Michele Bloomfield, our Senior Sales Manager, talked to Juliet about why she feels guilty in the current crisis, and how she’s staying positive by looking to the future.
With a 30-year career in recruitment, Michele has weathered a few storms when it comes to the workplace, although none quite like this one. After the financial crash of 2008 Michele stayed for a further eight years in the city but the recruitment industry had changed irreversibly so it was time to for a career change. In 2016 Michele hotfooted it out of the City to find a job that enabled her to work flexibly with purpose and meaning, on her own terms and to do what she excels at – building relationships and closing business. So how is Michele getting on in lockdown with her partner Richard?
Michele’s COVID-19 moment
We all have one and at least one! Michele says: “Mine was last week, in week three, when I thought sh*t I am in my mid-50s and I still need to earn money; I need to sell my house and right now I can’t. My role is 100% business development – asking companies about investing in recruitment is not something you ask in the third week of lockdown. I feel slightly useless if I am being completely honest as the marketing and operations side of the business is busy creating an amazing webinar series. So, having cleaned the flat (again!), I gave myself a good talking to and reminded myself that I am one of the fortunate ones”.
Michele doesn’t have any children but she does have her 83-year-old father, who, due to stress fractures in his back, had his first stint in hospital right at the beginning of lockdown! Sod's law... With her brother living in Texas it fell to Michele to try and sort everything out – not an easy task.
“Dad was in and out of hospital for a couple of weeks – in great pain and virtually immobile. The hospital did not want him there, for obvious reasons, once they had made him relatively comfortable, but would not discharge him without a home care package. This involved me ringing all the private care firms in the area to see who had capacity and also to see who would take him on. They were all nervous in case he had the virus but the hospital would not swab him as he showed no symptoms - a vicious circle but we got there in the end. He is now home and recovering but it has been a worrying time. He is very lonely and miserable as he can’t get out and about so it’s a case of regular phone contact and rallying his neighbours to help out as I can’t be with him. I live two hours’ drive away on a good day!”
Trying to find purpose
Michele worked crazy hours in her fast-paced life in the City, but after she decided to leave all that behind, she took up yoga and running, and was determined to find herself again after losing herself to the corporate world. Then last year she found the perfect work life integration when she joined 2to3days. As Michele says “I get to integrate my work and life together on terms that work for me. I help companies find great talent, something I have done for 30 years. However, the talent I help them find are the women that companies let go when they will not compromise to enable these women to combine motherhood and family with work.”
As a result of the lockdown and the work slowdown, Michele has commandeered the spare bedroom as her office and Richard has based himself at the kitchen table. “We text each other to agree when to break for a coffee or to schedule our daily run along the Thames.” In between runs, Michele is busy staying connected with her contacts on LinkedIn and supporting our internal marketing efforts as well as joining external webinars and learning from industry leaders about recruitment and diversity initiatives across the market and current impact of COVID -19.
When I see how hard everyone is working in the NHS and all the other essential services, and how my partner, who runs a global sales team, is working harder and longer hours than ever before, my guilty secret is that the virus hasn’t hugely impacted the way we both live our lives and I feel very lucky. I miss going for a cheeky beer after work with Richard when we chew the fat and reflect on the day, and I also miss hanging out with Richard’s boys but quite frankly I am truly blessed and having to only worry about when I can next get to the hairdressers really is a first world problem!
Looking to the future
I feel hugely positive about the future growth of 2to3days. From gazing into my crystal ball, I predict that more recruitment will go in-house, and these recruiters will be looking to niche companies to give them a quick, affordable recruitment solution without compromising on the quality of talent. That is the 2to3days business model to a T! COVID- 19's legacy, I believe, will be proving that flexible working can and does work.