Day One at Career Cooperative: Figuring it All Out​

 
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Launching a company. Making my own rules. Still figuring it out.

So, I’m launching a company. I got to give myself a title - It’s Founding Partner. Partner, because I’m launching Career Cooperative with my old Temp Partner, Jenna DeFabio. We built a division at Maven, we’re going to build again!

We are recruiters-turned-career-consultants who are using our 10+ years of recruiting experience, and all the other fun stuff in our combined backgrounds, to help clients navigate career transitions, job hunting, interviewing and the overall topsy-turvy journey of jobs and careers.

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So how’d I get here? Well, you are reading this on LinkedIn, you can see my background - I started in tech PR, moved to lifestyle PR, jumped ship and found myself in recruiting. I was one of the first five hires and spent 5 ½ years at the boutique recruiting firm. I helped 100s of people get jobs and/or transition their careers, and helped 100s more figure out how to talk about their experience, and confidently and creatively go forward in job searches and interviewing. I partnered with companies to not only make good hires, but strategize impactful ways to recruit and interview talent. It was great - but the thing is, I could never quite turn off my PR/Communications brain so I ended up heading Maven’s communications efforts in between interviews, submitting candidates, and client visits. After five years in a ‘dedicated’ recruiting/account management role, it made sense for the business and my restlessness to transition into a full-time communications, marketing, and strategic partnership role.

I missed the relationships with my candidates and clients. I missed the connection and ability to empower people and instill confidence.

Two things happened: One, I was slowly realizing I needed to step away from Maven. It had been quite a journey over those five years both professionally and personally. I knew I needed something new, but I also realized I needed some time away from work to actually give myself the space and time to breathe and figure out what was next.

Number Two was more under the radar - I overheard my colleague prepping a candidate for an interview and was jealous. I missed the relationships with my candidates and clients. I missed the connection and ability to empower people and instill confidence.

I left Maven in April of this year. During my time off I traveled, became a regular with my son at the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library Toddler Storytime, filled my Goodreads with read books, and indulged in one of my favorite pastimes - going to the movies alone. I also kept coming back to that interview prep call and this idea of figuring it all out.

We put way too much pressure on ourselves to have it all figured out, especially under the lens of a career. Careers are fluid.

You know that expression ‘those who can’t do, teach?” Or something like that - I believe we put way too much pressure on ourselves to have it all figured out, especially under the lens of a career. Careers are fluid - you can’t be expected to know what you want to do for the rest of your life straight out of college, just like you can pivot careers anytime, or dabble in different jobs to figure out what you like. But it’s so much harder to give yourself, and live by, that advice. But in that space and time I took, I finally started listening, and here is what I came up with:

‘Figuring it out’ can be narrowing down what industries you want to work in today - it doesn’t have to be what industry you are going to be in 20 years from now. It can be deciding you want flexibility to always have the space and time to explore new things - like me. It can be deciding that whatever it is you do, you want to do something that empowers people - also like me. It can be looking at what you’ve done in the past and figuring out what you liked about it - I’ll take a little of this from Communications and a lot of this from Recruiting/Career Advising. It can be taking a freaking huge leap and starting your own business to make it all happen - see a pattern here?

So here I am - launching a business. Figuring out business licenses and tax implications, thinking intentionally about our company values, and designing meaningful services for our clients. It doesn’t hurt that I get to do it with someone who I trust, respect, and is a seriously talented recruiter, client & candidate advocate, negotiator, and master problem-solver. I’m also just really excited to get to partner with Jenna again!

I am beyond excited to be telling you about Career Cooperative, with a sprinkling of shaking boots, but that’s totally normal, right? Stay tuned to learned more about Career Cooperative and my journey and thoughts on all-things careers, job hunting, interviewing, and much more.

 
About UsDana Hundley