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Career Conversations with Angie Bates
Episode 289Bonus Episode2nd January 2023 • The Traveling Introvert • The Career Introvert
00:00:00 00:22:59

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This is a bonus episode for national introvert day

Introversion


These are the kind of people who are more comfortable alone

or in a room of people who are hardly interacting with each other. As for

Angela, she might be an Ambivert which is a person who has a balance of both

introvert and extrovert. This highly depends on the circumstance or setting.

Job Recruitment


HR professionals have more to them than what we see. They

have to make decisions for the company and keep the company alive from the

sidelines. There is a misconception that HR is just for recruiting and protecting

the company.

In a company, the HR manager should be able to make

decisions based on the information got from both the company's side and the

worker's side. This is very important since in some cases there are wrongful

terminations.

Habits


Regular habits are very important in a person's life. Some

habits are hard to break but others are not even worth breaking. These habits

are the ones that help us in life, may it be meditation, reading, and more.

These habits will one way or another define who we are in life.

Angie can be found on LinkedIn at

linkedin.com/in/-angelabates.

Transcripts

[:

Hello and welcome to another episode of The Traveling Introvert. But today, we are going to do a segment that is Career Conversations, where we talk to people from all around the world in all different types of careers, experts, introverts, ambiverts and anything in between about their career and life in general. Today, I am super excited to talk to Angela Bates. She is the CEO, co-founder, brains behind Zennovative. I'm going to get this wrong, so I'm going to do this again. Zennovative Recruiting and Content Writing Agency. What the statement is, is in an ever evolving and unwavering passion for empowering diverse individuals as they accelerate to new heights is the motivation behind this entrepreneur's boutique, HR consulting and recruitment agency, Zennovative Recruiting and the Content Writing Agency, TheWriteCEO, Angie, welcome to the show.

[:

Thank you. Thank you so much. That was quite the introduction. Thank you.

[:

You are very welcome. So, this is not one of those podcasts where we do a lot of fluff. So, my first question to you is, do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert?

[:

Ah, you know what, this is a tricky question for me. I'm gonna be on the fence and say that I'm actually a little bit of both. I'll say that at times when my determination to make something happens takes over, I can be a bit all over the place as far as the networking, reaching out to people. And during those times, I would say that I am most definitely an extrovert. I don't need a stranger during those times. And then on the flip side, at other times, just leave me alone. Let me sit in my home office, work behind the scenes. So, during those times, I would definitely say that I'm a bit introverted. So, I'm a little bit of both, if that can be a theme.

[:

Which leads me to my next question then. In your mind, what does introversion mean to you?

[:

So, to me, I would say if I were to describe myself as an introvert, I would say that usually I work best alone. My most creative, my most innovative ideas come when I have time alone. I don't have any outside noise, be it on the telephone. In a traditional office setting, I have not really solitude, but I have quiet time to think and process. So, to me, you know introverted, doesn't so much have to do with the ability to interact with people. I heard someone say last week, introverted means that you're super shy, you can't deal with other people. And I've never viewed it as that. For me, I can speak from my perspective. It really is just me being at my best self at times when I am able to be alone.

[:

Wow, great. Thank you. And with that, we mentioned that you have two businesses because one is just not enough. So, let's start with the recruiting business. In your industry, can you tell me about a misconception that people have about it? And the reason I asked is because people are job hunting at any given time, and there are a lot of feelings and emotions that come around when people think about job hunting and dealing with recruiters. And so, it can lead to negative feelings or just general frustration. So, I'd love to know, from your point of view, what is a misconception about your job and or industry?

[:

Absolutely. Well, speaking from the side of innovative recruiting, we focus on recruitment and HR consulting. And when I say that, I always get a reaction. People tend to think of HR as an easy gig, meaning that HR professionals, they talk to a few people, make them an offer. That's usually not what the candidate would like to have, and that's it. You know if they're working in, let's say, a traditional office setting, they rarely see HR. They don't see much of an impact on HR in their day-to-day job. But you know, I usually explain to people there's so much more that goes on behind the scenes that most people aren't aware of. The way their companies are structured, the way teams are formed, the succession plans, performance evaluations, compensation strategies, opportunities to learn, train, and grow within your role in a particular company. That's all a tedious process that takes a lot of effort, and it's done by your human resources department.

[:

Yeah, okay, I've heard that. I've also heard the HR is just there to protect the company. That's also a line that gets thrown around a lot. But with it also, I think there's a misconception that HR is just recruiting, and you've kind of alluded to that with all the other things that HR does that people just might not know or understand. And so, with that, right now you have these two businesses. What was your first job?

[:

Oh, wow, my very first job. I'm dating myself, but it was about 23 years ago, and this was my first corporate job. So, you know, I'll speak on that. It was working as a customer service representative for a very large insurance company, a health insurance company, and the company ended up buying a financial sector. So, it became kind of a dual role. But that job, that was wow. You know, I took numerous calls from disgruntled providers at physicians’ offices, from angry members of the plan. Let's say a claim wasn't paid or a particular participant needed a particular service done and the copay was extreme, or they couldn't find a physician in the network. I mean, there were just so many different scenarios that happened within the space of a day. It was a very intense, very fast paced job. It allowed me to see parts of myself that I did not know existed. And I would say, honestly, when I got that job, I never thought I could do it. You know I thought, wow, talking to people I don't know. And I was very young. I was in my early twenties. So, the idea of talking to people, even over the phone, that I didn't know, that was the scariest thing in the world for me.

[:

But I did it. You know and that was when I learned to talk to different people. One call may have been from a physician. The next call may have been from a young mom who couldn't get a prescription filled for her sick child. So, it gave me variance in how I was able to communicate with different people. So definitely a valuable skill set, although you know, it was very, very, very stressful. And I'll admit at that time I had been brought in by HR. They were having a mass hiring event, so I was just kind of herded in as part of a large group of customer service reps. It was probably 50 of us. Not all 50 of us made it through the intensive training. But my impression of HR was actually formed then, you know when I would go to HR with questions, they just weren't available. They weren't even in the office a lot of the time. So, when I get certain reactions from people related to HR and the recruiting team, I can relate, definitely.

[:

Oh, okay. Because then I was going to be, my next question is going to be, so how did you see yourself from that thing to where you are now? But I can see a thread there. And you mentioned talking, you mentioned you didn't think that you could do the job, but you went and did it anyway. Was that a mindset thing or was it you needed the money? What actually made you go, I'm still going to go ahead and do this?

[:

It was most definitely a mindset thing. I was young, in my early twenty’s. I was a young mom, so I had a young child at home. I was actually pregnant with him when I started the job. So, the very thought I remember sitting in line at McDonald's one day and thinking, one day I'm not just going to buy a Happy Meal for me, I will have to buy a Happy Meal for a child. So, I need to make sure I have a job that can accommodate two Happy Meals. I went to a store and started pricing clothing and just when those thoughts would creep up, wow, this job is a lot. This was my first corporate eight to five job with a scheduled lunch break, and I had never been used to that type of structure. I'd had different little retail jobs off and on through high school, but nothing like this. So, when I got the job, found out I was expecting, my mind gave me no other option but to go in there and succeed. So, I did.

[:

Okay, so the part I like most about that story is the fact that you buy Happy Meals for yourself. Please tell me you still buy Happy Meals for yourself.

[:

I have one. What's today? I had one two days ago with the chocolate shake with no whip.

[:

Okay. that is awesome. I'm also a huge fan of the Happy Meals, mainly for the toys. It's actually I will go ahead and be like, so, which toy, I know, marvel thing or which thing is out right now that I can get a toy for, but it brings me great joy that someone else buys Happy Meals. This is making me skip to another question now because we're on the topic of food, and so I have a question for you. Is a hot dog a sandwich?

[:

Yes, it is. It's a piece of meat between two, well, it's a piece of meat on bread. That's the definition of a sandwich.

[:

I like the way you were like it's two pieces, and then kind of stopped. It was like, no way.

[:

I did that because as a kid, I used to eat hot dogs in between bread, so we didn't always have hot dog buns. So, it's absolutely a sandwich. Yes.

[:

Okay. I love that thought process behind it. Okay, thank you. That was great. I guess I got to go back to the work stuff. We've talked about sort of recruiting and what people think and how you've pushed yourself, because you seem to be that kind of a person that pushes themselves regardless. So, then my question for you is, what is the scariest thing you've ever had to do at work?

[:

Oh, my goodness. I can tell you. It was, I had actually gotten my very first opportunity to work in HR as an HR coordinator for a very large insurance company. And I had a great boss at the time. I was getting my degree in business administration with a concentration in HR. So, any opportunity to learn and take some things off of her plate, she gave me that opportunity. So, we had a bit of a situation among the team, and at the same time, the company overall was restructuring. So, the HR leaders, you know they had a meeting. They looked at budgets. They looked at the goal where the company wanted to go in the coming quarter. They looked at performance evaluations, who were the top performers, who were making less of an impact. It just so happened that one of the people who was making the least amount of impact on the team was also a bit of a troublemaker. So that meant we had to kind of, you know, make a case and put the person on a performance plan, you know be fair and equitable and all of that. And then we kind of knew, should the person not exceed the expectations, lay it out in this performance plan, the end result will be termination.

[:

Well, it did get to the point of termination, and it coincided with the point in which the person I reported to was out of the office for an extended amount of time. So that meant that when the person was let go, when security came in and escorted the person out, the badge had to be deactivated with the parking garage attendant. When all of that happened, I was the person that this individual saw. And so, I faced the brunt of it. And at first, you know this individual was very hostile, very angry. Even though there had been a performance evaluation, it was still kind of unexpected. So, you know, I just, I tried to diffuse the situation. I always try to see things from the other person's viewpoint. And she said something to me, that what doing that was hard. But when she said something to me, that just crushed me, and it made me think about her for days on end. And from there, I learned to implement different strategies. But she looked at me and she grabbed me, and at that point, security was right there, like, wait a minute. But she grabbed my arm. I said it's okay. And she looked at me and started crying and said, “I am 68 years old.

[:

What am I going to do?” And that is like everything that had happened before then I understood it. She is 68. So, when we were implementing new processes and new systems, maybe that was a bit much for her. And what we saw as, oh, she's underperforming this was a lot you know. And being the fact that she's 68, where will she go after this? This had been her career. She had been with the company for over 20 years. So, at this point, she is, you know just so upset that what we thought was her being angry, was really her feeling hopeless and, you know oh, my goodness, what am I going to do? So, needless to say, I did kind of keep in touch with her, I should not have. But I sent her information, I had friends in the industry. I would ask them her email and say, “Hey, email this person. Maybe there's something they can help you with.” And she did end up finding something else. It wasn't the same salary, the same benefits, but it was something. But that experience just changed everything. It changed the way even I looked at HR, and it made me more of an HR professional who was protecting the employee, not just looking at the employer side of things.

[:

Because essentially, in human resources, a part of what we do, we're marketing the company, we're making it attractive, we're making sure it runs smoothly, that we have the right team members in place, the right structure, the right training programs in place. But part of that is making sure we're taking care of the team. And so that just gave me more of a passion to bring in the right talent, make sure it's a good mix that is mutually beneficial, but to take better care of the team. And with that, like I said, from then on, I was able to speak with the HR manager, say, “Hey, I don't think we did the right thing here. We did for a chance. I mean, did we stop to think that maybe this was a bit much for her to learn.” And you know, the HR manager said, “Yeah, you're right, but it's too late.”

[:

Yeah, it seems like there wasn't a culture of curiosity or caring or just asking and communicating. Sort of like, “Hey, so is there a reason why this and this” I mean, the manager, for example, “Is there a reason why X, Y and Z or how do you feel about they didn't seem to be, from what you're telling me, a culture of support and curiosity and care? And I can see how that could light a fire under someone to make sure that never happens again.

[:

Exactly, exactly.

[:

Wow, that's a great, great story. And so, something that I have a firm believe in, and a lot of my listeners do as well, is creating habits. And I know sticking to them can sometimes be hard, but is there something that you do on a semi regular or regular basis that has improved or changed your career in business in the past, let's say, two years? Because we know what the last two years have been like.

[:

Ah, you know, I have developed a habit that has stuck with me. And actually, right as the pandemic was starting, you know that was a very stressful time. So you know, everyone was all over the place. People were transitioning from being in the office to working from home and all of the struggles that came with that. But I was in a leadership position at the time, very stressed. And I remember telling my manager at the time, I don't think I can do this, you know. And she said, “Well, what do you mean? You have to do it. We have to have you.” And so, she signed me up for meditation classes. They were biweekly. It was something that was voluntary you know. At first, I did not like it, I must admit. But from there, I did develop a habit to every morning, no matter what, no matter what's on my plate. I start the day, just you know, introspective, quiet, reflective mood. I've since bought a journal. I love all things literary, writing, reading, so I'll read inspirational passages, scriptures. I'll think about things, moments of gratitude, and then I think about what I want to happen in the course of the day and every single day.

[:

I have done that before I actually start my workday. And it makes such a difference.

[:

Wow okay, thank you. Thank you so very, very much. It has been insightful listening to you and talking to you today. Can you please let my wonderful listeners know where they can find you should they wish to reach out?

[:

Absolutely. I am usually easiest to find on LinkedIn. I do quite a bit of interacting there, so that would be linkedin.com/in/-angelabates.

[:

Thank you very much. Thank you for being here and have a great rest of your week.

[:

Thank you. It was a pleasure to be here. Thank you.

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