Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Why “Research Goddess”?
February 2, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Rants, Recruiting, Research, Thoughts

“Research Goddess” is a silly nickname that was assigned to me nearly 4 years ago. The story behind how it came to pass is pretty interesting, so let me share with it with you and put to rest any notion that its meaning is anything more than completely fun and innocent.

When I left my first internet research job, which I held for 4 years, I also left a sizable internet research community via a listserv (numbering near 500 participants). As it was a proprietary listserv, I was no longer allowed access to it. I started my blog in order to stay connected to several of these researchers as well as to meet new people outside of that community. My first blog, by the way, was called “SPI Research” (now simply a placeholder), NOT Research Goddess. Research Goddess came about after I had conversations with Joel Cheesman and Jim Stroud. Joel informed me that I needed to create a memorable identity (as he did with Cheezhead), and Jim told me it would be in my best interest not to tie my blog directly to the company for which I worked at the time. He told me it would be hard to continue with the blog title “SPI Research” if I ever left SearchPath International, which I eventually did a year later.

Jim and I played around with some new possible blog titles on the phone one day, most of which I cannot recall now. In jest, I threw out “Research Goddess” and the line went silent. I thought at first I’d lost the connection, or that it was a horrible idea, but then I heard an enthusiastic “That’s awesome!!” from Jim. I chuckled, stating that it was just a joke, but Jim insisted that it was a great blog title and a memorable one at that. To this day, whenever Jim calls me or I call him, he always greets me with “Hello, Goddess!” It makes me giggle that he still does this, as it’s all in good fun.

As months turned into years, the nickname stuck. In fact, when I go to conferences now, I usually introduce myself and then throw in “I write Research Goddess”, and only then do I get the “Ohhhh, I know who you are!” responses. I am almost better known by my silly pseudonym than I am by my real name. What this tells me is 1) it’s a memorable nickname, but 2) I need to do a better job of tying who I really am in with the nickname. Working on that…

As a test to those of you reading this, here are a couple of other popular ‘nicknames’ of people you might recognize:

  • The Sourceress
  • The Searchologist
  • Cincy Recruiter
  • HR Bartender
  • The Recruiter Guy
  • The Red Recruiter
  • Recruiting Animal
  • MN Headhunter

While you may not know their real names off the top of your head, you recognize the names and know that each has a niche or a gimmick that is recognized and understood. That’s one of the important parts of creating a memorable identity for yourself. And one of the reasons “Research Goddess” has stuck to me.

Does it mean I believe I am a goddess? Heck no. I’m just another girl in this game, trying to learn and grow just like the rest of you, while sharing my thoughts with this little community. And quite honestly, for those of you who know me, I mean REALLY know me, you know that pretentious, selfish, or conceited are not words that describe me. Opinionated, yes. You’ll never have to wonder where I stand on issues. But having an opinion does not equate to being full of oneself.

If you think that the nickname “Research Goddess” means that I think I am an expert or a guru of sorts, please talk to any of my peers and learn otherwise. I will say that I feel blessed to have had opportunities cross my path that have enabled me to learn and develop my skills. As such, I do believe I have a decent grasp on good research techniques as well as some application of social media technologies when it comes to sourcing. Also, I believe my peers will tell you that I certainly have earned any praise that I have received. I believe I’ve worked hard and contributed some value to this industry, and I hope I’ve done a good job of paying it forward as well. BUT… I know I still have SO much to learn, and you will never hear me say anything to infer that I feel I’ve ‘arrived’. EVER.

If after having talked to my peers you still believe there is a conceited, pretentious, or conniving underlying purpose for my blog and my nickname, I strongly urge you to leave a comment here. Or call me directly – (360) 389-3227 – and let’s talk. Give me your thoughts as to why you believe this of me, and make some constructive suggestions for alternatives. I’m open to all ideas if you think I should take another direction. All I ask is that you don’t judge me or my intentions until you get to know me.

In the end, you’re certainly entitled to think whatever you want to about me. But I believe my work, my track record, and my peers’ experiences with me speak louder than anything else. I hope this sheds some light on the whole ‘research goddess’ thing. It’s just a stupid nickname, but it helps people recognize and remember me. And in my book, that’s a good thing.


The Iceberg of Success
October 7, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Rants

This post is gonna get kind of ranty. Consider yourselves warned. 🙂

When you look at an iceberg, you’re seeing only a small portion of the whole iceberg above the water. In fact, it’s estimated that as much as 80-90% of an iceberg is below the surface of the water. You never see 80-90% of the iceberg. Success is much the same. When you look at someone who has achieved it, you’re only seeing a small portion of what’s behind it. You don’t see humble beginnings, taking chances and failing, bankruptcies, or wrong choices. So it’s easy to attribute someone’s success to “luck” or some other ridiculous excuse as to why they’re there and you’re not.

Luck happens when opportunity meets preparedness. Success is found traveling a narrow, difficult, and rarely traversed road. For this reason alone, not many people achieve true success. In the Declaration of Independence, we are guaranteed the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What we are NOT guaranteed is happiness itself. If you choose to pursue it, you have the opportunity and the freedom to do so. But it does NOT mean that you’ll necessarily find it. I think a lot of people today feel like they have a right to happiness. But if it were handed to you without having to work for it, you would neither appreciate it nor place appropriate value on it. That’s why success and happiness must be worked for.

We look at others who are deemed successful – people like Bill Gates, Anne Mulcahy (former CEO of Xerox), Warren Buffet, Vera Wang, and others, and see what we consider finished products, people who’ve amassed incredible wealth and success in their careers. What we so often do not see are the years and years of learning, hardship, trial and error, and failure, which got these people to where they’re at. And what many so often sadly do is judge, and even resent, the success these people have achieved simply because they’ve achieved it, saying things like “They ought to be giving more to charity” or “It’s just wrong for someone to make that much money”.

Give me a freakin’ break. Take off your robe and put down your gavel and take a look in the mirror instead.

The only reason you say that is because it’s not YOU. If YOU were in that position of success, you would applaud the success of others instead of resenting it. The people who wag their fingers in the face of successful people and tell them how ‘selfish’ they are, how they aren’t ‘doing their part’  to give back to society, or that it’s a sin for someone to have so much, are probably not doing a whole lot themselves. The reason I say this is that every successful person I’ve ever met in my life knows how hard it is to work toward and reach goals, and they respect those who’ve set and achieved goals and found personal success. They don’t sit around coveting what others have or declaring that it’s not deserved; they go out and get it for themselves.

I’ll get really transparent here. The fact of the matter is that I’ve been at the low end of the totem pole. I’ve been in situations where I literally had $6 to my name, and that had to last me through the end of the month and had to put gas in my car to get to work and food on my plate. I’ve been in the situation where I racked up a large amount of credit card debt from making poor choices. I had academic scholarships to pay for my college tuition, but I had to work a full-time job all through school to pay for room and board because my mother had no income for the entire first year I was in school due to a serious work injury and Worker’s Comp’s refusal to handle the situation (another topic for another time). I’ve had to work two jobs, 16 hours a day, 6 days a week to save enough to move out on my own. I’ve had to couch-surf at my brother’s place because I couldn’t afford to rent my own apartment for two months after I moved to Cincinnati. And I am grateful for every single one of these difficult situations in my life because it made me appreciate reaching my goals that much more. I rose above my situations and found my own success. I’m not done yet, but I’m pretty damned proud of where I’ve gotten to today.

As a result, I am someone who believes that achievement, not entitlement, should be rewarded. This ‘Robin Hood’ mentality that so many have today I think is misguided. People who have taken steps to better their lifestyle and are currently in a place where they are seeing the fruits of their labor should not be penalized (like being taxed a third of their income) for doing so. None of us is guaranteed happiness. We’re guaranteed the right to pursue it. Some choose to pursue it, others don’t. And those who choose to pursue it are all at different points in their pursuit. Some are at the beginning and still struggling, but they have hope. Others have achieved some goals and should be allowed to enjoy what they’ve accomplished. I dislike when people take a look at, and then choose to criticize, an end product and don’t ever take into consideration the time and heartache that went into achieving that success. We all have to start somewhere.

The quote at the bottom of my email signature says ‘Remember where you came from, and always reach back.’ I have the honor and privilege of giving back from my own abundance to some wonderful causes that encourage and uplift people to help them get through tough times and achieve success again in their lives. I am inspired by people who struggle, and fail, but who get back up and make things work. I’ve worked very hard to get where I am and I will not apologize for what I have, nor will I be made to feel guilty for it either.

In my honest opinion, those who complain about how unfair it is for some people to achieve and be rewarded for that achievement while others struggle don’t have any aspirations of getting any further than where they are today and are just looking for someone to blame for their lack of drive. You cannot look at another’s success and judge them based only on what you see. Behind that success inevitably is a story of struggle, and a person who appreciates the hard work it took to get where they’re at, as well as a person who generally wants to assist others in finding similar success.

If you’re currently in that place where you’re struggling – keep moving forward. You’re going to fail sometimes, but you must get back up and continue. When you achieve your goals, the reward we be that much sweeter. And look to those who’ve achieved success not with resentment or jealousy, but as a source of inspiration. After all, they were once where you are.

Virtual Balls
August 31, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Rants

I was moody all last week. A colleague suggested that it’s due to me missing the joys of the experiences I had while I was in Nicaragua earlier this month. I would agree with that, but there’s more to it than just that….

Several years ago, my brother shared a phrase with me that has stuck in my mind, and I’ve used it several times to describe some rather crass behavior that I, and I am sure you, have observed online since this whole social media thing really started becoming popular:

On Thursday of last week, I asked a simple question via LinkedIn Answers, inquiring about the Facebook app use of college students. I initially only received 2 responses, one of which was incredibly patronizing from a guy I’ll call Bruce:

“Have you tried GOOGLE?… Are you aware that this is LINKEDIN, a professional website with a totally different target market than that of FB?”

Gee thanks there buddy. I appreciate the condescending tone.

  1. I am well aware of the platform in which I am presenting this question. It’s an online network, like Facebook. My assumption was that some of the folks who use LinkedIn just might also use Facebook. Anyone else agree with this theory?
  2. If Mr. Bruce had bothered to look at my profile, he’d have noticed that I’ve got a little experience doing research, so yeah I’ve heard of that thing called “Google”. One thing I’ve learned through my experience is that to get the best research, you have to use several different sources. And – sometimes the best information is gathered from end users, NOT the company pushing the product… i.e. the college students I was targeting with my question.

My guess is that if I had asked this question in person, Brucey here would not have used that kind of implied pompous tone in his response. But because he’s sitting there behind his computer screen, he feels comfortable puffing out his chest and responding with this air of arrogance that unfortunately seems to be a common occurrence these days. He’s got some virtual balls. Anyone else noticing this? People saying things online that they’d absolutely never say to someone’s face? What’s up with that?

My mother taught me a lesson when I was a little girl: Treat others as you’d want them to treat you. I think that’s in the Bible in some form somewhere, as well 🙂 If someone’s asking a question, try to play nice in the sandbox and don’t respond with a jerky, snarky response. Or don’t respond at all.

My thoughts on this topic are:

  • If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t send it in an email, post it in a forum, or text it to their phone.
  • Pick up the phone once in awhile to have a real conversation instead of texting.
  • Remember that just because you’re not in front of them doesn’t give you license to be a complete jerk.

Sidenote: if your LinkedIn profile is written in 3rd person, you might be a narcissist.

So for full disclosure, I did send a private response to ol’ Brucey (though posting it here I guess doesn’t really make it private anymore now does it!) thanking him for his advice. Don’t worry; if I ever have the pleasure of meeting him in person, I’d have no problem saying this to him:

“Thank you for that helpful advice and kind tone, Bruce. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed that those who are connected in some degree with me, a professional researcher, here on LinkedIn (an online network), would also be users of Facebook (also an online network) and might therefore be able to offer up a useful response. Silly me!”