TorchLight is proud to launch a new monthly feature to introduce you to our talented and smart team members. To kick it off, we caught up with Amy Tsuchitani, Director of TorchLight’s New Small/Medium Business Direct Hire Practice. Amy shares her thoughts on re-entering the workforce after taking time off with kids–and how she’s made it all work.
After working several years in demanding marketing and events roles, Amy took a step back to take time off at home with her young children in 2007. Five years went by in a flash before she decided to re-enter the workforce, and like anyone who has taken extended time away from work, she admits that she was nervous that her skills might have atrophied or become obsolete in that time. So rather than scanning job posts and sending out resumes, she started having conversations with people she knew and asking for advice on how to approach her search. Before too long, she was introduced to TorchLight and became one of our first recruiters. She has since helped establish and grow our brand as one of DC’s top staffing and recruiting firms and now leads our newly minted Direct Hire practice for small and midsize businesses.
After taking several years away from work to stay at home with your kids, how did you re-enter the workforce and what advice do you have for people in a similar situation?
Sending resumes blindly isn’t generally the best approach for someone who has taken a lot of time off, so I started in research mode by having a lot of conversations with people I knew in my network. And to grow my network, I also asked for introductions and exploratory discussions to get a sense of what was happening in the market. I found that trends and technologies had changed dramatically in those five years. For example, in 2007 when I first left, social media was nascent and very few businesses were even thinking about it. By the time I came back in 2012, it was in full force, along with data analytics, sophisticated email marketing strategies, new web languages, and so on. I was nervous that my experience might have become obsolete, so I decided to focus on positioning my broader project management and marketing strategy skills rather than specific technologies as I was looking at opportunities.
What is the best part of your job?
My role at TorchLight really utilizes my strengths as a communicator, connector, and project manager. Recruiting is mostly about people, but it also requires a great deal of organizational skills and project management. TorchLight is also a great company to work for because it offers a lot of flexibility which allows me to manage my work-life responsibilities and the team is supportive and connected. These things combined made my transition back into the workforce so much better. It would not have been as easy if I had gone back to a large, matrixed organization for example.
Have you ever experienced a setback and how did you overcome that challenge?
Yes, and that biggest challenge happened to be during my time at TorchLight. I was managing a project that in retrospect really wasn’t the best fit with my strengths and I was burning out quickly. But rather than raise my hand to let my team know I was struggling, I soldiered on silently for a long time while I grew increasingly unhappy. At one point I had a breaking point and it was only then that I had the courage to say I needed a change. Fortunately, my manager helped me find a solution and I’m in a much better place now. In fact, the new practice I’m helping launch is a result of the successful outcome of that change. The lesson for me was that as employees, we sometimes tend to take on jobs and projects that aren’t necessarily a good fit for the sake of being a team player and getting the job done. However, if it’s not aligned with your strengths, you’ll eventually burn out and will be doing yourself and your employer a disservice. It’s better to voice your concerns earlier rather than later.
What is the biggest mindset, habit, or shift that you feel has made a positive impact in your life?
We live in a 24/7 world and it’s easy for me to suffer information overload, so I’ve made a commitment to staying organized above all else. Good organizational systems allow me to stay in a bigger picture and strategic mindset, while breaking down the day-to-day into weekly and daily goals that I can manage. I feel more focused, energized, and productive this way.
What tips or tools do you recommend?
I use the 52 Lists Calendar and Trello to keep my goals on track. I’m also a big fan of the Calm meditation and breathing app. Podcasts that I enjoy include Before Breakfast, School of Greatness, and Happier with Gretchen Rubin.
Fun question: If you weren’t a recruiter for TorchLight, what would you do?
I thought about opening a consignment store before joining TorchLight and would still love to have a small retail business one day. I love being able to curate original items and work with people. Maybe someday!