My Ikigai Balancing Act

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.” – In this blog I explore my own reasons for being.
To help with my personal growth, a few years ago, I started to write down notes about the year that was. This year I have decided to put my brainstorms into some more organised blog posts. Very 2014 I know. This is an exercise to help me understand my own ideas, where my head is at and a place to write goals to help me grow.
2018 turns out to have been a pretty crucial year, personally and professionally. My end of year brainstorm was massive. I have broken it in to a few posts. The first was about my love for growth and some lessons I had learned. This one is about whats going on in my head. My hunt for an Ikigai.
I hope you enjoy the insights.
I feel awkward when I talk to most people. I have distanced myself from the way most people live their lives that I hesitate to open my mouth. Hell for my personal life. Family functions and meeting random people at events are the worse. I should be charming but it turns out to be the opposite if I’m not careful.
Why is that?
Probably cos I am so different now!
The last 34 years have been a long journey, 2 careers, 2 wives, 12 countries, hundreds of jobs. Thousands of hours pondering the future!
It’s a long time since I lived out of a backpack and cooked for a living. The scars on my arms have faded but the windy road that got me this far has left me scarred and angry.
You may expect me to start the year with hope and dreams.
2018 made it worse; my heroes died, my friends betrayed me and the whole world has gone mad!

Anthony’s Authenticity 
Anthony Bourdain’s book “Kitchen Confidential” had a huge effect on me. My sister gave me his book for Christmas the year it was released. I was 16 and I soaked it all in. I was already obsessed with cooking and working in my local pub at the time. I read his book an Authentic portrayal of addiction, kitchen life and one mans love for great food. A badass rockstar pirate chef’s self portrait painted with stories of a brigade bought together in the flames of service. It scared me, inspired me and fuelled my dreams.
It wasn’t until this year and his death that I realised this.
I met him a few times and he was the nicest, most authentic person I had ever had the chance to spend time with. It broke me to hear he had taken his own life. Was it because he still didn’t feel happy he was authentic?
2018 started the year with an interview for Mark Lundgren’s new show on YouTube. I was worried I may not come off right and Mark said to me; This year my goal is for you to become more you.
It took a while to sink in. 
My authentic self, entrepreneurial spirit and “je m’en foutiste” approach had been lost. Drowned under the murk of corporate jobs and trying to fit in. Inhouse recruiting had beaten out of me the best bits of me. Starting 2019 I realised that this year was going to be about big changes.
I left my job at Indeed primarily because of the fact the only thing they could give me to improve on was my communication technique. I realised I had gotten as far as I could there. The job board that can barely write a job ad. Hired robots. My first and last insight into the corporate world.
Not for me.
I realised what I want to do is be true to myself. Authentically broken with loud points of view and public mistakes. I would have to change again.
The lessons I learned in 2018, pointed that success in 2019 would all be about being true to me.
I want to inspire people.
I want to be Authentic.
I want to be me.

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothes 

At the beginning of 2019, I left DBR.  

I did it because I no longer belong there. For a time, I felt like a wolf in sheep’s clothes. I wasn’t going to say anything about it publicly but its a big part of this story.

I don’t belong in DBR anymore because I’m not an inhouse recruiter.  

This has been playing on my conscience for a while now. While at Indeed, I could kind of with it but as this year I set up my own firm and set out on my own. I can’t deal with the feeling that as a budding entrepreneur I didn’t belong there.  

DBR is the world’s largest community built for inhouse recruiters.  

I am no longer an inhouse recruiter.  

I felt like a wolf in sheep’s clothes. I believe it is wrong that DBR is being run by CEO’s, HR Consultants and HR Tech peeps that don’t recruit. While their ethical compasses are obviously broken, mine is not. I should have left ages ago. DBR was set up for inhouse recruiters to talk to each other. We spent years fighting off the consultants and agencies. We strived to create a community that helped inhouse recruiters get better. An environment that helped them communicate and learned.   We were annoyed that vendors controlled events and communities.  

It turned a bit murky. What I thought was set up to stop the , Backhanders and special rules for friends became a breeding ground for it. That left a sour taste in my mouth.

I am not an inhouse recruiter.  

I don’t belong there…. so I left.  

I still fundamentally believe in the community and the mission. I believe that by sharing we will build a better world. I believe DBR at its core is a beautiful platform and community. I hope that there are the right people in DBR to help it grow and flourish. I there are people in it who can pick up the flame and help DBR continue to be a great place for recruiters.  

EDIT – I was asked to take this down by one of the founders because they felt it was an attack on them. This is not an attack on anyone  in running DBR. Just my thoughts out in the world on why I left.

The honest and (slightly) selfish truth. 

As much as I loved my job as an recruiter my end goal has always been to start building my own business. Recruitment was a way to observe the businesses that interest me from within, learn how they operate and figure out how to build one better.  

It wasn’t until we had a baby this year that it all sank in. Maybe the too many hours reading medium posts, books and yearning for a better life hit home too.  

After I finished my career as a chef I wanted to recruit because I was really interested in people. Interviewing them, Employing them and understanding how they fit into businesses. This has given me an amazingly unique perspective on the world especially when it comes to business.  

I am confident I know what people want now.  

With a baby and wife, my goals had changed. What I had been planning for ten years time, needed to happen today. My main goal as always is to an inspiration for them both. We want to travel, help others, build cool things and make the world a better place

I want to channel my entrepreneurial skills to build businesses that are ethical and disruptive.  

My Ikigai Is not as an recruiter but as something else.  

I am not sure exactly what yet but I believe that I will find it on this road.

One thought

  1. Caro Ramonde – My first praised paint was at Kindergarten, I won a contest, and so the adventure has begun. Lifelong designer in all the forms: Art, Interior Designer, Fashion Designer, Garden Designer, Sculpture, Computer Designer. I studied in my hometown Montevideo, Uruguay also in Brazil, Italy, Argentina, México. Oil Painting is my favorite element. I was always shy to show my art, now overcoming artistic fears I’ve created this site. All the best, Caro
    Caro Ramonde says:

    It was interesting to know more about you, your life that is what makes you unique.
    Best wishes for finding your Ikigai path Tris.

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