If I told you that, to start smartdept. inc., my partner (in life and business) and I saved our seed money by downsizing, living on $25 per week for groceries (for an entire year), moving to a different state to avoid contractual issues with a previous employer, leased an office (site unseen) for $190 per month, lived in a relatives basement to save on expenses, didn’t secure funding from a bank, and went all-in on our little idea 3 months after 911 in the middle of a recession without a single client or candidate…

Would you say we qualify as “outside of the box” thinkers? Or are we risk-takers? Perhaps you prefer idiots?

When I started writing this blog, I began by jotting down a few ways our business has operated differently than some of our contemporaries. I don’t know, I’m thinking. Should I do something that gets straight to the point, like a David Letterman Top 10 list? Populated with quirky examples like buying equipment for a candidate so they could fulfill an assignment. Or rolling up our sleeves to help a candidate move so she could do a scheduled interview. That’s pretty out of the box! How about driving a candidate to an interview when their car broke down, consoling someone after a tough day, or taking time on Saturday or Sunday to make sure someone is prepared for their interview on Monday?

It was then suggested to me that these are examples of being kind. Better illustrating compassion, which is not necessarily out of the box. Kind-a, I reluctantly agreed.

Okay! Maybe let’s focus on some other areas that deserve consideration. Like having an open dialog with clients, candidates, and co-workers leading to refined processes. How about taking a consultative approach and positioning ourselves as your own personal expert on the subject of employment and our niche? Would you like us to sit in on your team meeting to help shape a process, give input on who would work best together, or assist in establishing a workflow schedule? All you need to do is ask. How about just keeping it simple? All of our recruiters are cross-trained, work on, and are compensated for all open opportunities. Our clients enjoy one point of contact to keep them in the loop, and the owners actively manage the process. So we always know what’s happening with you.

That’s some creative thinking, right there! Wouldn’t you agree? But is that out of the box?

Surely we’ve exercised our OOTBT (that’s how the kids would say it) during the Pandemic! Over the last 18 wild and crazy months, we’ve reestablished our identity, received certification from the WBENC as a Women Business Enterprise, updated our website and marketing materials, re-invested in streamlining our internal processes, added staff, and adapted to remote work for both internal employees and the candidates/clients we represent. To keep our growing team engaged, we’ve made an effort to teach them new skills outside of their jobs descriptions, done Zoom parties, and sent gifts to remind them that we see them (even if we can’t see them). Most recently, we helped one of our teammates forced by the Pandemic into being the primary caregiver by adapting to her reduced availability and offering her a new role that made sense for her new situation.

Out of the box or not, we do what you have to do (I’m sure you’d do the same).

It seems like the more I write about it, the more I realize that thinking outside of the box is another way of emphasizing change. Maybe we are not thinking outside of this elusive imaginary box, after all. Perhaps we are throwing it in the trash and getting a new one. Or better yet, there is no box! Possibly being a risk-taker, a creative thinker, having compassion for others, and doing what needs to be done are common traits relative to success. I bet if you put your space helmet on, you could think of a few high-profile examples of people who exhibit these traits. In the end, I think it’s safe to say nobody from smartdept. inc. is going to space anytime soon. And now that we’ve got the imaginary box makers all up in arms, we won’t be invited, in or out, of any imaginary boxes, and our pantomime careers are over.

But hey, if you’re looking to engage with compassionate people who prompt change by employing creative solutions to do what needs to be done, then we’re for you! Email us today!