Post By: Lisa Schor Babin
In late September 2020, I found myself in the job market (not by choice), for the first time in my career. I encourage others in this unique community of ethics and compliance professionals who are in a similar position to stay strong. None of this is easy, and there is no one way to crack this nut. My story is still unfinished, as may be yours. But there’s so much to do and so many ways to do it. Just remember – this is your journey.
Recently, I was chatting with the owner/chef at a local café and upon learning that I’m a compliance professional, he commented, “I like what you do,” and described how the professional kitchen could greatly benefit from a compliance program. Several other friends who work at hospitals, dental practices and small non-profits – shared similar sentiments after reading my recent guest blog in Matt Kelly’s Radical Compliance about the importance of a strong culture of compliance. I now have a new appreciation for the potential for our ethics and compliance work to have profound impact.
On that first day of my journey in September, I (like others) did not have a handy job search playbook to refer to. I knew that I had to stay engaged and current in the world of ethics and compliance in order to keep my head in the game. But what I couldn’t have anticipated was that the journey would be interesting, I would travel on it with energy and purpose, and I would grow stronger and be better positioned for my next opportunity. In the following paragraphs, I touch on just a few of the things that worked for me.
Like many job seekers, I take each day, one at a time. I make sure to have a plan and/or a goal for the day. I stick to some basic routines, like making the beds and having morning coffee with my spouse. On most days, I plan outdoor activity with a friend, including walks in the park, local hikes, pickleball or tennis, weather permitting. On the days with no plans, I remind myself that it is OK to take a break. When the day comes when I am back to work, I want to know that I took advantage of this unstructured time while I had the chance.
Over these last months, I’ve had the time to do some soul searching and I’ve come to a few conclusions. In the past, I have not always 1) found the space to show the best I had to offer; 2) surrounded myself with people who get me; or 3) sought out mentors. I have allowed others to define me. Bottom line, it’s important to come to terms with the past to do better in the future.
After an initial 2-week mental health break, I jumped right back in. I reached out to many former colleagues. These are people who know me, and their perspective on my contributions was very uplifting. I even connected with a few vendors with whom I had developed a good relationship, and their recommendations and/or referrals have also proven helpful.
I took full advantage of outplacement services provided by my former employer. Their assistance with updating my resume and LinkedIn profile was appreciated, particularly since I hadn’t been in the job market for a while. I also leveraged their services for preparing an elevator pitch, preparing for interviews, and getting tips on salary negotiations.
I spend a good amount of time each day reading articles, newsletters, commentary and surveys posted by ethics and compliance professionals, connecting me with a wide array of in-house professionals, compliance consultants and compliance-related vendors worldwide. As a result, my network has grown exponentially, and I am proud to now be a part of a very generous, supportive, diverse and global community of ethics and compliance professionals.
Since the pandemic, ethics and compliance content has been made readily available and I’ve taken full advantage to build upon my compliance industry knowledge by participating in webinars, lectures, conferences, and podcasts on a weekly basis. As a result, I’ve also been able to keep up my Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP-I, CCEP) designations.
During these last months, I have found my voice. An essay that I wrote was chosen by the Great Women in Compliance team (Mary Shirley and Lisa Fine) to be published in their book, Sending the Elevator Back Down. I was empowered by this experience and I was energized by the influx of feedback. We all have our own unique methods of expression, and while I found mine to be through the written word, I encourage you to find yours.
As to the actual task of looking for my next opportunity, I do what many others do, and I pursue leads from my network and respond to job postings via LinkedIn. I always leverage connections. While there are many great ethics and compliance jobs posted daily, particularly since the new year, I pay particular attention to the nuance in the job description to target only the most relevant opportunities. A few executive coaches have reached out to me, but I personally have not pursued this avenue.
Since that day back in September, I’ve lived with a steady dose of uncertainty and oscillated between self-confidence and self-doubt, but I’ve also pushed myself beyond my comfort zone and have taken risks I never imagined taking. The pandemic has been with us for nearly a year, my 29th birthday is just around the corner (again) and my story is still unfinished. Yet, in the spirit of “it takes a village” to find the right job, I offer my story to the collective of shared stories of the larger ethics & compliance community.
About the Author: Lisa Schor Babin spent 17 years at Dun & Bradstreet, most recently in the role of Global Compliance & Ethics Leader reporting to the Chief Compliance Officer. Lisa is a passionate and committed leader and advocate for promoting and rewarding personal and organizational integrity, ethical leadership, transparency, and accountability. Lisa is a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional – International (CCEP-I) and Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP) since 2014. Lisa has three children, and is an active community volunteer, tennis and pickleball player, and avid reader and movie lover.