A Recruiter on Starting Over with Patricia DiMaria Shaffer | Ep #14
Patricia DiMaria Shaffer launched her career in public accounting at one of the Big 4 accounting firms. Successfully balancing her career with being a single mom, she worked her way up the corporate ladder. However, with the long hours stacking up, she wanted to be a bigger part of her son’s everyday activities. This realization resulted in the radical decision to embark on a second act as an Executive Recruiter, specializing in placing accounting and finance professionals. Leaning on her decade long experience as an accounting professional, she provides consultative services and fills the staffing needs of her clients. She is currently building the DC office for a specialized recruiting firm, Lion Search Group.
In this episode Patricia shares her personal story of second act success, and she offers valuable insight about how a recruiter can help find you the dream career you always wanted. She offers tips to help with your job search, how the workforce has changed since the pandemic, and how you can set yourself up for a win during your next interview. Join us on the Second Act Success Podcast!
Profile of Success
Accounting degree at Elon
Accounting Firm ⇒ Finance and Accounting Recruiter ⇒ Lion Search Group Recruiting
Personal Status: Divorced with one child
Current Career Status: Finance & Accouting Recruiter
Future Plans: Growing DC Area for Lion Search Group
Advice: “Do your due diligence. Think about it. Make sure you know what the risks are and that you’re comfortable with those risks. You have to have a backup plan just in case it doesn’t work out.”
SHOW NOTES FOR THIS EPISODE:
CONNECT with Patricia DiMaria Shaffer
Lion Search Group – https://lionsearchgroup.com/
00:00 – Intro
02:58 – Graduating college and first jobs
04:17 – Working on the Fannie Mae restatement
05:03 – Challenge of balancing big career as a CPA with being a single mom
05:48 – Deloitte, her company, took great care of her and allowed her to raise her son as a single mom
06:41 – Getting a new position with better hours, but it still wasn’t working
08:16 – Stories about how it was hard to balance it all
09:58 – Meeting with a recruiter to find a new job opportunity
11:05 – Recruiter offers her a job to be a recruiter. She thinks he’s crazy, that is not what she does.
11:55 – Recruiter places her at a new job for a different company
12:26 – She reconsiders and starts as a recruiter
13:20 – Finally having balance
15:44 – Learning how to recruit to make the job work
17:45 – Spending more time with her son
19:01 – What does a recruiter do?
20:35 – Shortage of candidates these days
21:28 – How recruiters work with clients
24:53 – Rewarding experiences working with clients
28:58 – Matching her past co-workers with new job opportunities
29:52 – Working for Lion Search Group
30:50 – Now is the time to make her career her own
32:39 – Job trends today
36:03 – Advice to clients on moving towards a second act
37:38 – Different types of recruitment agencies for different fields
38:33 – What are candidates looking for in a job today?
39:23 – Is it true that people don’t want to work today?
41:34 – Employers are more flexible than ever
42:25 – Five Fast Qs of the Week
47:10 – Connect with Patricia
Second Act Success Podcast
Season 1 -Episode #14 - A Recruiter’s View on Starting Over
Guest: Patricia DiMaria Shaffer
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)
[00:00:00] Patricia DiMaria: Do your due diligence first. Know why you wanna make that second act? What is not working in your current act and making sure that that's not going to be an issue in this next part of your life know what you're going into, that it's something you're passionate about and it's not just a temporary, feeling do your due diligence, think about it, make sure you know, what the risks are and you're comfortable with those risks and you have a backup plan just in case it doesn't work out.
[00:00:28] Bernie Promo: Hey, they're fans of the Second Act Success Podcast. This is Bernie Borges. I'm the host of the Midlife Fulfilled Podcast. On this podcast. I feature people who share a BF to AF F story. This is where each week's guest shares a part of their midlife journey as early as their thirties, where they share a before fulfillment story, that's BF and their after fulfillment story. That's AF. Check out episode 20, where Adam shares his three year overnight success. And then his seven year overnight [00:01:00] success where he achieved his fulfillment by helping other podcasters realize their dreams. And now it's time to bring out your talented host of the second act success podcast. And my friend Shannon Russell.
[00:01:13] Shannon: Are you at a crossroads in your career or in life? Well, don't worry because life's next chapter is waiting. This is the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell.
I'm a television producer, turned boy mom, turned business owner, podcaster, and career coach. If you are looking to start a new career or begin a fresh chapter in life, then get ready to be inspired with stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice and offer steps you can take to help figure out what your true calling in life really is.
It is time to shine. So let's turn the page and get started.
Welcome to Second Act Success.[00:02:00]
[00:02:03] Shannon: Patricia de Maria Shaffer had a long career at one of the country's top accounting firms. But the hours left her struggling to raise her son the way she wanted to as a single mom. Trisha took a leap of faith and began a new career as a recruiter at a staffing company. She found her calling and could not be happier. In this episode, Trisha tells her story. Plus she shares her expertise on how recruiting is yet another way to find a job that truly fits you. Let's get started.
[00:02:33] Shannon Russell: Hello, Patricia Di Maria. It's so good to see you and have you on the show.
[00:02:37] Patricia DiMaria: Thank you so much for having me Shannon. I'm so excited for this.
[00:02:41] Shannon Russell: You and I went to college together, we were sorority sisters, and it's so nice to catch up and have you share your second act success story. obviously I know that you went to Elon College because we were there at the same time. After you left Elon, where did you start out in the working world?
[00:02:58] Patricia DiMaria: So I [00:03:00] graduated with an accounting degree. After college, I moved to Winston-Salem where I worked for a CPA firm. What we did was audit tax compilations, the whole gamut. And that's where I really learned how to be a professional. I actually still keep in touch with some of my bosses from that time. And as I'm even training or mentoring some of the people today, I think back on some of the conversations I had as, as a first and second year staff in that CPA firm. I think the experience you get early on, like stays with you throughout your, your whole life. I was with that firm for about two years. Then I relocated to Connecticut, which is when I started with Deloitte, which is one of the big four, accounting firms. I started in their audit group it was mostly, commercial businesses. I think I had some financial services then after about eight months, I actually was transferred back down to North [00:04:00] Carolina, which was wonderful because I really love that area. And then had a child and then relocated to Northern Virginia. I was a manager at this point. My career was wonderful. Like I had a good balance at the time, working on my audits, things were great. I got an opportunity to work on the Fannie Mae restatement, which was one of the biggest restatements kind of in the history of accounting, very large, and the demand was, was, was, was quite insane actually. There were times where I was working over a hundred hours. And that was probably the hardest time of my life. I went through a divorce and purchased a house. So that was a, a very stressful time in my life, but it also was one of the most rewarding times as well.
[00:04:51] Shannon Russell: That's great that you were able to take a difficult time and a stressful time and really come out on the other side. Let's talk about the Fannie [00:05:00] Mae restatement. So how was that project?
[00:05:03] Patricia DiMaria: Career-wise. It was fantastic. What I learned and the things I was exposed to, the people I worked with it, it truly was a, a once in a lifetime opportunity. The biggest challenge I had at the time was just trying to manage being a mom. And not only just a mom being a single mom at that time. there were so many Saturdays where my son would come into the office and everyone was so wonderful about it. You know, I felt terrible because here I am, it's a Saturday, I've got my son here, but he's, he's coloring. He's got snacks. He was just having a good old time, but that was definitely not the type of mom that I wanted to be but I also didn't think I had any other options.
Deloitte, they, they took care of me. They took care of me during, you know, moves. They gave me nine months off during my pregnancy. You know, financially I was able to support my son and [00:06:00] myself. We bought the house. It was definitely a give and take relationship. I was afraid to, to leave because what I had was actually pretty good. And I loved what I did. I loved the technical, you know, challenges and just working as a team. And even though the deadlines were quite insane and you worked around the clock, like you, you worked together and the bonds that you, made with each other, like they, they lasted even today. Some of my, my best girlfriends were, you know, from people that I worked with at Deloitte.
So we got through that process though. We restated things were wonderful. But I definitely needed a, a better work life balance. So I met with my partners who were absolutely incredible and, and always supportive of, of everything that I was doing. I was transferred over to, the federal practice with the anticipation that, that was just gonna be less hours, better work, life balance and all of that. And I think overall, [00:07:00] it could have been. But the challenge that I personally had was that I wasn't gonna leave my team. If they're working late, how can I leave them? I mean, I wasn't gonna be that manager. And I had at times teams of 30 people, reporting to me and I wasn't gonna be that senior manager that said, okay, you guys have a good night. I'm gonna go home. That just didn't feel right to me. So we tried, you know, different schedules and, and again, I, I enjoyed what I was doing. It made that even harder to make a change because I really did like what I was doing. I had such a connection with my clients and I knew that what I was doing, especially as it related to the federal practice, like that's the government and you, what I was doing was truly, I felt. It was my way of giving back to our country and to our government. And yes, I know it's accounting and auditing and all that stuff, but it was, it was just my way of saying, okay, I'm actually contributing to our country right now.
[00:07:59] Shannon Russell: The [00:08:00] fact that you enjoyed what you were doing so much means so much, and not a lot of people can say that they truly enjoy their work and they enjoy their people that they work with. So were you struggling to find something new because you were a mom, a single mom with your son, or were there other reasons to it?
[00:08:16] Patricia DiMaria: The real reason was trying to be a better mom. I mean, I was not comfortable leaving him for as, as long as I was. There was a week where I went to Disney with my parents and my son and. And my dad at one point actually hid my Blackberry because I kept checking, my emails throughout the day I had to, I didn't have an option. It wasn't my choice to say, I want to be on my Blackberry today, but that was the expectation of, okay, you can take this vacation, however, you need to be accessible. You need to be with your clients. You need to answer these questions. So one day he, he literally hid it. And that, that did not go over well. My dad really, he, you know, when I [00:09:00] look back as a child, he was always there and he worked so hard. There were times he worked three different jobs. I don't remember that. I just remember him always being there. And he knew that I needed to be there from my son. There was another part of that week when we were actually in the Magic Kingdom, you know, when I planned a conference call, during my son's nap time, And I know a lot of people do that and there's nothing wrong with that, but that is not the kind of mom that I wanted to be, especially when I was the only parent. It wasn't as if, you know, you have a parent that works so hard and the other parents at home, and there's a balance like having a balance is wonderful. Unfortunately, my son didn't have that. He had me who was doing everything that I could to be able to support the two of us.
Overall, I was with Deloitte for 10 years and it was definitely time to make, to make a change. So what I did [00:10:00] is I met with a recruiter and during my first interview with him, we're going through my background and he's asking me what I like about my job, what my strengths are. And he picked up on the fact that what I loved most was the people. So. There were a lot of opportunities at Deloitte to mentor younger staff, to do training, to be involved in the women's initiative and, recruiting at colleges, all the, all the fun stuff. I was very involved in, in a lot of things and he picked up on that. That's what got me out of bed in the morning. It wasn't a financial statement. It was, all right, I've got a team today and I need to be there for them, one time somebody was relocating to Richmond and it was okay, let me help you. Let me put you in contact with that person. When there were teams that just didn't have great morale, you know, that's when some of the partners would say, you know what, let's put Tricia on that team and let's see what she could do to, you know, motivate them and get them, on board and excited again to do the work. And so he [00:11:00] asked me, he kind of sat back and said, you know, what are you doing with your life? Have you ever considered being a recruiter? And I looked to him, said, no, what are you talking about? I'm not a recruiter, I'm a senior manager at Deloitte. So please go find me my new job.
Um, and, and I, I thought , I thought he was nuts. But we had a good conversation cause I asked him like, why would you say that? Like, I've, I've worked so hard, I've been on these very complicated audits and I'm pretty, smart. And that's when he explained what he was picking up in the conversation with me. And, I hadn't thought about it, but maybe that is something I need to think about. And, and I did, but at the time it just, it just wasn't right. I was so afraid of, of taking that risk because it's a different compensation structure. It's something that I've never done before. I mean, I couldn't take a risk like that. So he did place me at a, company that I was, excited to join. [00:12:00] but over the course of, that year I was with that firm, prior colleagues from Deloitte would reach out to me and say, Hey, you know, Trish, I'm looking to leave. Do you think you could help me find, you know, another opportunity? So I would send their resume to Pete and I would actually see postings online and I'd say, Hey, I know you're working with, with Eric on his job search, you know, this might be a great opportunity for him. After, months, you know, Pete said like, you're doing my job. , I finally said, okay, let's, let's seriously talk about it then, because while the hours were better, I was still working over 60 hours. It still wasn't being able to be the mom that I wanted to be. So we met and I said, prove to me how I could make the same amount of money, how I could control my schedule, like help me understand this. And he did. And I said, okay, let's try it. But I made him promise that if it did not work out, he would help me find another job because I could not be unemployed.
[00:12:56] Shannon Russell: I just think it's interesting that you were thinking about [00:13:00] leaving your firm to possibly work at a recruitment agency. And if it didn't work out, you had someone obviously at the recruitment agency to find you another job. So kind of you're in a really safe place if you think about it.
[00:13:13] Patricia DiMaria: He was my safety night. Yes.
[00:13:15] Shannon Russell: What did your son say? How old is he at this time? And was he like, mom? I don't know about this
[00:13:20] Patricia DiMaria: I left accounting completely to go into recruiting, that was the summer between his second and third grade. He wanted me home more. I don't know how much he understood, you know, at the time, he knew that there was a change, but I told him that it was a good change and I'm gonna be working less and I'm gonna be home more. He was ecstatic about it. The challenge that I had at the time, not today, but at the time was my family, because they're wondering what in the world am I doing? Right? Why am I giving up this phenomenal career [00:14:00] that I went to school for? You know, the CPA exam is not an easy exam to pass. I'm able to be a single mom where. Looking back. I was really fortunate about that I think there's so many women that have stayed in marriages because they can't do it on their own or they don't think they can do it on their own. Right. And so at that time, I think my family and some of my, , close friends were just concerned that like, what was I doing? Why am I giving everything up when I have it pretty good. But today my parents are the most supportive people in the entire world. And, you know, I think looking back and being a mom of a almost 19 year old, I could see why they were concerned. Like, this is a terrible risk, but it, now they see that I was able to be extremely successful, over the last 11 [00:15:00] years and was able to be the mom that I wanted to be. But that, I would say that was the hardest piece, knowing that I was making this change and I didn't have their full support again, at that time,
[00:15:15] Shannon Russell: Like you said, you would've probably felt the same way in their position, so you can understand, you seem like such a confident person and so successful in the career that you had in accounting. Did you feel like, Hey, I can do anything if I put my mind to it, I've proven that at Deloitte, I'm just gonna go all in. I'm gonna try this and just keep my fingers crossed.
[00:15:36] Patricia DiMaria: Yes, completely. I also didn't have an option. I had to put everything into it. Like this was my livelihood. It's my son's livelihood. Like I have to do everything I can to make this successful. Once I went into staffing, the hours were very manageable, very flexible. But in the beginning, you're building a business, you're building your network. So yes, I was [00:16:00] spending, nights, researching and, and, and learning about, different companies and different industries and all these different things that I've never had to do before. And there's also a sales aspect to this, so, okay. Now I need to learn sales. I need to learn how to be a recruiter. What do I ask? You know, how do I find these people? So you have to put in, all this work in the beginning, but I didn't think about it like work. It was more so an investment of, okay, I'm investing in myself and I'm investing in this business and you just do what you need to do to, to make it happen.
I remember it was in my first year of, of staffing and it was the weekend. and Martin asked, why haven't I been to the new office yet? Well, you don't need to, I'm not working weekends anymore. And what I was doing on the weekends I was able to do from home. And at one point he felt like he disappointed me. He's like, I promise I'll be [00:17:00] good. I'm like, no, my gosh, no, it's not that like, I just I'm home. Like, this is our life. Now I'm not going into the office on Saturdays. It's not you. And I appreciated everything you did over the years, but no, that's just not what we're doing anymore.
[00:17:16] Shannon Russell: He probably enjoyed it. Tricia, he enjoyed going in to work with you. That's so adorable.
[00:17:23] Patricia DiMaria: But it's sad also that, you know, he had to think like that.
[00:17:28] Shannon Russell: Martin, we can do anything that you'd like over the weekend.
[00:17:31] Patricia DiMaria: exactly like a normal child
[00:17:33] Shannon Russell: Mm-hmm
[00:17:34] Patricia DiMaria: and normal family.
[00:17:37] Shannon Russell: With those weekends more free, or just that flexibility, were you starting to like drop your shoulders, breathe a little bit easier.
[00:17:45] Patricia DiMaria: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and it truly then revolved around him and his activities. He played soccer. He did flag football, he did TaeKwonDo. He's actually a second degree black belt[00:18:00] I was just involved in whatever he was involved in. So when it came to Cub Scouts, I was the Pack committee chair. In elementary school, all of his classes, I was a room parent for the majority of those years. If somebody needed a volunteer at the school to help with, you know, teacher appreciation week and they needed cupcakes or whatever it was, I'm like, yeah, that's that's me. So the idea of getting into staffing and making this transition was to be a mom that was involved and present and, and, and all of that, but that was 11 years ago and it turned out to be one of the best career choices I, I could have made. You know, the reasons were for my son and to be the mom, but. It has been the most rewarding career than I I could have even imagined having. So it worked out in, in that aspect.
[00:18:56] Shannon Russell: Tricia, tell me exactly what a recruiter does. [00:19:00] Tell me about your day to day.
[00:19:01] Patricia DiMaria: My day to day is different every day. What I do is solely accounting and finance placements. I think that's the only type of staffing I would ever do because that's what I've done. Like I was an accountant, so I was a candidate and I worked with recruiters that. We're the best recruiters. So I know what not to do with candidates. But what's important about the accounting and finance piece is that when I'm interviewing a candidate, I can really dig in to know if they know what they're talking about or not. And from the client side, I'm able to guide them in what they really do need in their organization.
But what staffing is overall. We run a full desk, which is recruiting as well as business development. And there are some staffing firms that have that separate, where you are solely a recruiter, or you are solely working on business development, but we run a, a full desk, which means [00:20:00] you do it all. Clients, hiring managers will, will come to us. They'll hire us. To provide them with staffing support. And part of that is meeting with them, understanding the current organization, where is the gap? What do you need, what are your, what are your struggles? And then us providing those individuals to them. And that could be anywhere from, you know, a controller, an accounting manager, a a VP of FInance. But it's essentially finding the, the support, you know, the staffing support for our clients
Today, there is a shortage of candidates. There's so many job openings right now. and not enough people to fill those jobs. Like there's just not enough people in the job market to fill these open positions. A year ago, two years ago, especially soon after COVID hit, you had a tremendous amount of unemployed individuals that were looking for new [00:21:00] opportunities. Companies were not hiring. So there's always this wave of, what's in demand. And the key in staffing is to just understand your market and be able to adapt to it, which is why I think that full cycle, like full desk model is going to work well because you have to be able to know all aspects of the job based on the way the market dictates.
We see where the matches are. So with our candidates, we meet with them, individually 45 minutes, sometimes up to an hour, really diving into their background because their resume may not show exactly who they are. Like, we wanna know what your strengths are, what your accomplishments are like, who you are as a person. And also what motivates you. On paper, this particular, you know, controller may be perfect for this organization, but it may not be what is in, their goals, you know, that might not be anything of what they're looking for long term, which [00:22:00] is why it's important to get to know your candidates. At the same time with the hiring managers, they may have a job description, but that job description might not be what they're looking for. Okay. Help me understand what's going on in the company. Is somebody going to be leaving in a couple of months? Are you going through an acquisition or whatever the situation is, help me understand that, because then that's how I could find the right person for you. Once we do think, okay, I have this candidate for this client, and I think it's a great match. Then we also monitor the whole interview process. We kind of negotiate on our candidates behalf. We conduct references, , and there's a lot of other, details to, to that whole entire process. The key also is just listening, right? It's like, Pete, for example, I was telling him what I was looking for in my job, but he was really hearing what I was telling him and that I wanted to help people. And I am all about relationships and getting [00:23:00] people in the right place and, and, and listening and guiding and all that stuff. It's really understanding, it's getting to know your candidate, getting to know your client and truly making the right matches
Part of our job is to advise them they may think they wanna, oh, I I'm looking for a controller position and they may only have three years of experience. So it's helping them understand, okay, let's, let's, let's talk about that. Or they may want, you know, all this money and it's just guiding them to say, okay, that would be wonderful. , but this is what the market is bearing right now. This is what your experience is, and I'm gonna help you get what you are looking for, but we also need to be reasonable. My clients have told me over the last, several years is, one of the reasons they come to me is because I am honest with them and I, I will tell them the bad news and I will give it to them straight. And I'll tell them when they're being realistic. I'm not gonna have empty promises that yeah. I could deliver those candidates to [00:24:00] and not. So the job itself is yes, you're looking at resumes and yes, you're looking at job descriptions, but that is just the tiniest piece of, of what the job is day, day to day.
[00:24:10] Shannon Russell: It sounds to me like a recruiter is almost a therapist in the career and in the job market, right? Like you are listening to both sides, you're negotiating both sides. You're trying to get the person to be their happiest
[00:24:22] Patricia DiMaria: Yes. 100%. 100%. It's so rewarding
There's one individual that, I've worked with since maybe 2015. And he was just at a very low [00:25:00] point. In his life, in his career. He had lost his job and it was just not a good time. He was living actually in another state now today, relocation and remote it's it's, it's very common. But back then, I mean, it was only seven years ago, eight years ago, but it still wasn't as common as it is today. So I'm, I've, I'm speaking with him. He's in Texas. I'm here in Northern Virginia. I don't know if I could help this guy, but let me tell you, I have to listen to him. I have to support him. He needs hope at this moment we went through his background. We went through everything. I did everything I could. To help this man find a job. And I actually found him an amazing opportunity up here in Northern Virginia. He re relocated his family up here and he and I are still in contact today. Like we, we become friends, I consider him a friend. You meet such amazing people in this business. In fact, another story. Over the years, I've done work in [00:26:00] Thailand. My son and I have, volunteered at an orphanage out there and people ask me, well, how did you get involved in that? I never thought about it until I really. I'm like, how, how did I meet this individual and what had happened? I wanna say this was back in 2012, maybe 2013, early on in my staffing career. I was interviewing somebody a phenomenal, smart, smart consultant. And, she had a twin sister and for some reason, I just connected with this individual. We had a wonderful conversation. obviously about her career, but then it went into, you know, personal conversations as well. And she said, you need to meet my twin sister, like, okay. So. She's also an accountant as well. So I met her, not really sure what the purpose of the meeting was gonna be, if it's about, oh, I think you guys are gonna be friends. Who knows, but you know, I'm all about meeting people and then building my network. So I met, I met this individual for lunch. And in this conversation, she was [00:27:00] telling me about this nonprofit that she had started. And this nonprofit that she started in the us is affiliated with this work that she does in Thailand. And I said, well, that's definitely something I need to be involved in. And I've become just the closest of friends with these two individuals. And it's just, it all came from an, an interview. And from that, Martin and I have gone to Thailand. Just his experience to this and, and seeing, what other kids have gone through and what their lifestyles are, has been just completely eye opening. But it all comes down to just getting to know your, your candidate. So, yes, like it is a very therapeutic process as we're dealing with candidates. That has been the most rewarding part of, of the job. I didn't think that it would affect me the way it has when I went into staffing. Had no idea that it would be this incredible career that would just change my life completely.
[00:27:56] Shannon Russell: It's not just matching people to a job, filling the spot and moving [00:28:00] on, you really are forming those relationships. And that is what you love to do. So that's why you are so good at it. I can just tell that this is something that feeds your heart and you feel like you're putting out more good into the world. You might have felt like you were doing your part to give back, working in accounting at Deloitte, but now you're doing it in a different way to individuals.
It's quite interesting that you were working in accounting and now you're doing recruiting for accounting. So you're still taking all that knowledge that you worked so hard for, that you went to school for, because who better to recruit people for accounting firms than someone who was in one herself.
[00:28:41] Patricia DiMaria: I am such a specialist in it. And what's interesting is everyone in our firm was once an accountant at some point in time.
[00:28:50] Shannon Russell: Have you ever helped your former colleagues in finding a new place of business through staffing through your recruiting agency?
[00:28:58] Patricia DiMaria: Yes. I [00:29:00] have several of them as a matter of fact, which has been wonderful. Growing up into in Deloitte, you know, I worked my way up to a senior manager and I managed and counseled a lot of younger individuals, and I've placed a number of these individuals in pretty good roles. And it's been such a, like such an honor to actually see them grow in those roles as well, because it's like, okay, I had a little help in their accounting knowledge earlier on when they were still, you know, young enough in Deloitte, but now I've also helped them into these amazing positions as, as true professionals in the, in the world. Those relationships they stay and you, always will remember those individuals when you need to.
[00:29:45] Shannon Russell: It's all about networking, right? Cause now you need that really big Rolodex of people to know who to go to.
[00:29:51] Patricia DiMaria: Exactly. I am with Lion Search Group. I've been with them for almost a year. It was founded by one [00:30:00] of the partners is my original recruiter, Pete. So it has all come full circle. We worked at the firm together years ago, and then he relocated to New York and then he started this firm, with two other individuals. And then a year ago, he thought about reaching out to me and it was just the perfect time. So our firm is based in New York. And what I am going to be doing, is growing the DC market area. So, now that my son has completed his first year of college, I'm at a point where I could really refocus on my career and spend as much time as I need to it. So that's, that's sort of what I'm gonna be doing with them.
[00:30:43] Shannon Russell: What a wonderful undertaking. Having the whole DC area. Wow.
[00:30:47] Patricia DiMaria: It's scary to think about, but now's the time that I'm ready to do something like this and what I love most is so, you know, I've known Pete since 2010, [00:31:00] his partners are just as amazing as, as he is. And so I know that I'm surrounded by the three most ethical, individuals. So this firm truly is based on high morals, honesty doing the right thing and just treating each other with respect and doing the right thing for each other, for our clients and just being a true team. I'm like really proud to work here. And to say that I work with, with these guys.
[00:31:29] Shannon Russell: You're in a good place. You sacrificed a lot over the years and now your son's in a great place being in college and you get to focus back on Trisha and what you wanna do.
[00:31:39] Patricia DiMaria: Thank you. It's taken a while.
I think It was all meant to be, there are times where, I do miss that deadline to get the financial reports together or, the audit sign off and, you know, I miss that. But ultimately. I [00:32:00] don't think I would change anything. I look at my son, granted, he's still a teenager and does silly things at times and is definitely not perfect, but he's turned out to be a really good human being and I'm really proud of him. And I don't think I could have raised him the way that I wanted to, if I did anything differently. I, I, I really don't.
[00:32:24] Shannon Russell: You talked a little bit about during COVID how there was just that flux of more people looking for jobs and not so many jobs available and how, your market kind of ebbs and flows. What are some of the job trends that you're seeing currently?
[00:32:39] Patricia DiMaria: currently there is a high demand for, I'm gonna say anyone with accounting or finance degree up to up to 10, even 12 years of experience. That seems to be the hottest in demand right now. And it fluctuates like, a couple months ago there were so [00:33:00] many organizations that needed FPNA a individuals, which is financial planning and analysis. But today we're working on several accounting manager positions. So there's always gonna be kind of fluctuations with that, but the biggest challenge with candidates right now and, and, and just with clients is. You know, you had COVID where people were working remote, you know, and prior to that, you had that flexibility, you were able to work, you know, a day from home and, and you had flexibility with your hours and things like that. But once COVID hit, you know, schools were shut down. Moms are now at home working and they're trying to manage all of that. And so there's still a lot of individuals that just don't wanna go back into the office, but we're at a point where companies want you back into the office, even if it's a hybrid schedule, three days a week or whatever it may be. That seems to be one of the reasons that, you know, these people are [00:34:00] such high in demand because individuals are resigning from their current companies. If they are being required to go back into the office, they think they could find something remote and while they could, and there are organizations that do fully remote for the most part, they do want individuals back into the office and that's been, that's really been one of the, the biggest issues that we're having. Also there's less people looking for new jobs. One of the biggest reasons people look for a new job is because of the commute. And, you've been working from home for so long. You've got used to not having a commute. So even if you have to go into the office two days a week, that's, that's manageable. Anybody could do anything for two days a week. So people aren't looking to leave their jobs because they're fine with a commute two days a week. So you have less people in the market because of that as well. . And also there's a lot of, people that are still, you know, again, working from home, most of the time where [00:35:00] another reason people leave their jobs is the culture. They don't like being around certain individuals. The culture's not a good fit for them, but if you're working from home half of the time, you feel better about the culture as well? You're not seeing it every day, so it's not right in your face and asking you, okay, do I really wanna be here day in and day out? So again, that's another reason there's less people in the workforce, or in the job market. I also think a lot of people have just decided to do their own thing. Whether it's, an individual had a side gig, maybe that person wants to make that side gig a little more of a full-time gig, because they could control that more and they have better flexibility and they're at home and, and they could do it as they see fit. COVID has changed the whole dynamic as it comes to just corporate work right now.
[00:35:52] Shannon Russell: If someone comes to you and says, I need to start a second act, I need to change. I don't wanna work in [00:36:00] my current career anymore. What advice would you give them?
[00:36:03] Patricia DiMaria: Absolutely say to go for it. That's for sure. But I would say to them to do your due diligence first. Know why you wanna make that second act? Like what is not working in your current act and making sure that that's not going to be an issue in this next part of your life and know what you're going into, that it's something you're passionate about and it's not just a temporary, feeling of, okay. Yeah. Let me try this. Like, do your due diligence, think about it, make sure you know, what the risks are and you're comfortable with those risks and you have a backup plan just in case it doesn't work out. I would absolutely support anyone making, making a change if it's right for them or for their family or, you know, for their career.
[00:36:48] Shannon Russell: Would you suggest going to speak with a recruiter about options and kind of talk it out?
[00:36:54] Patricia DiMaria: I don't know if I would be qualified to help somebody with that. If it's an accounting and [00:37:00] finance person, I could help guide them with options. So if you are a public accountant person and they say, I don't know what I wanna do. I want out of public accounting, then I could advise, okay, well you could do financial reporting, internal audit, analysis or whatever it is. But if it's a complete change of career, then I would refer them more to a life coach than, than a recruiter,
[00:37:24] Shannon Russell: There are other recruitment agencies that focus in different fields. Right? You had mentioned there's some that specialize in it fields, some that specialize in engineering, maybe some that specialize in creative.
[00:37:36] Patricia DiMaria: Absolutely. So I focus on accounting and finance, but there are so many other recruiting firms that specialize in other things. If someone's into marketing and they wanna make a change in the marketing field or, or legal, if they're, an attorney and they wanna consider doing something else, there are firms that specialize in, general counsel and legal, um, human resources, there's [00:38:00] organizations that also, focus purely on HR roles and, IT and engineering. Every firm does have kind of their own specialty. So I would say seek out, a recruiter that specializes in those areas.
[00:38:15] Shannon Russell: Excellent advice. That's a great opportunity that a lot of people might not think about. So that could be a really helpful resource.
What is it that you're learning that candidates of today are looking for? Maybe not in the actual job, but just what are they wanting to get out of a happier career, happier position?
[00:38:33] Patricia DiMaria: Think it's flexibility. The last couple of years with COVID, I think that's become more important for individuals. And that means something different to every person. So if I'm on the phone with someone and I ask them, oh, you know, what's important, they'll say flexibility. Okay. What does that mean? Because flexibility truly means something different to different people. Maybe it means they don't wanna have the commute. Maybe it means they wanna work from home two days a week. Maybe it means they need, [00:39:00] you know, two hours in the day. So they can go volunteer at their son's, art class or whatever it is. So it's flexibility. That seems to be the most important aspect of, of what a, of what people are looking for right now.
[00:39:14] Shannon Russell: We're always hearing no one wants to work since COVID came. Someone who is constantly talking to corporations and candidates. Do you agree?
[00:39:23] Patricia DiMaria: I don't agree. I don't, yes. I am sure that there are some individuals that don't wanna work, but no, for the most part people, they, they do wanna work. They wanna work on their own terms. They want to control their hours. They wanna control where they work. What they're doing, you know, what their job responsibilities are. They wanna have more control and say over that, but they definitely want to work. Just this past week I interviewed several individuals that are, that have been working remote and they're tired of working remote. They wanna get back into the [00:40:00] office. So you have those individuals as well. What we hear on the news, I don't know where they're getting that data or what they're looking at, but when it comes to accounting and finance people, they definitely wanna work.
[00:40:14] Shannon Russell: right. You're in the trenches. You're there talking
[00:40:16] Patricia DiMaria: Yeah.
[00:40:16] Shannon Russell: So there are jobs to be had.
[00:40:18] Patricia DiMaria: There's definitely jobs to be had. and there are, there are people that are, are, are out there. Priorities have changed in their family and in their home life that they're just not going to put up with certain things. During COVID, we've just all kind of reevaluated what's important in life and I think it's just not doing what makes you uncomfortable anymore. I think a lot of people have gone on their own and started their own businesses and, and things like that. But to me, that doesn't mean they don't wanna work. It just means they wanna work on their terms and they wanna do what they're passionate about and excited about. And they're not going to just settle for, for a [00:41:00] job like people used to settle for. I think that's the difference in today's world versus a couple years ago?
[00:41:06] Shannon Russell: It's more than a job. It's a lifestyle. It's trying to find that, you know, work life balance that everyone searches for. And I think corporations, businesses, wherever you are working, they have to catch up with the times as well, and be less strict on what they are requiring and realize that if you want good employees, quality employees, quality, people to work for you that you need to be more flexible as an employer, as.
[00:41:33] Patricia DiMaria: Yep. I do think employers are being more flexible. I would say there's a, probably only a handful of clients that I, that I talk to that require you in the office five days a week. It could truly, and even with those that require you in five days a week, there's flexibility with, with when you come in. So if you come in, early or late, just to miss some of that rush hour traffic, like companies have definitely adapted [00:42:00] to this new, this new norm or to this new lifestyle that the employee that the employees are looking for. I do believe that they have, there are of course some that haven't, but at some point they will get on board, but for the most part they have, I think what we hear on the news is maybe swayed for some reason.
[00:42:25] Shannon: Alright. It's time for our Five Fast Qs of the Week. Here we go!
[00:42:30] Shannon Russell: Name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught you.
[00:42:34] Patricia DiMaria: One thing I would say is resilience because there have been times where, things were, were not as easy, they're not easy, like it's tough, it's tough changing careers. It's tough, you know, being a single mom and it's not easy. But the one thing that I learned probably more important than anything is to just be resilient and to just, just keep doing it, just keep doing what you're doing and just keep seeing the [00:43:00] bigger picture.
[00:43:00] Shannon Russell: Would you recommend taking a leap into a big life change to your best friend?
[00:43:05] Patricia DiMaria: Yes, I absolutely would. Actually this has been a very recent, situation that I'm in my, my best friend. We've been best friend since grammar school actually. She received her masters a couple years ago, she actually had a baby though, less than a year ago. And with her new position after her masters, she's been out of the house a lot more than what she thought she was gonna be. She's been taking work home a little bit. And so she's been deciding, you know, what, what to do so part of her is thinking, did I just waste my time? I was like, no, absolutely not do what you need to do to make yourself happy. And your family happy. So she actually, , resigned the end of April from her position and is opening up a daycare in her house. So it's yeah, so it's, it's incredible, which will allow her [00:44:00] to, to be at home, you know, with her family. But also this is what she was meant to do. This is literally what her whole life was, was meant for is to just lead a daycare. She's amazing with kids every age, every different situation, a child's in like, she, she needs to be there for that person. , it's actually been really exciting seeing her go through this process, but it was a very tough decision for her because. She just worked really hard on this and, and which to me, everything you just did, it's going to help you be this business owner and, and take care of all these different types of, of kids. But in her mind, she's thinking, but I just I'm giving this up, but you're not giving enough, to answer your question. Absolutely.
[00:44:45] Shannon Russell: You're right. Everything that you do leads you to where you are now, so that master, even if she never ends up using it, that was a catalyst to get her to opening this daycare. I have a few credits left on my masters because I thought that I wanted to go into [00:45:00] education. I did not wanna go into education. I decided to open my own business. So as I'm paying off those loans, I realize with a smile that, that led me to opening a business that teaches children stem education. So it's all kind of,
[00:45:15] Patricia DiMaria: You're still using it. Everything you learned in those classes, you're still using day to day.
[00:45:21] Shannon Russell: and it's just these little life steps that kind of open your eyes and open doors to new things. So always those skills that you have, you can always go back to, I'm excited for your friend. I'm excited for her.
[00:45:32] Patricia DiMaria: Thank you. I am too. I'm so happy for her
[00:45:35] Shannon Russell: So question number three. What is one piece of advice that you would give someone trying to start a second?
[00:45:40] Patricia DiMaria: to not be so hard on yourself. When I first made this transition, you know, it was, it was entirely new, I wasn't used to picking up the phone and, and talking to people, talk, you know, calling people randomly and, in the beginning it was hard. And I would say, oh, I didn't, it didn't meet my goal for the day, or [00:46:00] I didn't meet, you know, X, Y, and Z. I didn't achieve that. Say like, that's okay. It's okay. To have some failures in the beginning. And it's the only way you're gonna learn, but to just not be so hard on yourself and just, just, just know that you're in the right spot, you made the right decision and you just, you're going to be successful. You just have to keep doing it and keep practicing and you're going to do better, but being hard on yourself, like that's always been a problem that I've had. You have to remember not to be that like it, it is. Okay. And when you need help, ask for help, especially if it's something new, because you're not supposed to know everything. That's the only way you're gonna learn and you're gonna continue growing. But that would be my biggest piece of advice is just not be hard on yourself.
[00:46:47] Shannon Russell: Easier said than done, but it can be done.
[00:46:50] Patricia DiMaria: It definitely is easier said than.
[00:46:54] Shannon Russell: What does the next chapter look like for you? Okay,
[00:46:57] Patricia DiMaria: the next chapter is, working with Lion [00:47:00] Search Group, growing this region, hiring individuals, and then just, you know, keep, keep growing, and just kind of growing this entire area. And then who know, who knows where it'll end up,
[00:47:10] Shannon Russell: where can our audience connect with you?
[00:47:12] Patricia DiMaria: I am on LinkedIn. That is where I post most of my, professional, information. So I would say LinkedIn is the, the best source for me.
[00:47:21] Shannon Russell: And if some of our listeners are interested, if they're in the finance accounting world and they're looking for a position, should they reach out to you?
[00:47:31] Patricia DiMaria: Definitely have them call me or email me, LinkedIn me, but yeah, please have them reach out to me. Absolutely.
[00:47:38] Shannon Russell: Tricia, I just wanna thank you for sharing your story and for giving your expertise on what the job market really is like and how recruiting works and, and giving our listeners some other options as they're on their journey to find their second act and what will make them happy.
[00:47:52] Patricia DiMaria: Thank you so much for having me today. I'm so excited that I was able to share my story with you and to all your listeners. [00:48:00] I really appreciate everything that you're doing for all the moms and all the people out there that, that want a second act.
[00:48:05] Shannon Russell: Oh, thank you very much. I'll be talking to you very soon. Thank you, Tricia.
[00:48:09] Patricia DiMaria: Thank you.
[00:48:11] Shannon: My special, thanks to Trisha for sharing her story and for giving us some insight into how working with the recruiter may be a benefit. You didn't even know you needed. Recruiters are in the know of jobs that are available, companies that may be a match for you, and the right recruiter can take some time to get to know you and what you're looking for. This was such valuable information that we have yet to discuss on the podcast. So I hope you got some tidbits of advice to think about. To connect with Tricia, you can reach out to her on LinkedIn. She is Patricia DiMaria Shaffer and her company is Lions Search Group. Thanks for listening. I'm looking forward to next time my friend.
Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success. To view [00:49:00] show notes from this episode, recommend to guests with a great story, and learn more about us. Visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast. So you don't miss a single episode. And if you are enjoying our time together, please leave a review in Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again for listening. I am Shannon Russell, and this is Second Act Success.
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