I am going to level with you, I got into HR by happenstance. I was a team leader who was promoted to Corporate Trainer with nothing but a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Knowing that I needed more, I attended the Ohio State University, where I earned a Master’s in HR and Labor Relations. I wanted to be a Manager and then Director and then someday VP of HR. But as life would have it, that didn’t pan out for me. I could blame a number of things or make a million excuses but that’s not my style. You play the hand you were dealt. Eventually, after working as a Generalist, Benefit Specialists, IT Analyst, and HR Consultant, I became a Resume Writer (that’s a longer story for another article).
I’m mansplaining my career to you because it’s ironic to me that now, as a Resume Writer, I am happier than just about everyone I know (as it relates to work). I won’t name, names but trust me, I have written the resumes for hundreds (and that’s no lie) of HR professionals. Some just wanting a new gig, some wanting to get out, some wanting to move up, and some that are trapped. As I spill this human resource professional tea, I can literally only think of 5 people that I know, who are in HR and are totally happy with their current title, salary, boss, and duties. Five….out of hundreds.
Why is that? Well, for as great as HR is, there are also so tough parts. For instance, every HR person (at some point in their career) has been asked to “sweep something under the rug”, pay a minority (race or gender) less than white male, or find a way to protect the company against something that is totally wrong. It happens to us all. It is particularly difficult for those of us who happen to be minorities in HR because we know how it feels to be wronged and told that it’s not wrong, but only our imaginations. We as minorities in HR, enter the field thinking we are going to effect change, however that usually doesn’t happen. Imagine going to work and having to explain to a team of white people why natural hair is not offensive. Or why having fried chicken brought into the office as a cultural experience is kinda racist. Or why just because a brother comes work in a car with 20″ rims doesn’t mean he’s rich, or a banger. I could go on…but I won’t.
As a Resume Writer, I am part counselor and people share with me their frustrations, so I know the REAL deal, no matter what you see online or at the conferences. Why is employee engagement below 35%? Because we are all looking for the next best thing. It’s hard to be focused on what’s in front of you with your mind on what’s next for you.
For all the hopes and dreams I had as a young HR guy, I still have them now. First of all, I love HR too, especially when it’s done right. When I do get to talk to totally happy HR people, I get jealous, but in a good way. I am happy for them and wish everyone else could be happy like that too. Second, I am my own boss and HR did that for me. Third, I am connected to great group of generous friends in HR who have been fantastic to me so I just try to pay it forward.
It is my hope that you do not take away from this post that HR is a bad profession…it is not. It’s the one profession where everyday you have an opportunity to change someone’s life.
HR is just like rose, in order for it to bloom and for you to see it’s full beauty and potential, it has to go through a little dirt and manure first.