I graduated from college in 2008. After relentlessly pursuing the “job of my dreams” and coming up empty, I decided to put my dreams on hold to join my parents' recruiting and staffing company. I had been in and out of the company since my mom founded it many years ago, so the learning curve wasn't too steep. The jargon and processes almost came as second nature.

Just like the thousands of other recent college grads out there in the midst of a recession, I felt a degree of hopelessness that my current career didn't match what I'd hoped for. But during my never-ending search for help getting a foot in the door, someone offered up some sage advice: "If you can't have the job you love, love the job you have." That really struck a chord with me. It reinvigorated me to not give up on my dreams of working for a large financial firm or a Big 4 consulting company, and instead filled me with new hope.

Then I realized I could work for those companies. What if they became my clients?

And so began a new chapter of not giving in to a bad economy, but finding happiness in servicing others who need help filling positions.

The learning process from recent college grad to being a key player in my parents' company took time, patience, and humility. And I learned a few things about the industry. It takes toughness. It takes a fierce competitor (these days everyone claims they can get you a job). It takes nerves of steel to follow-through on the job order process and fill it with the right person. It takes patience (some candidates get endless calls, there's competitive price wars, clients can switch without notice, and decisions can take weeks).

In short, I learned that the highs are really high, and the lows really low. It's quite the bipolar process. It’s waiting, anticipating, and resolving. Yet, I noticed my mom somehow always keeps her cool. When a candidate calls and says they are not interested in our client, even though our client is willing to offer a steep pay increase, she keeps her cool. When a consultant wants a raise and the client doesn’t want to give one, she remains calm and composed, approaching the situation with finesse and grace.

The economy of 2008 was really discouraging. It could have been an experience of wallowing, defeat, and aggravation – as I'm sure it was for many people. Instead, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me and the others who I helped with new opportunities. It still was a difficult time, don't get me wrong, but it taught me to not lose hope. To know that opportunities come and go. And that no one is the last one.

Tags: Business, True Stories