Hello and welcome to the Career Success podcast. I’m Jason Connolly. If you’re a regular listener, it’s great to have you back, but if you knew, welcome to the show in this series. Every week we speak to the biggest names in business all across the globe. We talk about their career stories, the lessons learned, how they overcome challenges, and what success habits they practice. Practical advice to help you in your career if you have a passion to business, then this is the podcast for you.
In this episode I’m joined by Julie Downs from Santa Cruz in the US. Jolie is a Entrepreneur and a lifelong learner with a love for communications with over 20 years of executive recruitment experience, Jolie is the co-owner of Paradyne Staffing. A Premier recruitment firm specialising in public relations, marketing and the communications industry. She’s also the host of the Inspirational podcast Fresh Blood, killing it after 40 where she talks with the over 40 population about what it takes to have continued success in life. In addition to a variety of projects she’s currently working on, Jolie is also the Co owner. Ofwhojobs.com a communications job boards and tax map 1171 of Family Run digital photo booth. So Julie, thanks for joining me on the show. Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here. I’m so there’s so much that you do at the moment. It you clearly look extremely busy but tell us about you, your career, how it kind of all got started for you. Well, I actually fell into the recruiting business. I had applied for a research opportunity and didn’t even know that this recruiting business existed. But when they were telling me about the characteristics that flourish in this industry, like, oh, I think that’s me. And I just went off and have been recruiting ever since. It’s been something that that I’ve really loved being able to connect with people and help them find that next right opportunity that fills those holes that are missing in their life right now. It’s. It’s a passion and I am currently working in public relations, communications and marketing. It was a lifelong passion of mine. I actually was in school trying to thinking about going into PR myself when I stumbled in recruiting. So I married the two. And it’s been, it’s been a blessing in my life and I think like lots of us recruiters, we don’t set out after school to get into recruitment. It’s something you kind of fall into. And I, you know, I’ve always said that the best recruiters are people with life experience. I don’t know. Did that apply to you? And are you inclined to agree L completely and I feel that you know why ’cause there with recruiting, there’s so much therapy involved, I’m going to be honest. There really is a lot of fun.
Yes, there you become a therapist in a lot of ways, and so I actually throughout these years I’ve even taken life coaching certifications, just not so that I could be a life coach, but said I could be a better recruiter overall. Someone who’s there to help the person in your skills as well. Yes, exactly so. So that’s something that I would say life experience really brings a lot to the table in this industry. And we got so much in common as well because I work in recruitment so. Yeah, I know what it takes and I think to myself would I done as well as I’ve done in the industry if I hadn’t been a police officer, learn the art of getting to know people and open questions and then also have opposite performer as well. So I’ve done lots of different things before I joined the industry, but I think from people from the outside looking in don’t necessarily I. I think people tend to think we get a job. We fill a job and then we move on and there’s so much to it and gently educate us to the people that don’t know. That you know, and I think I think curiosity is a really big thing because that’s the you know with the clients that you work with the candidates we work with. It’s not a simple just quick and match. I mean, you really try to dig down into the clients that you’re working with and figure out what are the personalities. What is the culture? Who works here, you know and everybody has a place that works for them, you know and every company has a personality that works great for them. And it’s just a matter of finding that right person for that right role in that company. And it is a lot more involved than then. I could even begin to express, really, but it’s the same with the candidate. When you, when I’m talking with the candidate. I’m not just talking to them about this one position that I may have recalled them about. I really want to find out what’s going to be the best thing for them. What’s going to bring that excitement to their life? What’s going to make them thrill to wake up in the morning, and that might not be my position that I called them about? And it’s my job to figure out what that is. And that’s what I tried to do and a lot of times you know they’re not sure talking to other companies really helps solidify that in their mind of what is right and what isn’t. So it’s all very interesting to walk step by step through the process with your candidates and your clients on both sides. What do you think that you’ve? Obviously I’ve got my own thought process on this, but what do you think is kind of being the biggest lessons for you and challenges you face in your industry in your respective market, in your location? I would say the biggest challenges are that my industry, public relations, communications, marketing are the 1st to get cut. Anytime there is a downturn. They’re also the first to come back special selected as well because I was thinking about this during the pandemic when you need a good marketing Department is when the markets quiet. That’s that. That should be the last thing you cut. Is the marketing Department because I realized this during the pandemic. So many recruitment agencies went quiet and imposed for the best part of 10 months. It just sends out to the. The market, but you know things are not right. If anything, I was shouting louder than I’ve ever shouted before hello, use us were here during the pandemic. So you know it’s kind of funny. You say that is the first to be cut because in a lot of ways my mind-set says no, that’s madness. But so many companies see it as a disposable entity, where actually it’s you know there’s so much value then. I’m sure you’re very passionate about that very topic, complete madness. Being that I speak to thousands and thousands of PR communications market people over the course of my career, I can attest that there is. Incredible power. It is amazing what PR and marketing and communications can do for a company. I, you know, I talk to these people about their accomplishments everyday. Ann Ann. It’s there’s so many huge things in our life that are mainstream that were caused by you. Know this one person. It’s really, really interesting, and it is the first to be cut. I don’t know why I think you’re completely right. It is ludicrous, but it is the first to come back and it comes back and it comes back with a flood when it comes back. Each time this has been my third downturn. So I can spend the same each time it gets cut immediately and then once it comes back it’s like a faucet turns on and that’s where we’re at right now. Jason, that’s really interesting. And when companies do come back to it was, is it because they’ve suddenly become busy again? Or is it they notice that they’ve made a mistake in letting the person go what? What’s their mind-set when they re approach you for the person they have? Just let go just months before you know what? I really couldn’t tell you, I can say is that this follows the waves of the United States economy essentially, except for the majority of my businesses and it has very much been. We felt it first and then people start talking about it and we fill it first. When it comes back and it comes back. Like I said, with a vengeance and then six months later people start talking about the healing. Of the economy and how things are getting better and I can’t say I just say that it’s a PR is the first to come back and it’s good vibes right now. So it’s good news for people Avon respective industry. We can define a good lawyer. By Billings, you know what they’ve kind of done academically in some senses. What’s your sort of super candidate? Was the Super PR candidate? Is it judged on where they’ve worked or is it when they’ve done? How do you differentiate the, you know the excellent from the goods. Definitely what they’ve done. Accomplishments is the siren. Song in the interview process you want to be talking about the things that you did for your clients, either the problem you solved for them or the goal that you reached for them and that is the focus. That’s what I want to know, and that’s something that everyone should really focus on with any role in ending industry you can think about what problem are you trying to solve? What did you do to solve that? How did that benefit you or your team your company? Same with goals, and that’s what you should be talking about in interviews. What advice would you give to someone who’s junior and starting out and wanting to get into PR ’cause it’s a tricky industry to break into. Yes, well, you know. Getting an internship, getting that experience, it’s the experience is vital. Get the internship even if it’s unpaid and get some experience under your belt. There’s lots of PR agencies that hire interns. There’s lots of companies that hire interns, and even if you can’t do that, there’s lots of small businesses all around you that you could just in your neighbourhood. That you could easily go and talk to and work with their company. Do some social media. Maybe write a press release. I mean most of these companies in your neighbourhood doing no PR, marketing, or communications. Somebody wants to get into that space. Could really just go work, take one company, do some work with them, and build a case. Study an that is going to make all the difference in your interview when you’re trying to guess in the industry well, not guessing it. I guess it’s fact it is changed. A hell of a lot when you started this, I’m guessing Facebook wasn’t even something you even heard of. No, no and no. It is very interesting. I remember I think about this all the time. My business partner when Twitter first started and it was just, you know it’s brand new and being tough and in the PR industry they were the first to talk about these things right? So it’s you know. So there was the talk and make my visitors like no don’t sign up for it. It’s just you know, there’s just all these things come up all day long. It’s not worth it. I gave her so much BC Kendrick says, what could you say at characters?
I like that. Obviously I did join Twitter, but I should have joined wasted. I still have barely joined. Already got 10 followers. I need to I pass. I don’t. I’ve just said you know what? Twitter is just not for me. I’m all about LinkedIn so, but no, I do keep saying I should start it myself. So you’ve obviously had a lot of challenges throughout your career. Is there anything this kind of being you know, particularly hard, or you know, but we can kind of talk about, you know, as you know at this time, I think it’s important that we talk about the hard times when it’s not easy for a lot of people, and you know, hopefully they might be able to find some strength and what you’ve done. You know for them. Yes, well you know. I mean, I definitely had some difficult times. The paradigm staffing really was born out of a difficult time. I had started my own recruiting firm and then I kind of side swiped into working on the start up. You know the start-up that you think you’re going to get excited you, part of if you will and it was really exciting. We were. We were doing some work in it and it started to evolve. In fact, we had this contract for gaming on. On phones with like Sports games and such like this and this was back in the day when gaming wasn’t big on phones. This was a new thing to be talking about and it was very exciting. An right when we were getting somewhere with the start-up. You know ’cause we were all starving trying to make this happen and right when we were getting right there the partners. There are three partners and there was all to say there’s a little bit of a coup that happened internally with the partners and they broke apart and it was. It was all very difficult. Basically, I was told by one of the partners that if I went with the other ones that she was going to Sue me and at the same time you know this was right. After my mother had passed away. So I was really going through a hard time and then I found out I was pregnant. That’s a lot of news in what? In one short space of time it really was. Do I do you? What do I do? And so basically decided you know what I’m not going to rely on other people that I’m pregnant now I gotta figure some things out. I’m going to rely on myself an I called someone that I had worked with in recruiting in the past that we had talked about potentially working together in the future and I called and said, you know what? I’m starting my own recruiting firm again and I’ve decided I’m going into the PR marketing communications room because that’s where I’ve always wanted to work. So if you want to. Join ’cause she was doing that in the past is like so if you want to join me let’s do it 5050. If not, just wanted to let you know. It’s happening, it’s happening.
So my partner Lindsey said, yes, let’s do it and we’ve been together running paradigm since then since we started 2003. But really, we say officially 2004 and you had when I looked at the show nodes you had some years of really difficult financial strain which left you with almost daily panic attacks. So yeah, yes, now we had a we had a very difficult time where both of us were hit with some really hard personal hardships. I won’t, you know, share what Lindsey went through, but it was really bad and myself I was hit with my father passed away and you know I had some hard family things going on. Severe depression, addiction, things of that nature and my husband’s company was acquired and his salary was cut significantly between the two of us. That year we suffered like a 50% and complete income. It was very much. A struggle and I was experiencing these panic attacks almost daily and it was. It was a time where and I was just, you know what Jason I was. I was. I got really negative. You know you know life gets hard and it starts to **** that **** it out of you and I remember having dinner with friends and kind of I felt like I was floating above myself and I could cure myself and I’m like when did I become this negative person? When did I? Become such a victim and it was a wake up call Ann and hope to the time for you to have that kind of wake up call. Did it go on for quite awhile though it was a tough time. You know what it was. It was a really tough year and I mean it was, you know, a progressive reading of the soul if you will. And what I realized was that I was surrounded by a lot of things that I didn’t want but. Would they really know what I did want, you know? And so it made me become very clear. I took some time I took a little pause and I took some time to figure out what is it. I really want what do I want my life to look like? What do I believe in an what can I create? And so I stopped focusing on what everyone else was doing. You know ’cause I come you know this person is doing this and this person is doing that? And why aren’t they doing this? And I just stop that and focus completely. On myself, what can I do if I can’t change this situation? What can I do to change myself and that’s what I did and I went fully focused on what I could control in my life and what I wanted to make happen, and I just completely focused every day. I started, you know, when I started my meditate meditation practice again, and that’s what I do every morning. Would focus on my meditation thinking about my goals. In fact, I started. The six Phase meditation, which is a practice started by vision like Yanni from Mindvalley, and it’s incredibly powerful. It’s you know you think about where you see yourself in five years. You think you know what your goals are? You think about what can I do today to reach those goals? He’s been thinking about forgiveness, you know. So you spend a little time each day for giving what might be bothering you in a little time for connected to the world. And so is this wonderful. Meditation practice that he called again. It’s called the six phase meditation. Oh, I’ve never heard of it. Sounds really interesting, especially to be thinking about the, you know, the goals every single day. That’s something a lot of people don’t stop to do. Once a week. Yeah, it is very helpful. ’cause then each day, even if it’s that one tiny little thing there is that little step that you’re moving forward in your goals. And so it’s it is an accumulative effect that looking back now just over this past year. Is incredibly powerful. I really can’t believe all of the things that I’ve done during this pandemic. Did you find other different meditations? First, was this the 1st when you came to or was it from starting you? You kind of eventually found this one, which was right for you. Yeah, know eventually found this one. I have a lot of different meditations that I that I do and in all intermix them. But this one is the one that I find very powerful and moving my life forward and in getting my day started in. In the right way sounds beautiful. What a lovely thing to do. Every morning. It sounds very peaceful indeed, but you know I think really nicely leads us. Kind of onto success, habits and what it is that you do to kind of stay. You know, at the forefront of your game and you know the PR industry is an industry which is forever evolving. It seems to be getting seems to be about doing maybe five years of evolution every year. Now it’s crazy what’s going on in the world of social media, but in terms of obviously you got through those challenges and you know. I’ve equally had awful challenges and you know, I, I think that’s what makes you a strong person is, you know, going through and these tough times and it’s never easy. I suffered from psychosis couple of years into running my business, which is, you know, really, really, really tough with that. Yeah, I’ll be honest, it took me nearly a whole year to recover from, and it’s it was just. It’s what happens when you just burn yourself out for years and years and years. And I think that’s something in our industry which, yes, which happens. It’s, you know. Recruitment is one of those. I know there’s loads of agencies in our country which tends to bring people in for a few years and then they leave. But there’s not many of US career recruiters out there in the UK. Well, good ones anyway, but the same recruit. The business itself burns people out and then you have those for career ones that those are the names that you know. I guess they stick around. Veterans, we’ve been there. We’ve got the stripes, and we’ve been fooled. The tough ties are come with it, so tell us more about kind of what you do to kind of, you know, stay at the forefront of your game and it’s you know you’ve talked us through one of your kind of I don’t know if you would call it may be a success ritual if you would define it as such. But to tell us more about other things that you do to, you know it’s a busy industry that you work in your trying to spin a lot of plates and you know, I know what it’s like in recruitment. But tell us more about what you kind of do to really. You know, make the most of every single day and achieve all these things you want to achieve. Well, being clear on the goals is the first you know that is first and foremost to know what it is that you want be. Be in touch with your why. Be in touch with your purpose of what you’re doing. That’s where you start and then from there you can make. You can make all of those goals and go after them. I believe you need to write down your goals if you don’t write them down, they’re just not going to happen. I think it’s incredibly important to take time to write down what it is that you want personally, professionally, and in all aspects. Of life, you know your parenting, your spiritual, your character. You want to hit it all, and then you want to move forward in those goals each week. And so I use the meditation practice. I think it’s a great practice, but you know, you don’t need to use that. It’s even just, you know, everyone has different methods. For example, like friend Ben Franklin he would, he would pick one thing each week, right? So maybe it would be he wanted to work on his professional. You know this week and then the next week. Maybe he worked on his parents here. I don’t have kids, but you know he’d take it. He pick a different category and then he would move forward whatever he needs to do that week. For me personally, I just want to take those little steps so I have my goals and I have them ranked and so I have certain goals that I know I’m really working towards this year. They’re kind of my main goals this year and I’ll try to make at least one little step that I can each day an in a lot of it can looks kind of like stacking on top of your own expertise, so it’s like thinking about how can I. How can I expand my own skill set that makes sense? You know that can add not only to what I’m doing, but it’s something that I would enjoy and can also add to, you know, my professional profile and so. So a lot of different steps that we’ve done. You know, when we had our first downturn or not, our first or second downturn, we started two jobs which was the job board for PR, marketing and Communications. Specific to that because we found that there was nothing specific to that and so we decided to do that and expanded their. Downturn decided to start a podcast. You know, it’s a. It’s a. It’s a book that I wanted to write which really addresses a lot of the struggles that we feel, especially over the age of 40. I found as a recruiter I mentioned the therapy, you know, as a recruiter throughout the years it would always be over. People over the age of 40 who would have that little bit more of a struggle. That little bit more of a panicky feeling. You know, they’re just not sure where that next role is going to come from. Or you know, if they need to make it. Switch, because naturally in the corporate environment as you move up through the ranks, there are less opportunity and so you have bigger competition for these positions and people do eventually get a little bit offset. Sometimes there they get offset from the corporate ladder and so I found that these conversations are over 40 and I also found that a lot of my clients you know even VPS VP roles. They had a cap on the years of experience that they just didn’t want to see people with more than 20 or 25 years experience. So as I found myself rolling up the ladder of 20 to 20 years experience and I’m like wow, my clients wouldn’t hire me. You know, like I have too much experience and this is crazy to me because I am rocking it right now like this is when you want me. And so I started becoming really interested in the stories of people over the age of 40 who are just killing it in life. And what is it that they’re doing? Got them there? How did they get through their tough times? And what I found was? That to sharing these stories like I would talk to someone who did my, I wish they could have talked to this person. So I wanted to write a book to bring attention to this and kind of share those stories. And when the pandemic hit is like, oh, I’m going to write my book and then I realised, well, it’s a lot of interviews and have to do a lot of interviews. So I thought, you know what? Let’s make that into a podcast. Share those stories in a podcast format and then I’ll turn it into a book eventually, and it has been really wonderful. These stories coming through an and I started this Jason to help other people. I wanted other people to be inspired by these stories an you know hopefully they are. But I have to say. While I started this to help other people, it is helping me in such an incredible way. I just can’t get over the transformation in my own self from listening to these people stories. Really pulling out those takeaways and holding them in my own heart and moving forward. Yeah, I totally agree with what you’re saying about the podcast. It actually has my it’s my podcast has had a similar effect to my life because when I started my podcast I I just felt really lonely. I think 1 because of lock down into. Because I’ve worked my way up this business ladder and a lot of my original friends that I met when I first, you know, before I started my business, I found they weren’t that, not that they weren’t friends, but I kind of felt that I stopped relating to a lot of people and this podcast is really connected me to some, you know, truly amazing new friends. So I mean it’s funny the impact it’s had. It’s even made me look differently on so many different things. So I think we it sounds like we got a podcast journey together. Why is your podcast called? Let’s hear that ’cause and it’s specifically? Is it specifically over people? People over 40 who listened to it? I got it and interviewing people over for be. Honestly, I think it’s an incredibly helpful podcast for anyone who wants to know how to live their most fulfilled life and to have continued success throughout life. We’re talking a lot about, you know the same things Jason you. How we, how you get, how you get over those obstacles and get through those challenges. You know how you reach your success and what is what is your definition of success and. And how is it changed through the years? And you know what are the things that you’ve learned from things you’ve done right? And the things you’ve done wrong, and all that, all that it could be a great lesson for a 20 year old wants to think. And I soak in some polls of wisdom from some 20 years older who’s successful and get ahead. And, you know, that’s just I guess, an alternative way of looking at it. So it’s. It’s something for everyone that wants to, you know, progress in life, but it’s great for the over 40, especially ’cause you know what? This is what I find so much of the mind-set can get, can get eroded a little bit, you know, just like I was speaking with someone the other day and she’s saying telling me that her husband, you know, even though he’s not really happy with what he’s doing, you know he’s just he’s. You know, 45 and he’s already well established like no. No, that’s absolutely no. If he’s not happy if he knows what’s going to make him happy, then he should be going after that. Regardless of these 45 or 55 or 65 you go, you go after. What’s going to make you happy and what’s going to excite you and the stories that I talked to with people on these podcasts? You know there are people who are switched careers at 50, you know, or an order found themselves at 50. You’d met themselves for the first time at 43, and these are all stories that that we can’t. So many people can relate to because her many people in middle age really wake up and have that feeling of like where am I, you know, like who? Why am I here? You know how many people just follow what’s been? Put in front of us. It’s very common as its human. You know we have these goals or were given these goals at a young age and we follow him and we’ve put next step and then we go to the next step and then we go the next step and we’re just doing it without really thinking about consciously, and that’s what you’re doing every single day. With the meditation, that kind of a you know, a wait state that you’re in. It sounds like a beautiful series of stories and I think I interrupted you just as you are going to tell us what it’s called. Charlie, tell us what this podcast is called. Want to hear it? Fresh blood killing it after 40 an it’s called fresh blood because I wanted to prove that new blood does not necessarily mean young blood. Because that’s what you know. Companies say. I want some new blood. Well, I’m here to tell you that all ages of blood can be immensely creative and productive, and we really want everyone’s view great. Well, you had it there. Fresh blood killing it after 40. If you want to check that out, Jolie, just before we part company with one another and it’s been an absolutely lovely conversation. What advice would you give to someone who you know wants to you know generally sell themselves? They want to get out there, they want to find a new role. They said, you know, this is where I want to be. Perhaps the let’s say demographic. Why someone in their early 20s who thinks I want to progress? What advice would you give to themselves to how to sell themselves? And also how to you know progress and get that role that they want? Well, they should sit down and make a list and I would make a list of everything that they have that they can possibly think of. Going back to those accomplishments that I was talking about. It’s really, really imperative.
Think about every single little goal. That you have tried to solve for anyone that you work for professionally, as well as anything personally that could be maybe made into a little unique. Case study if you will, but think about any goal you trying to solve any problem. Or any goal you try to reach in any problem you try to solve. What did you do to reach that goal? You want to be very specific about what you did to reach that goal or solve that problem. Too many people at the young age will go in, and they’ll start talking about we did this or we did that. They want to know what you did, so be very specific and then how did what you whatever you did? How did that actually benefit whoever it was that you were doing it for, whether that be a company or a team? Or you know, maybe even if it’s your family, you know if you’re if you’re. If you don’t have any professional experience, perhaps that there was in your student organisation you had these situations and you want to come up with these little case studies. If you, well, these little accomplishments that you have in your back pocket that you can bring up and talk about at anytime. So when you’re asking someone about if you’re interviewing, you really want to get them talking about what it is that they’re looking for and you want to get them talking about what they want this person to accomplish, what they see. You know what types of personality works best. Anything that you can get them talking about what it is they want, then you can make those correlations with your own case studies. And not only the case studies, but everything that’s really great about you too. You want to make a list of everything that makes you and what makes you unique. What you bring to the table that you bring forth into the world. You want that list not only so that you know how to talk about it, but so that it makes you feel really good about yourself. You want to feel that confidence and that knowing that you have something to bring to the table. In that way, when you are faced with people who have these opportunities and they’re talking to you, you’re going to be able to speak about it articulately. You’re going to be able to bring home. Bring forth your whole best self into that conversation, and they will see that and give you that opportunity. I think this is absolutely great advice that I’m feeling empowered. Just listening to it. So there you go. You heard it first Jolie. If people want to find out more about you, where can they go to? They can go to paradigmstaffing.com. They can go to juliedowns.com. They can find me on LinkedIn, on Twitter, Julie Downs. Feel free to connect with me. Let me know people. Well, thank you so much Julie for joining me in this episode. It’s been a lovely conversation. I loved it. Jason, thank you so much for having me. That was Jodie Downs from Santa Cruz in the US, I’m Jason Connolly. This is the Career Success podcast until next time goodbye.