On Being Inquisitive

Headhunting and Consulting for a living can be challenging. However, I’ve learned that it is merely a walk in the park on a sunny day compared to the discipline of producing a, more or less, weekly blog. The thing about writing a blog more or less every week is that, whether you like it or not, you have to think. Mostly it makes you think “why am I torturing myself with this?” However, when that isn’t happening, it pushes you to explore highways and byways and to attempt at least to put something fresh out there.

As far as I can tell there’s no rhyme or reason as to what will engage an audience week to week. There are multiple well-researched articles that I’ve put out there illustrated with pieces of my very soul that according to the counters on the site are read only by my extended family. There are other pieces that I’ve written while hungover and coming down with the flu and subsequently read by football stadia full of avid readers.

This blog has been going for about a year now. Reading my material back to myself, I’m starting to see some themes. For instance, I may be a terrible writer, but most business writing, by comparison, makes me look like the love child of Michael Lewis and Ernest Hemingway.

Other recurring elements include the observations that many business “influencers” are worryingly messianic. Strangely, as a headhunter of three decades standing, I’m not very fond of my trade. I am the product of a somewhat eccentric upbringing punctuated by bouts of fishing (the type with trawlers and nets rather than chalk streams and cast flies) and having high explosives sent in my general direction.

Which brings me to this week’s set of observations.

I’ve been travelling a lot over the last month visiting clients and prospects in Berlin, Barcelona and London. I’ve written before about my 750+ and counting site visits from San Diego to Tel Aviv so me being out and about will come as no surprise to regular readers.

I find it interesting that in my experience recruiters, by and large, tend to be local or regional actors. I’m not unique, but I am unusual in my trade in the distance covered to meet with and understand businesses.

I’d love at this point to behave like an influencer and give you some profound insight from my lofty transcontinental perch. However, I don’t think that I have a profound insight. For sure, I’ve lots of small pieces of information that I can deploy to everyone’s advantage, however other than saying “I’m objectively a better recruiter and consultant because I’ve been about a bit” I can’t really put my finger on one lightning flash of inspired material that elevates me above the general herd. Except I do go and meet many people in many places and no one else in my trade does.

An odd side effect of these periods of intense work and is that it makes written creativity on here tougher. It’s almost as if I’m drowning in material but am too frazzled to write anything useful down.

From the past month then, what have I seen that deserves a paragraph on here?

Well, it’s just an anecdote, but you can read into it whatever you like. I was staying in an “affordable” hotel in Barcelona not far from the Cathedral and Plaça Nova. My window faced away from the square and across a narrow street to an office window wherein during daylight hours a man laboured before a spreadsheet and in the evenings a stapler held down his paperwork on an admirably clean desk.  My room was functional, and when I discovered how to make the window shutters work, reasonably quiet. 

On my last evening in the room, I was snoozing before the last couple of evening meetings and noticed that there appeared to be a light on behind the television in the unit on the other wall. I went to switch it off. When I did, I realised that the light was coming in from outside through a not entirely shut shutter. So I opened the little window that it obscured and there, three floors below, was gothic Barcelona in all its glory in the evening sunshine. I took some pictures and shared them to distant cries of social media jealousy (“travel is so hard kids I never go anywhere nice”).

I guess that’s the message for this week then. The more you explore, the more you’ll find.

Ivor Campbell
Posted on: 20th June 2019 by Ivor Campbell

Into his fourth decade of search Ivor has a voice with stories to tell, observations to make and the odd picture to share. Mostly related to the day job.

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