Another former blog was The Recruiting Edge written by me and Maureen Sharib – we pushed out over 1,600 posts between 12.06.2005 and 4.11.2009. This one was from 1.18.2006 and was written around the notion that if we stop taking risks we stop living – the lesson applies to business leaders, talent acquisition folks, hiring managers, and jobseekers.
I haven’t bothered to check the hyperlinks – since it’s safe to assume that many links from the past will produce a 404. For those who have forgotten – or never knew – the Canadian Headhunter is now the beloved Recruiting Animal…
Canadian Headhunter, over on recruiting.com, brings up an extremely interesting subject today – he points out that those of us in the recruiting industry, by our very natures, must be risk-takers. The Edge concurs with him that some of us are, absolutely, this way, but that there are many more of us mired in the goo of convention that can’t get out of our own ways.
“Americans used to roar like lions for liberty. Now we bleat like sheep for security.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
CH points us to, love him or hate him, the critic, commentator and novelist John Derbyshire and one of his articles written for the National Review. One of Derbyshire’s paragraphs follows, “… a world without risk will be colorless and tame…economically and culturally stagnant. Businesses hedged about with risk-reducing regulations and watched over by eagle-eyed trial lawyers will not innovate. A coddled, supervised, feminized, disarmed populace will create nothing of value and will live to no purpose — and will be dimly aware that it lives to no purpose. Brian Aldiss wrote a story about a smug, safe, bourgeois world of the future that found it necessary to license a small number of deviants to shock and smash and pillage, just to re-introduce some necessary randomness. Perhaps we shall come to that. Most of what the human race has achieved was done against the odds. Do we really want to drive risk out of our lives? And if we do, will it, as Horace said of nature, somehow find a way back in?”
The Edge concurs, CH, risk is what drives us; particularly those of us who skate out every day on the thin ice of the social norms. But are we the exception? In our heart of hearts, doesn’t the thrill of mayhem capture our attention? Hearts that beat at one pace sometimes feel they hardly beat at all. People worry about the Chinese taking over the world – why worry about a segment of the population whose creativity is muzzled by a government’s policies? There’s a fatal flaw at work there – paranoia will destroy ya’! But then, there’s this familiar and strangely ominous rumbling.
This aversion to risk that is so vehemently preached by some carries extreme danger, Will Robinson, extreme danger! It’s what allows corporate HR to handicap its own staffing departments; it delivers a moribund patient that seldom recovers. It discourages creativity and hobbles, with its harnesses, progress. It many times calls for the likes of us, deviants, if you will, that are willing to shock and smash and pillage, to do the work they have not the nerve to attempt. Marginalize us all you want, we’re not going gently into that good night.
Rogues, libertarians, outlaws, poets and geniuses before us have remarked:
Pablo Picasso (Rogue): I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Poet): In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.
Susan B. Anthony (Libertarian): Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.
Andre Gide (Outlaw): One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
Annie Dillard (Genius): If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be too cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.