Why I Like the Color Orange

Welcome to WILCO,

I know there are lots of personal blogs out there that try to impress and deliver content just for the sake of putting something out there. This blog isn't like that. I won't try to impress you because I have no need to impress you. This is a place where I say my peace whether that opinion is popular or not. Having said that, feel free to read and chime in. I expect your responses, however, to be respectful, engaging, and thoughtful both to me and to others.

Thank you and God bless,
Sung

3.23.2010

Asian Women and the Plastic Surgery Epidemic

I read something on a blog that says some 71% of all women in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and other East Asian women have at least one plastic surgery procedure performed on them by the time they're 30 years of age.

I'm a (nearly) 40 year old Korean man who is married to a Korean woman who I met in New York while I lived there. To me, she was not only the most beautiful girl in Queens, she's the most beautiful woman in the world! (literally bar none) I now have two daughters and I think they're stunningly beautiful (like their mother). My wife has never had a lick of plastic surgery of ANY kind and I'm very proud of that. Even she feels she needs some "work done" but I think she's perfect as is. I keep telling her that too and while she agrees with me, there's a little part of her that would like a "correction".

Asian women, when will you realize that you are already beautiful jewels? When you have a beautiful gem or a diamond, you don't go messing with it to try and make it "more perfect"...it's already perfect to the people who love you (and to the man who will ultimately love you as a wife). Don't change yourselves or be something you're not. You can glance over the shallowness for a little while but at some point, it will start to eat you alive.

Embrace what God has given you and know that there's a man out there who wants the REAL you...and not a Westernized (bastardized) version of you. Remember, it doesn't matter how beautiful you are on the outside if you're shallow on the inside.

Go with God and love yourself.

3.09.2010

Reflections: Men's Retreat at Diamond Arrow Christian Conference Center (March 5-6, 2010)

As men, sometimes we don't always do such a great job in communicating our thoughts. Sometimes we bottle them up and keep them inside of us rather than express how we feel because "that's not manly" or "it's just not cool" to do something like that. I used to think that too....until this weekend. I also thought I was a great husband and father (and son and brother) until this weekend too.

You see, this weekend, my pastor (Pastor John Conley) of Cornerstone Community Church in Redding, CA was gracious enough to have invited me to what I consider to be, the THIRD MOST monumental day of my life (getting married and the birth of my two little ones are the first two). This weekend's Men's Retreat at Diamond Arrow (Church of God Campground in Nevada City) was the biggest jolt to my soul. It completely negated everything I thought I knew about being a real Christian man and turned it upside down on its head. To tell you the truth, for the most part, I learned that I've not been ideal in pretty much any capacity of my life and I'm glad I went on this retreat because I was with 128 of my Brothers and I learned so much. It felt good to be in the company of other men who understand what it feels like to have the pressures of marriage and raising a family and taking care of loved ones. It felt good to hug a complete stranger, look him in the eye and tell him with 100% sincerity, "I love you Brother". This is the type of love that Jesus wanted us to have for our fellow Christian Brothers: pure, loving, kind and true. I learned a tremendous amount but I'll just give you some of the highlights....

Pastor Steve Chiles from Oklahoma was the keynote speaker and we also broke out into breakout groups (small groups of 10 men). Anyway, I learned (and realized) that my mother, my wife, and pretty much everybody else in my life walk on eggshells around me. I learned that people are constantly checking to see if "I'm alright" or "does he look mad?". The people that I love in this world have to walk on eggshells around me because of my temper and my hotheadedness. Do you realize how awful that made me feel when the visiting pastor who spoke asked the question..."Do you know...I mean do you REALLY realize how much you doing that to your family breaks Jesus' heart?" You know, speaking about things like this, is something he called "engaging the 10%". We, as human beings, feel comfortable dealing with the 90% of things out there that are easy to talk about: work, school, chores, shopping, etc. We would all be mortified if we had an opportunity to sit down with a friend to tell him, "Hey, I love you man and I think you have a problem with your drinking" or "Hey, Brother....I know how hard it must be but I know that you're addicted to porn" or anything like that. That's uncomfortable!!! Nobody wants to do that. But in order for us to beat the Enemy, we have to address it. And I'm addressing mine. My need to get off of the "me" attitude and pretending that I haven't been focused on myself more than anyone else in this world.

I also learned that my life is my responsibility. It isn't my wife's or my mother's or my brother's or even the crappy relationship I have with my father. No one is to be given blame or credit for what I have done or the decisions I have made except me. God will judge me based on that...not on whether or not I'm good at playing the blame game.

Lastly, I learned that "Gentleness is not a weakness. Gentleness is strength well contained." Men are sometimes afraid to be gentle because it might make people see them differently or of the perception that they're not manly. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our Lord Jesus didn't have to yell at people to follow Him. He didn't have to yell at the Apostles and scream and raise his voice and have a temper (although He did once when he saw the moneychangers in the temple). Jesus (our Savior...Our Holy God in the Flesh) was gentle. In fact, one of the first things He did as a teacher and preacher was what? He healed. He walked into villages and made the blind man see, the lame man walk, cured leprosy and all manner of diseases. Why? Because He's Jesus, Son of God and who is God the Most High who came to earth for us. He loves us so why would he need to yell and curse and lose his temper when it's not necessary? So instead of thinking it's not manly enough when you're gentle, I now model myself after our Risen Messiah so that I may be more like Him. It will be a long road but I'm trying to learn the art of being bold without being rude. Hurting someone you love doesn't make you more of a man. It's just that much more of you that the Enemy has gotten a hold of.

The program ended with great worship songs, grown men swaying in their seats and in their aisles to songs that didn't tug at our hearts, they lifted them up. And finally the Pastor said "You will take two steps out of this room and the Enemy will start to attack you. Don't give him an inch to work with. Now come on up and get your armor...I've brought my oil and I'm going to anoint each man here and we're going to be victorious in the Lord" and we all went up and he drew the cross symbol on our foreheads with that oil and said a quick prayer for us. I went up too but I couldn't help but go up and with tears in my eyes I hugged Pastor Steve and we embraced. And tears came out that I had been storing up for years. And I tried to take my seat again but before I could find it, another man came out of his seat and hugged me and said I love you Brother and as I finally sat down, Pastor John tousled my hair and said I'm proud of you Sung.. I love you Brother" and then I just lost it. I wept for awhile like that until I looked around and saw that the guy next to me who I didn't know was crying like that too and I put my arm around him and we cried together. I looked up again and saw that every man, all 130 men in that room were crying and realizing how they've been in their lives. And how they couldn't do this without Jesus. And in that instant, the room became filled with The Holy Spirit and the Lord's army became 130 men stronger.

That's how my weekend went. I came back on Sunday to give my testimonial to my church and everyone sat there wide-eyed as I told him how everything I thought was true about myself turned upside down. How MY definition of being a good husband, good father, good son, good brother and good friend were completely inaccurate. And how I needed to make things right in order for me to truly be someone that Christ would be proud of. And I've started on that road. It won't be easy. But I'm committed to living the way that Our Savior wants us to live. No more excuses. No more anything. Just living with everyone around me knowing that they don't have to walk on eggshells anymore.

I literally saw and felt the Holy Spirit move in myself and in others this weekend. God's love is so real. It's so real and so limitless and so pure and good. And I want to share this special experience with you. More importantly, let this be a portent of what things will be like moving forward. Now, let me be honest. I might mess up sometimes because I'm not perfect. That's why we still need a Savior. But I will be trying with everything that I am, to be someone that not only my family is proud of but that our Risen King, Jesus Christ can look upon and say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant".

3.01.2010

How to Work for a Boss that Doesn't Know Recruiting

It's not really a secret that I believe that "corporate HR" and "Recruiting" should be two separate departments, neither one reporting into one another but rather facilitating each others' needs as distinctively individual units. It's not been the first time I've said it or blogged about it since it's always been my professional stance. Simply put, the "traditional HR" person just doesn't get it. Are there exceptions to this postulate of mine? Sure there are. But as a general rule, usually what I have found is that HR "generalists" (meaning people with backgrounds in all of the traditional HR sub-disciplines not the title "HR Generalist") tend to be very light in knowledge, understanding and certainly appreciation for the world of Recruiting. Again, this has been my experience and I base this on no empirical evidence but rather situational observations over the years.

I believe the frustration lies in a breakdown of communication. For example, while I am a big fan of metrics for the purpose of status updates and providing analytics on weekly, monthly or even yearly progress, I have always been skittish about using reports to "crow" about my recent achievements. The mindset of HR tends to be "hit 'em over
their heads with good news" at times but I'd rather use that valuable time (and effort) in finding more qualified candidates, redesigning recruitment strategy or just about anything else for that matter. The over-emphasis on metrics is definitely a characteristic of nearly all of the traditional HR bosses I've had. I call it the three P's (Posturing, Positioning, and Placing Blame on Others) but you can sum it up with just one "P": Politics.

A sizeable majority of corporate recruiters now have at least some third-party experience. Melding the often cavalier and cowboy-world experience of third-party recruiting with the traditional HR mindset is often difficult, frustrating and sometimes a disaster in the making. Let me give you an example. I have always done better in environments that allowed me to be creative in my recruiting efforts, in the way I partner with my internal (or external) clients, and how I basically put in an honest day's work. When I worked for dot-coms where I was given free reign in a less structured setting, I typically did much better than in the jobs or contract assignments where I had policies and procedures coming out of every human orifice.

So what do you do about this? How can you handle/manage/mitigate this deep and wide chasm between the jet-set style of Recruiting and the linear/structured world of HR? Well, part of it has to do with communicating expectations with your boss from the onset. This actually starts right when you're interviewing for a job. If you're not a numbers person, don't tell your prospective boss that you're all about metrics. If you're overly laid back, don't tell your future boss that you believe in "centralizing the recruiting process" and acting as gatekeeper, judge and jury. It's common sense but you would be surprised by how many people just aren't honest with themselves.

Secondly, protect your backside once you start a new job. Document everything that you do short of telling him/her how many squares of toilet paper you used that day. Remember to not only keep a detailed report to hand in weekly to your boss (and internal clients) but also a management-style report that captures a snapshot of weekly activity as well. This also comes in handy in ad hoc situations when your boss might ask for something like that to give to the CEO/President.

Thirdly, define yourself and your work. Explain to your new boss (or not-so-new boss) exactly what it is that you do all day. Create a pie chart explaining what percentage of your time is spent doing what and look for areas of performance AND process improvement constantly. While many senior HR folks (Director, VP, SVP, etc.) think they have a "recruiting background", the fact of the matter is that the extent of recruiting they did probably entailed putting an ad in the newspaper "back in the day". That's not recruiting. Never has been, never will be. So make sure you spell it out for your traditional HR generalist-style boss what it actually entails to hire or recruit for the more difficult-to-fill openings. Get him/her to understand that their limited understanding isn't how it really is but obviously do so in a way that is didactic and disarming in nature.

Lastly, remember that this is a team effort. You might be the maverick but until Recruiting is a separate department from HR in every organization nationwide (which will probably never happen because of HR's reach), you will have to realize that you are only one cog in the wheel (albeit a significant one). Everyone on the team has a hand in identifying, interviewing, selecting or onboarding the candidates that will be employees for your organization. Acknowledge others and give credit freely, stand your ground when you need to, and make sure that you always have your ducks in a row with your data. Then working for a boss that doesn't know recruiting might not be such a disadvantage to you. In fact, it might be the perfect scenario of "managing up"!

Happy Recruiting!


Sung N. Kim is Managing Partner & CEO for Servane Cross, Inc. Servane Cross is a premiere executive search firm specializing in recruiting middle to senior healthcare administrators and management. In addition to his healthcare recruiting expertise, he also is the Chief Training Consultant for StrongRecruiter.com, a website dedicated for recruiter training and development. Sung also has a regular blog on ERE entitled, "The Life and Times of a Healthcare Recruiter".

Sung can be contacted via e-mail at sung@servanecross.com. Servane Cross, Inc.'s website is http://www.ServaneCross.com.