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This is something I wrote about back in April 2009… I had a look at it and made me think for a bit on the worries and woes of the world. If my life does look about 300% different than then (I see a certain naiveté on the way I used to write) the world looks… the same. Sad Certainly.
This story is what constituted in the end, the beginning of Calderon’s war against the cartels and what indeed has brought more deaths to the country than at any moment the swine flu worldwide did. The irony.
From Peaceful Disconnection to a World in Crisis (Day one)
You live a bit in your own world. It started happening since you finished your active work in that non for profit. You take time off. Not only because almost ten years of work exhaust you and you take some weeks or even months off everything, but everything seems to slow down… there is no longer a need to be on top of hundreds of E-mails in your inbox, many phone calls and meetings throughout the day, exciting and yet draining business travel; somehow you no longer need to be on top of everything important happening in the world; and as everything slows down as you realize the weight of responsibility is gone, your attention slowly shifts: Leaving your mobile home, checking your mail once a day and skipping the news for few days or even weeks is no longer lethal, and that old set of things that you put on hold for a long time become the base of your every day.
Sometimes you miss the old days… So many nice, intelligent, and absolutely extraordinary people, different places, the constant fix you got of excitement and change, the sense of meaning and fulfillment you had through your job, but to be honest, after you got over the withdrawal symptoms of this life, you got used to the new life you have, and as your job only pays the bills, you started looking for that sense of meaning and fulfillment somewhere else, in your relationships, in keeping your body and mind in a good state, but most of all, on enjoying the present minute by minute as it was the last. It is funny to realize that it is only now that you can finally achieve a life intensity few get to have, and even more important you have learned to manage it, through the ups and downs of this new life, overall you feel in harmony. In the past you lived life so fast and so intensely that you learned there is truth to the saying: A bullet doesn’t kill, the speed does. And there was no much of the present more than the pain of a broken heart and betrayal on your face because in your head there was only the future…
Today seemed like any other day in this new life. You woke up on the side of the person you love, the Sun is shining outside and as you share breakfast, as you hope you will do for the rest of your life if there really is something as life long unconditional love, he turns on the news… BBC is on its daily ranting of nothing but bad news… bombs in Iraq, multinationals doing their usual financial up and down – more downs that ups lately-, corruption here and there an ad about a show “cooking in conflict zones”… You wonder once again how the world got to this point. Ingredients: One liter of water (of the water you carried on your bare shoulders for 20 km under the scalding Sun) one cup of rice (that you bought with your entire weekly earnings), boil the rice (in an 50 year old super dirty pan you found in a dump), after 20 minutes it will taste like the authentic meal of a displaced person in a refugee camp?
But there is something about today that is different, suddenly the news focus on your country, for more than a minute –normally your country won’t do anything noticeable by the international community-… it seems a deathly virus is spreading in the same place where you were born, that place that only gets some of your thoughts because your entire family is there and because in the end, it doesn’t matter how many places you’ve seen, how many places you have lived in, and that you call a different country home, there is always a spark in your heart about this place that will easily turn into a flame in case it is necessary. The unconditional love you feel for this piece of sometimes forsaken land has taken you as far as to only accept the citizenship of your new home if you can keep the old one. The stain of history it left in you, the stain it left in your history is undeniable.
What is really going on? (Day one to seven)
And there it is, the BBC, showing apocalyptic images of Mexico City. Soldiers are handing out masks to avoid the airborne infection that seems to be killing hundreds, in the largest urban population in this world. It seems to have mutated from pigs and no one knows if there is a cure or vaccine, which is also as a matter of fact, because the virus A/H1N1 is actually originated in birds and pigs were just a nice mixing pot, funny enough in an American pig farm in Veracruz. Maybe calling it “bird flu 2” wouldn’t be marketable enough, and maybe no one wants to get into the conditions of so many animal farms worldwide. You remember the times of SARS and Ebola, where the press was frantically talking of a pandemic that never happened, and the absolute end of humankind. The announcement is made that schools will be closed. On the other hand, more than once you wondered how that massive conglomerate of people (where you grew up) was still functioning, you studied it, and in theory the mere function of this city is a miracle, it actually shouldn’t work, and you knew this would be the worst place in the world for such a crisis to strike. If it is really bad it will get nasty really fast. You never really trusted the Mexican government. You start drafting a plan to get your family out of there, financially, legally, how… fast. Suddenly you have a thought… call home and ask.
As the phone is ringing, you check Facebook and Twitter. If something of that magnitude is happening you will see it straight away, but surprisingly there is no reference to the supposed death of hundreds. As your mother picks up and you ask about the seriousness of the situation, after saying everyone home is fine, she laughs ironically. She seems happy to have the days off and even makes a joke about “building a monument to pigs”. How could there be such a huge discrepancy between what your mother is saying and what the news agencies are saying? Maybe she is protecting you, doesn’t want you to get worried, so you speak to your siblings to conclude the only thing dying in Mexico City is the inhabitants’ social life. There is no Marshall Law in place; yet, the clubs, restaurants and cinemas seem to have closed. Your siblings were afraid they would close the supermarkets… how were they supposed to get groceries then? You don’t think there is really any need to mention that the Mexican government is not prepared or has the resources to provide for 30 million people, probably no one in the world is ready for that one… You visit the website of the national news agency… Mexico City’s streets look deserted and void of life. There is panic; but the question that inevitably pops in your head is: Is this panic worth having or is someone creating it? Who would gain from this?
The Profits and Economic Impact of Panic (Day seven to ten)
The naïve or controlled news agencies are wondering why the disease is hitting much harder in Mexico than anywhere else as the first cases in other countries start to show. Why the German patient improving but the people in Mexico City is so badly hit? As the media pops this question an Earthquake hits the city, and not a light one, but no one seems to care much about that and the real impact that would have in a real outbreak of the magnitude they describe you start thinking they want you to believe this has. The main thing that lets you know what will happen next is in the market… how sad and yet how real. As the stocks of all travel companies are going to hell, the pharmaceutical companies seem to be back to their days of glory, pre credit crunch time.
You see it in the future, the governments in panic will want to cut all travel to and from Mexico (Cuba has done it, and France is pushing the EU to do it too), a vaccine will be announced to be ready to deploy in a couple of months, there will be a random death out of the country the alert will increase, in Mexico people will get even more scared and the economy of the country will be fucked, no one wants to go to work to save their lives. You are surprised that until this point no one has come with basic conclusions:
• The virus is longer incubated in Mexico.
• There was no proof as to that point in time as of what the real cause of death of many was.
• Mexicans have a strong culture of self medication. According to my friends and family, those that died, died because they got diagnosed too late, hence few foreigners die.
You arrogantly conclude that if people did proper research before panic, they would know that for those dead, there are thousands that could be infected yet they healed with timely treatment that is far from rocket science. Yes, the disease is as contagious and as manageable as a regular cold but no one stops to see it. You laugh at the silly idea of a virus for Mexicans only and have a cynical picture in your mind: Your future travel. If you dare to sneeze in an airport you will be put in quarantine, you will have to proof you haven’t been to Mexico since before the outbreak happened. Maybe you even get a special section in the plane. Yes, that’s all you needed for your life as an immigrant in Europe to be harder and Twitter, BBC and CNN will make sure it happens.
What is funnier, at the end of the day, things are so blown out of proportion that the press starts questioning itself and if they are not getting caught in the huge scandal they seem to have created. Time confirms 2000 cases and 150 deaths in Mexico alone, everyone is giving their shot at the scary story, and in the meantime Egypt started slaughtering 350’000 pigs. No one cared to listen to the Mexican Health Secretary who said they have tested 132 cases, 99 were positive 91 of which are healthy back home, making the death count eight. Maybe Time is counting the people who are scared to death by them and think their regular cough is the swine flu… Anyone can tell you the number will raise which it probably will, but it is still far from thousands and at home everyone wished things were back to normal and the local websites get loaded with tips and hints on what to do no to die bored of their mind. At least they have to take the boredom still until May 5th. Christ! Even the first “American” death was a Mexican… but let’s makes a huge show about how we all are going to die. To be truth, no one has died of swine flu abroad either. And you really dislike being asked about it, you feel disgusted by the media.
What we don’t see in the meantime… (Day ten to date)
So you decide to go online and see any other traces of the usual “disease” of the world that everyone seems to be ignoring on their fear to die.
• In Mexico itself, the senate approved the doses of several drugs as for personal use. Five grams of marihuana, 2 grams of opium, 50mg of heroine, .01mg of LSD, 40mg of crystal or methamphetamines. Is it you or this doses are extremely high? Is it you or heroine should not be considered ok to use? You have always been a liberal on this topic and this is a bit too much. So many reforms of this type are being passed in Mexico in this week and no one really cares…
• A dude killed 12 people in a school in Azerbaijan.
• Chrysler and Fiat are bankrupt.
Today you heard nothing about Iraq. Nothing about Palestine and Israel. What about Iran and North Korea? Are they also on holidays afraid of the swine flu? What would you tell others? If you are in Mexico you would wish them this utterly strange time comes to an end soon (in case of emergency you have anyways mapped a plan to extract your family from the country), may they never be as bored as they are now and hopefully at the end of it, the economy isn’t death. Take care, and go to the doctor if something out of normal, but overall to the world you wish they’d take a chill pill.
In the end you are only mad at someone the press, agencies and governments, for causing this panic of enormous proportions. If they were professionals… oh well… we’d be somewhere else, but in the era in which news comes from Twitter, there isn’t much you can ask. Let’s see for how long the Chinese whispers continue…
Can you be wrong about all this? Maybe, but you may also be right. In the end, you mom is making a monument to pigs, not knowing she should build it to birds and for everyone else you know, they are healthy trying to live life as normal as possible. You can go to bed and sleep in peace… the chances of dieing in a car crash are still higher even if there is no special report and breaking news for that.
In the end, panic is just as contagious as the regular flu.
Filed under: Business, Change, Human Resources, Leadership, Marketing, Recruitment, Resources, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: AIESEC, alumni, exchange, internships, opportunities
Filed under: Business, Change, Goals, Innovation, Leadership, Personal Discovery, Society, Sustainability, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: AIESEC, alumni, exchange, internship
It’s been a long time since it was called a time to move on for me. Since then, I have grown up a lot and I must accept that it was hard to learn to get by without you but I have done so while keeping you in my heart. I didn’t want to be like those creepy ex-boyfriends that show up uninvited.
Every time someone talks to me about becoming an alumnus, a dinosaur, head for the future, going into the life long connection or however you want to call it nowadays I tell them exactly the same thing, and AIESEC, the problem is that you get so deep into our hearts and go so much into the core of who we become, that letting go is initially a pretty hard thing to do; Accepting that it is someone else’s turn to learn and experience the amazing lessons and friends you gave me was a hard task initially and it required me to make a clean cut, a hard cut. So I wasn’t in touch for a while. I needed to catch up with myself without you.
And as your acronyms changed; Careers progress, people move countries, continents and new lessons are learnt; Life continues and one moves on, unavoidably. It seems that all that time I spent with you passed in a heartbeat and it seems that life is going by even faster than that, if my head could comprehend.
It is only after a couple of glasses of wine and in the company of those who shared you with me that I dare to say things like “Years later and I haven’t found anyone that understands me as well as my AIESEC friends”, because it is once or twice a year that every alumnus, dinosaur, headed for the future or life long connected accepts they are nostalgic. It doesn’t matter really how many years we spent with you we all get it here and there. If there is no wine confession, there will be a cryptic Facebook post.
And you were so good to us AIESEC… Many of us are getting ahead in many ways. The business skills that completed my academic education… You made it happen. May we be successful artists, technologists, scientists or business people, entrepreneurs, activists or politicians, we are conscious citizens in this world thankful to that, which made us who we are today: YOU.
There are few magical moments like having a conversation with a truly inspiring person, a real change agent in the middle of a conference on any imaginable topic only to discover they are too an AIESECer.
And then, the question that I really want to ask you pops in our heads… What is the job of an alumnus? Here is the advice I gave to some soon to be alumni:
- Join an alumni association.
- Give advice when you are asked for it.
- Act as a mentor of current members that want to learn something from you
- Chair a conference, a workshop or a local planning weekend when you are asked to.
- Get a trainee.
- Pass on your piece of history to those that can use it.
- Let AIESEC know you are there when it needs you.
- Remember ONE roll call and keep an AIESEC T-shirt; you will need it once.
- If honoured with the invitation, become a member of a BoA or an auditor.
- Show in small and meaningful ways that you will always be an AIESECer.
AIESEC, you have changed so much too. It is hard to keep up with what happens with you in only a few years time but any alumnus can feel nothing but pride when as I went back to you this weekend I discovered
- You do twice as many exchanges in my country as you did (2000!).
- You are present in twice as many universities as when I left you (1700!).
- You change the lives of three times as many students (86000!).
- You expanded to 30 new countries, making a total of 110
Who wouldn’t be proud to be part of a legacy like that?
We had an identity and now a way; We have done projects, leadership, issue based learning, programs and many more; There was 1996, 2005, 2010 and now 2015; there were green forms, pink forms, Match, Insight, Insight 2, myaiesec.net, the orange one and the blue one and many more will come, but there is one thing we all believed for the last 65 years and we will believe in forever: Exchange.
AIESEC, don’t let this letter be only the nostalgia of one that remembers the incredible rush of selling, matching and realising a management internship or the feeling of that full bucket of cold water spilling over my head…
For you are not only an organization for us, you are our life long cause. We are out here, millions of us. Find us.
I am back from an AIESEC National Conference in Germany. Truly inspired by AIESEC’s evolution and success, believing in the impact that AIESEC and its alumni can have together. In this post I think of every AIESEC member in the world, and the two alumni that with their role during my active time in AIESEC , starting in Mexico and until the culmination of my AIESEC International term, changed my life. I am forever thankful to Juan Manuel Ferron and Victor Loewenstein.
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As an business function, Staffing is making huge strides in the way we measure and evaluate our recruitment marketing strategies. While efficiency metrics like time to fill and cost per hire are still part of the evaluation process, quality metrics that are tracking where organizations are finding their most qualified candidates and hires are becoming integral to strategic decision making.
However, even with these metrics there is room for growth. Over the past few years, there’s a push to move past these static single source recruitment metrics (which are in my opinion the basic information a recruitment team should have at hand to ensure optimal performance) and move towards understanding all the sources and factors that influence a candidate to apply. What is becoming known as “Sources of Influence”.
In a nutshell, and similar to the interactions an online consumer has with products to be consumed online, when a candidate applies, it is more than likely they’ve had multiple interactions with your organization. In many cases, measuring a single source of hire (which more accurately is source of application) while helpful is overly simplistic and gives less insight into all the initiatives that influence a candidate to apply.
Being able to measure a candidates interactions from the source of application to social recruiting interactions to career site pages viewed to communications with the recruiting team to the Google keywords they used to find your jobs to the email campaigns they interacted with in your network, there’s a number of data points that we can capture to give a better idea of all the initiatives that we spend time on that have a positive affect on a candidate’s decision to apply.
The technology and capacity to measure these interactions accurately doesn’t exist completely in the marketplace today just like retailers face a huge challenge to find tools that will enable them to track their customers journey in and offline as a whole to understand the impact of their advertising efforts. It’s getting there and I expect there to huge strides in this within the next year. The real question, however, is how would you use this new data effectively in your process and what value it would hold in understand candidate motivations better.
Understanding and Creating Candidate Buyer Profiles
For sales and marketing, we are constantly trying to understand the motivations and actions of the people that buy and don’t buy our products and services. We record their interactions with our brand, social profiles, website, sales process, etc. to see how we can better engage and convert in our marketing and sales process.
Recruiting is very similar in this regard. We need to be able to understand what drives the best candidates to apply for our job positions or in short, the key drivers of employer of choice. From the recruitment sources that are most successful to the content that we create on the career site to the messaging used in email campaigns, we need to be able to track these interactions back to every candidate. This will help us better identify the actions and sources that provide the most value in our recruitment marketing strategy.
Wink wink, Lean analytics and data visualization implementation.
So say we are able to capture and analyze the source of influence data on a candidate? What then? Well, first I think we need to identify what we determine to be qualified and split these candidates from the rest of the group and look at the results for all past jobs. While it can be beneficial in the aggregate, you may also want to break up the data by job category and different candidate populations as well.
In looking through the data, you’ll get a better idea of how candidates initially came across your brand, whether that’s a job ad, through Google search, directly through the website or sourced by your recruiting team. This can give you a good idea on the quality of source. Second, you’ll start to form an idea on the interactions it takes for candidates to take action to apply for a job. In most instances, it may be a quick turnaround where they come across a job and immediately apply. But in others it may be a longer time period of relationship building through engagement via content, email or social channels.
The key here is to get some clarity on how your best candidates are finding and converting in your process, what messaging they interact with and the overall life-cycle before these candidates apply. All so you can hopefully duplicate this success for future recruitment campaigns.
Better Target Current Candidates
While a lot of the value of capturing source of influence lies in retroactive analysis, source of influence should also help you determine fit in real time.
Once you understand better how you are attracting quality candidates, it’s time to use this info to better identify these candidates in your process. Say you find that candidates that read your blog or engage with your email newsletter are typically more informed, have more interest in your jobs and are more likely to accept job offers if presented. Within your recruitment technology, you should be able to filter and sort candidates that fit this criteria within your initial search. This data can be very useful in coordination with the keywords you use to filter resumes for qualified candidates as well as the screening calls done by your recruiting team.
Candidate behaviors in this regard will help you identify interest and the level of engagement from candidates. This can help you find qualified candidates that are more excited about the prospect of working for your organization that are more likely to become hires if made an offer.
Another Data Point in making better decisions
Source of Influence data will provide more insight into the candidates you are trying to attract. Used in concert with key screening and filtering information through the process can provide a way to identify individuals that are qualified and have a serious interest in your organization. In addition, it can help you determine the initiatives and campaigns you use in your strategy that have a real impact in getting qualified candidates to apply, give you a better idea of the overall candidate life-cycle and help you better understand the messaging and engagement that really matters to your best candidates.