going around… if you don’t believe me please refer back to my evidential proof in the form of a fully franked survey of 200 people.

Dr Libby – a biochemist and nutritionist. I had no knowledge of Dr Libby and her work prior to her session. In fact, I was debating shooting back to the resort pool for a leisurely swim and cocktail before fronting up for the evening’s festivities. I’m glad I didn’t.

Dr Libby framed the presentation around stress… the chemical reasons the body becomes stressed and even a nod to caveman and their impressive lack of stress outside of being faced with a life or death situation. There was the obligatory reference to ‘flight or fight’ and a vague attempt to convince the room that coffee actually increases stress… (c’mon Dr Libby – you’re better than that!).

I’m all about takeaways and this presentation really made sense.

In my job I see recruiters all day – every day. And many of them are in a heightened state of stress. Recruiters who are looking for their next role due to unrealistic expectations, underperformance, bad culture or stilted ambition… all stressed. Recruitment leaders desperate for their next gun hire, trying to understand why their market share is waning, wanting to create an environment that engages and retains their best talent… all stressed.

Like I said… I’m all about takeaways (Thai is my favourite… bad joke right? I’m actually sitting here shaking my head at myself right now… Come on Craig… lift… you’re better than that…). And Dr Libby’s actual words were ‘If you were to take one thing away from this presentation it is this… learn to breathe.’

stress3There it is. We… as a collective… need to learn to breathe… a function we have all been successfully completing for our entire lives…

But the good Doctor is talking about real breathing… in through the nose… deep breaths right down to your diaphragm… and slowly exhale through your nose. Do it slowly… do it with your eyes closed… do it 20 times… and do it daily… or whenever you feel stressed.

Unlike my doctored survey this breathing thing actually works… some sort of chemical release that I am far too lowest common denominator to explain properly. Sure it won’t eliminate the cause for your stress, but it will give your body and mind the calmness and energy to look for the answer.

So breathe… or take a holiday. Port Douglas is good this time of year!

Craig Watson

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