The time was 1985.
I had been out of college a little over a year, and I was managing a large underground parking facility in Dallas. Needless to say, it was not the most fulfilling position.
I was not excited to go to work: I saw very little future in it, and while the compensation paid my bills, it did very little beyond that. I was restless.
When looking for a new job back then, your primary tool was the newspaper classified section, and that is where I started looking. I located an advertisement for a large recruiting company that was nearby and growing. Three interviews later, I was in the recruiting business. At the age of 24, I was in a position I knew nothing about, working what was basically a straight commission job, and excited by the upside my new boss had described for me.
My choice to recruit in the packaging industry was only partially by design. During my first week of training, my research centered on manufacturing and included corrugated packaging, plastic extrusion, commercial printing, folding carton, and the glass industry.
I foolishly tried to dabble in all of these areas simultaneously, but it became apparent very quickly that I could be average in several areas or I could become dominant in one.
As I look back, my initial recruiting efforts were cringe worthy.
I was a speed boat without a rudder. I made lots of calls with almost no planning or direction. My professional immaturity was definitely obvious, but the pace of my work made up for my lack of sophistication.
On my 90th day of recruiting, I closed my first deal: helping a client hire a Quality Manager in Evansville, IN. My fee was $21,000 (not bad for 1985) and I knew that recruiting would be my career.
I quickly refined my efforts exclusively to the corrugated industry, which had a diverse and dynamic landscape, and I did pretty well. But, after 11 years of doing pretty well working for someone else, I decided to try to do really well working for myself. I was excited and terrified.
My spine was still healing from a fusion surgery earlier that year, and my second daughter had been born a month earlier. My plate was full and I did it anyway: I opened my own company.
One week from today, June 1, 2016, will be the 20th anniversary of that company, Oberg and Associates, opening its doors (and phones) to the Corrugated Industry.
As I reflect upon 31 years of recruiting, and 20 years as the Company Leader at Oberg and Associates, LLC, one thought stands out: Thank you.
You know who you are. You are clients, candidates, friends, teammates, and confidants. You are the people that have made my journey possible, so thank you.
It is these relationships that fuel my company, and my life.
It is these relationships that allow me to support my family.
It is these relationships that allow Oberg and Associates, LLC to employ a great team and provide them with a career.
Thank you for your continued support, trust, and friendship. I am grateful and look forward to the next 20 years with you and this wild industry.