From Lifesaver to Fresenius Recruiter: Dan’s Story
For Dan, helping others through his career was only half of the equation – saving the life of his friend was the other half. Dan became a kidney donor to a close friend, which is what inspired him to join Fresenius.
How long have you been working here?
A little over three months.
How did you get into recruiting and how did you get to Fresenius Medical Care?
Nobody goes to school and says, “I want to be a recruiter when I grow up.” I fell in love with it because it was an opportunity to help people. The first person I ever placed was a guy working in a Bagel Factory making $6.50 an hour, and he wrote me a letter telling me how I changed his life. I thought that was awesome and I kind of fell in love with the industry. I was an IT recruiter for about 10 years on the agency side and it just burned me out. It was getting to be more about the money than the people. I decided to look at something more fulfilling. I stumbled on Fresenius and I didn’t even really realize what I was interviewing for until I was here. You still have that feeling of helping people, but on a more personal level – and that’s what attracted me here.
Tell me about the story of your friend and how you got involved.
It was all accidental, actually. He’s never on Facebook and I’m never there, either. Randomly one day, I popped on and he had something posted, which is rare. He said he was sick and was reaching out to people to see if anyone would be a match for an organ donor. If they were interested, just contact him. I thought about it for a couple of days. I just wanted to do something for somebody. I called him and we hadn’t talked for probably about 10 years. I asked him what I needed to do. We started going through the testing. We found out that I was a 72 match. 72 percent match is pretty high.
I was still living in North Carolina back then, and he was in New York. I told him I was ready to do this whenever, so I flew back to New York for more testing. He found out he had a mass in his stomach that had to be removed. He thought it was cancerous. It wasn’t, but the doctors said we had to wait five more years before we could do anything because they wanted to make sure there was no cancer.
About three years had gone by and he was getting sicker. He had about 18 percent of kidney function left, so he was on dialysis often. Doctors said they thought he was pretty much a lost cause. So he found a Pittsburgh hospital, which was kind of a blessing since it was one of the better ones in the country for doing transplants. They tested him and said yeah, you’re good. So they involved me, they got in contact and I flew out to Pittsburgh a couple times for more testing until I was approved.
How is he doing now?
Dan's green ribbon tattoo is in honor of
his friend, to whom he donated a kidney.
He’s doing well. One of the things I remember most about the aftermath of the surgery is that it was the first day of the hospital, and we walked like 90-year-old men because of the pain. I walked down to his room, and he’s standing up watching TV, and I asked how he was doing. He said this was the longest he had stood for 10 years. They called it a super kidney because it began working immediately and was a lot bigger than they thought it would be.
But he’s done great. He’s now able to play with his four kids. He’s able to play sports with them again. I talk to him at least once a week, and anytime I’m in New York, I go and have dinner with the family. I’ve met his kids; I’d never met his kids before that. We keep in touch constantly and he’s doing really well.
What would you tell others about working at Fresenius Medical Care?
Working here has been amazing. In only three months I feel like I’ve never worked anywhere where I can ask so many questions and everyone helps out. Everybody works together and they’re very inviting to new people. Everybody wants everyone here to succeed. It’s not like the environment I came from before; it was all competition and who’s going to make more money. Here, it’s like we’re all in this together. We all want to find the best people to help sick people. Management here has been awesome. Jackie is probably the best manager I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with a lot. She’s been amazing the way she can handle everything, and the emotion she puts into the job.
What were some of the things you learned in the interview that got you excited about the job here?
I didn’t know the full gauge of what the company actually offered people. I didn’t realize that this company was actually the one that took care of my friend when he was sick and on dialysis. We were in the interview and it kind of all registered where I was and who I was talking to and I kind of I got excited. When I told Jackie my story, she got emotional and it clicked that it was a big deal. It’s hard to describe, but it kind of just hit me that [working here] is probably something that should happen and that I wanted to happen. A full circle sort of thing.
The first thing that caught my eye was obviously dialysis. I knew that [my friend] had just gone through all of that. Coming out of my surgery was very life-changing, and I wanted to take a different route – to do something that involved dialysis to learn more about what he went through and, in general, what people do. After dealing with the nurses that I dealt with, the overall experience made me want to work a little closer with it and learn more about it. I actually almost thought about going back to school to be a nurse afterwards. But I’m a recruiter. It made me feel like I wanted to do more and not get stuck in same thing I had been doing for years, which is the agency recruiting and people who didn’t really care. I wanted to talk to people who wanted to make a difference.
What are you most proud about?
Something I’m proud of is not a personal accomplishment. It’s not a goal that I’ve had, or a number that I’ve hit, or a bonus that I get; it’s making that phone call to somebody that I’ve got an offer for. When I’m done extending the offer they are so excited. You can tell when somebody is smiling on the other end of the phone. It feels good to know that these people are really excited about what they are about to do. I feel like they have the same mindset as I do in that they’re about to go out and make a difference in the world somehow, and that’s how I feel. I feel like that&rsq uo;s an accomplishment every time I get to extend an offer to somebody and that’s the reaction that I get.
What do you wish more people knew about Fresenius?
I wish that people knew just how thorough they are, how extensive the training program is. The nurses, PCTs, anybody that comes into the organization is going to get the best training, and I didn’t realize that until I started hiring people and I knew what they had to go through and the extent of the program. You’re not going to get that with any other company, you just don’t. It goes back to everybody hoping everybody succeeds. You can ask a question of anybody about anything and they are always helpful. And we all work together to make sure everybody knows what they are doing and does it correctly.