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Joe Produce: Catch 22: It’s So Darn Tough!

Joe Produce: Catch 22: It’s So Darn Tough!


 have to admit, writing for The Snack feels like therapy sometimes. If only I could lie on the couch and type at the same time. Well, I suppose my Mac will have to be my therapist, along with those reading this.

So “Doc,” let me share one of my frustrations with clients, candidates…and myself. It’s what I call the “Catch 22.” As executive search consultants, we experience this every so often and in various ways. For example, it just happened with some of my clients. Let’s call them Sammy and Dean.

These two and their team have built a fantastically successful business. You know, the type where you say, “Why didn’t I do that?!” Well, they did do that, and they work hard—they are always busy. Too busy, actually, and it’s taken a toll. So, Sammy called me a month or so ago and explained they needed to hire a new person. One who is capable of learning the business, taking on an increasing amount of responsibility, and could ultimately run the company in two to three years. Without a doubt, a major role! 

Suffice it to say, we found them an excellent candidate. They loved him on paper and even more so during and after the first video-based interview. The candidate’s interest was moving in the right direction too, and after a successful second video call, it was time for the third interview to take place face-to-face at the company’s headquarters. But, week one was too busy to bring them in.

Week two was also too busy. And so was week three. The clock is ticking. Great people can get hired quickly.

“Rex, we really like this guy and need someone like him, but we’re too busy to spend a couple hours with him and then go to dinner,” shared Sammy.

So, here it is, Catch 22: Doing X will make you less busy and more productive, but you’re too busy to do X.

I’m going to press pause right there. Jobseekers, or I should say potential jobseekers, do the same thing. “I really want to find a new job, but I’m too busy to (work on my resume, look for a new job, go through the process, speak with an executive search consultant, etc.)” The list goes on.

Before I move on, let me admit to being guilty of the SAME DARN THING! There, I said it. I have “Catch-22-itus” too. We need to hire a new salesperson and have some great candidates. But, I’m too busy to take the next steps. Ironically, these are the same steps we are taking for our clients every day.

Listen, we all run into these Catch 22 situations throughout life, and I wish I had the perfect solution. What I will share with you is what I’ve observed that’s worked for others and myself.

So, if you happen to find yourself with a case of Catch 22-itus, while not a therapist, I do have some remedies for this particular affliction: 

1. Prioritize

Move the big rocks and work down to the sand. This is an area where I’m particularly challenged. I want to do everything, and my obsessiveness likes getting rid of all the small stuff first. The problem is that the small stuff continually flows in by the minute. Emails drive me nuts—or perhaps it’s just having clutter in my inbox that does it

2. Be Proactive

Don’t wait for a fire you have to run and put out. This is a big issue in produce; owners and managers run from fire to fire all day long. I think we like the adrenaline rush, even though we complain about not getting enough done. We put out the fires, but oftentimes don’t get the other stuff addressed before there’s another fire, yet we aren’t looking to install a sprinkler system

3. Delegate

The only way we’re going to get this stuff done is by trusting and involving our people. Case in point, Julie Marcik, our Senior Director, is awesome. “Rex, give it to me. Let me handle it.” Here I am, watching our clients do this and—again—I’m doing the same darn thing

4. Get Creative

Figure out a way to get it done. If the traditional way is not working, create a new one. For example, we’re spread thin right now, and I’ve delegated (thank you, team!). However, I still have not called a potentially solid candidate that has been in my inbox. So, I have decided to get creative: We are going to make them an offer that is contingent upon their references checking out

Employers, it can take 12-plus weeks to find a great candidate to fit your team, culture, and objectives. Don’t start a search at the last minute! When your search consultant has a great candidate for you, move on them. They don’t grow on trees, although they may deal with the fruit that does.

Jobseekers, see that 12-plus weeks above? Great jobs that fit you can take just as long, even in this labor market. Have your resume ready and connect with a search consultant. It’s 100 percent confidential! Plant the seeds now to harvest later.

Rex, note to self: Practice what you preach! Now, off to write an offer letter.

Thanks, Doc, I feel so much better! 

Send me the bill.  

Contributing Author

Founder and President, Joe Produce Search℠. Joe Produce Search (JPS) is the Executive Search division of Joe Produce®. Joe Produce Search is comprised of experienced search consultants and produce professionals. Our placements range from middle management to C-level positions, throughout North America, covering a wide range of produce and produce-related businesses. Joe Pro Resumes is another service of Joe Produce®. Joe Pro Resumes helps you write and refine your resume to help you find the produce industry position of your dreams. We have written hundreds of resumes for many professionals in the produce business in addition to various related sectors.