Conversations I Need To Have…

I have been running my own company since 2017. I remember how worried I was and how badly I wanted a partner to do it with me. Back then, it was my ex that I thought would be in it with me but, he hated commitment and he talked me into doing it by myself. So, that was how I became the solo Founder/CEO/Director/Business Owner. I’ve definitely learned, struggled and succeeded by myself through the years. Doing it all alone is definitely not easy as you are both the Boss and also the Worker plus you have to deal and handle everything from A to Z of the business but, that being said; when things don’t workout, you learn from it and you only have your own to reflect or blame for it. Though when you succeed, the taste of victory never tasted so good.

I’m starting to look at my life and realized that since I was young, I was taught to be independent from a very young age. Many might say, “That can’t be true since you’re the only child. Am sure your parents spoilt you rotten…” Reality with the Yip-Atkinson upbringing was, if you wanted something you’ll have to earn it. We’re not going to just give it to you. My parents worked hard themselves to build what they have today – the properties, the cars and the lifestyle. I’m thankful that my parents taught me the meaning of the word, “No”. That was a word that I heard often growing up. When I asked for my first pair of Black Basketball LA Gears with Red LED light at the heel. They flash with each step you take. I remember I waited really long to get that pair of kicks when I was 8. I also remembered that I had to make sure I got straight A’s and behaved well for a really long period but, when my parents finally got them for me, Boy!! I was over the moon and I cherished every step that I took in them.

I truly owe a lot to my parents. The love and patience they had with me growing up. I wasn’t crazy naughty or a trouble maker and I definitely was a good student in school that got good grades and was athletic as I enjoyed playing sports but, that being said I did go through the famous rebellious stage during my teenage years. I remember how I just didn’t want to be in photos and if I was, I’d be displaying RBF (Resting Bitch Face).

If I could turn back time or visit Young Valerie, what would I tell her? I think I would say this, “Life will get better with time. You will work in many companies but, the role that taught you the most and groomed you the most would be the role you had as A Business Development Executive/PA to your Director. That would be the most stressful job you’ll ever experience but, you also learned the most with all the projects and responsibilities that your director put on your shoulders. That being said, if it’s possible to change your career path, you should get into Recruitment once you graduate from College as you’ll make tonnes of money from it compared to the rest of the jobs. Also, control your shopping habit and safe more money and invest your money wisely. You will meet many interesting people along the way and you will get your heartbroken countless times. It may hurt a lot when it happens especially the break up that happened in 2013 that took the longest to get over and heal. 5 years to be exact but, that’s alright because it only meant that you were truly inlove and that it mattered. Because of that, you turned into a workaholic to mend and guard your heart. You will meet someone great in 2018 and it would feel like he’s your soulmate. You will later get engaged and married but, you will not get the happy ending you always wanted. He will break your heart and shatter your dreams but, you will not hate or blame him because he gave you happiness once and also because he proved to you that someone wanted you to be their wife and he also gave Mom the opportunity to see you get married in 2019 before she got really sick in 2020. 2020 will be tough for everyone because a pandemic would hit the world. Mom’s health will start deteriorating in mid 2020 because her cancer would have spread rapidly and she would lose the battle she fought so hard for 5 years. To prevent this from happening, make sure Mom gets her yearly check ups and screen for cancer in 2013/2014, You might be able to change the course of her history and safe her because losing her in December 2020 will leave you devastated and ever so lonely than you already are. The pandemic will still be around in 2021 and life would be very different from what you’re used to now but, you will meet many new people this year and you’ll learn who’s your true, real friends when you need them the most. You might eventually meet someone special to. Just don’t overthink things and just go with the flow. You’re such a thinker Dear Valerie that sometimes you worry over nothing. You will be okay at the end of the day. You have to be because you are Valerie Atkinson!!…”

XoXo, VA

My Experience as A Head Hunter…

I woke up at 6.45am Monday to Friday excited to get ready for work. I would be planning what I would be doing once I get into the office about 7.50am before everyone else. Official working hours was 8.30am till 6pm.

I would unlock the office doors and turn on the lights and then switch on my PC while I eat my breakfast in front of my work station while replying to emails or following up on a phone call with a potential candidate. That being said, I would typically leave the office at around 6pm but I’d still be making phone calls to my candidates via my car bluetooth while I drove and I would also get interrupted during my diners following up with clients about a candidate’s interview or having a discussion with them.

I remember it came to a point where my client had to tell me, “It’s Friday evening Valerie, you should be out enjoying the weekend, we can continue on Monday…” That being said, I worked through festivities and my off days. I had 21 Annual Leave days but, because I was very passionate about my role in the company, I work almost every single day and sometimes only stopping to rest at 12.30 – 1am to start the process again the following day.
I single handily brought in 11 news clients to the business within my first 5 months of working there, hence from being hired as a Senior Recruitment Consultant working under a Manager with another Consultant backing him up, my Country Manager (CM) decided to have a meeting with me and then removed me from reporting to the Manager but, instead I reported directly to the CM and managed my own portfolios.

A few months later, our CM had to leave the country as his mother was very ill in the UK. A new Regional Country Director then took over, she was very strict and was a no nonsense leader. I liked her style to be honest but, I know that many in the office were intimidated and feared her. She heard alot about me and I guess from her observation of my work, she decided to have a 1 to 1 meeting with me. When she found out that I was managing 49 roles all by myself, she asked me whether I needed an assistant, I told her I’m okay and that I was capable of handing the fulfilment of the roles by myself while my ex Manager had 2 roles 2 fill and he was still using the assistant that he hired the same time I joined his team.

Because the business plan was to expand the team sizes and headcount in the KL office, she decided to hire a Regional Trainer. She had countless interviews with different Trainers throughout 2 months plus but, she wasn’t happy with a single one. One fine day, she decided to speak to me and she shared the Job Description (JD) with me and told me to study it as she noticed that I’ve been helping my colleagues. I went home and I consulted my then BF and I decided to give it a shot. We then set up an interview date and time. After the interview with her, I had to interview with the Head of Training in the UK which I did. She then gave me a final interview and the role was mine. She then wrote an official email announcement to inform the whole company about my new promotion. I then was task to inform my clients that I won’t be able to handle their portfolios anymore moving forward. Boy were they disappointed as the Directors and Hiring Managers in the companies were very happy working with me.

I then was sent to the UK for 2 weeks to be trained to become a Trainer. After my trip to the UK offices- London, South Hampton & Bromley I came back and started training on the fly. As the company was expanding, we hired many freshies/newbies to the field. I gave them Induction Training, SOP Tech Training, 101 Recruitment Trainings and so much more. I enjoyed being a Trainer as I love sharing my knowledge and I was the go to person in the office whenever a Team Manager or Colleague needed help with something related to Recruitment. I also developed customize training materials to help individuals understand subject matters better. I worked closely with our Regional Country Manager and also Team Managers to determine who should stay and who gets the boot based on their performance in the company.

I conducted training for the KL, Singapore & China offices. I got the best treatment when I went to the Beijing, China office. The Chinese really have respect for their teachers hence they gave me a very warm welcome and it was a really good experience training the colleagues there. I even became really good friends with them.

My role was made redundant in early 2017 when Brexit was announced a few months prior. I was expecting it as my other training colleague’s role was affected a few months before mine. So, I started preparing my exit plan a few months prior. I started reaching out to my old Clients to engage them for roles that I could help with. Boy, were they glad and happy to hear from me. The Training role was made redundant when top management decided to freeze hiring rapidly when Brexit was announced and therefore, they didn’t need Trainers to conduct training for the new intake. That being said, my Regional Country Manager offered me my previous Recruitment role but because of the company dynamics and all, I decided to not accept the offer. That’s when my new chapter started, I set up my own company as I was capable enough to do A-Z of Recruitment by myself.