I try to pay attention to how and why people come to visit my blog. Many come because I have invited them to. Others, generally from countries other than the US, arrive via Google or some other search engine. Often the search terms are things like organizational charts, unions, employee relations, employee excuses and generational differences (a BIG one.) Yesterday however, one showed up that really intrigued me. So I used it as my title for today…. “reasons to be proud you are in HR.”
It got me to thinking. Is this someone who is struggling with their own job? Or are they thinking about getting into HR and want to see if anyone is proud of what they do? Then I got to thinking about myself. Like many HR people my age (I am mid-US Baby Boom) I sort of “fell into HR.” I did not pursue it intitially as a career. In fact I started out in college with the desire to be a primatologist with a Ph.D. in Comparative Psychology studying primate learning. But like many others I got derailed by life and found myself looking for work, with too much education and not enough work experience (unless I was applying at a zoo.) I went to an employment agency and tried to get them to help me. They could not (no background to sell), but they saw something and offered me a job there trying to place clerical candidates. I disliked the work, but I enjoyed dealing with the people in HR (actually it was personnel at that time) that I talked to on the phone.
Eventually I ended up in an HR department, oops.. Personnel Department, and started my career in HR. It has now been far longer than I would have ever expected. But the search phrase gave me reason to look back over that career and reflect. Did I have reasons to be proud I was in HR?
The answer was decidedly YES. Though there are some things, well many things, I don’t like about HR as a profession there are many things I am proud of. These include:
- Knowing I made a difference in someone’s career by recognizing them as having talent and recruiting them to my company.
- Seeing someone I recruited progress to mid-level and senior-level executive postions.
- Knowing someone improved their ability by taking the advice and training I gave them.
- Knowing I have kept my company out of trouble by making decisions on not hiring or firing at the appropriate time.
- Knowing that I have been able to make people OK with themselves even though they may not have been successful in their jobs and thus lost them.
- Knowing that I have educated many professionals that went on and successfully got PHR and SPHR certification.
- Knowing that I have helped HR departments “see the light” with strategic alignment and helped them get their managers to “see the light.”
- Knowing that over the span of my time in HR I have made more “right” decisions than I have made “wrong” decisions.
I could probably keep on and name a few more and could probably name some times I have not been proud to be in HR as well. But in the totality of the situation it has been a good career and will continue to be.
So, if at times you wonder about this yourself make a list and you may be pleasantly suprised. In sales there is an old technique called the Ben Franklin Balance Sheet. You list the positives on one side and the negatives on the other in order to show someone why they should by your product. Well do the same thing with your HR career. Make a balance sheet. If you have more positives then be happy. If you have more negatives, well then perhaps a bit more soul searching needs to be done to improve your situation.
What does your balance sheet look like?