I was going to go to the gym this morning. I still might time permitting.
I changed my plans because I felt compelled to write a blog about my career. I promise it will become funnier, but first, I have to set the boring stage. When most people think of Human Resources, they usually 1) don’t know what it’s really about, 2) think of HR as the organization’s police officers or principal’s office 3) call it Personnel (that one really grinds my gears), or 4) have never even heard of it (this one elicits the blank stares when people ask what you do so you have to qualify it with a short explanation). In fact, there was an article awhile back called, “Why We Hate HR.” It pissed off a lot of people I know and the author later clarified and apologized. Don’t mess with HR buddy.
I have been an HR professional for almost 5 years. Let me say that there is a difference between people who work in HR and HR professionals. As a professional, I have two degrees in my field, am an active member in a professional association (SHRM), have two professional certifications in my field, know and live by the SHRM Ethical and Professional Standards, and most importantly, am passionate about my profession (being passionate is having strong feelings about something, these can be positive or negative). So people who work in HR usually show up to work and go home and that’s about it. HR professionals, we’re a little different.
How did I get here? Did I say, “When I grow up, I want to be in HR.”? Not in so many words. The funny thing is, some genius caught on to that and made the hilarious video at the bottom, which I’ll discuss later. So back to me, after all, this is my blog. Ok, so I didn’t say that or did I? I think if we look closely enough, we can see that there were many signs leading me to this crazy path.
Scene: First grade, Mrs. Russey’s class. Amanda is chosen to take attendance every day.
Sign: Early sign of trending absenteeism.
Scene: Elementary school age. Amanda enjoys filling out forms, any forms, forms that mean nothing to her. Amanda enjoys filling in blanks.
Sign: Strangely enough, in some sick and twisted way, Amanda still enjoys completing forms. This was practice for her future.
Scene: Elementary school age, summer time at the babysitters. Much to the other children’s dismay, Amanda creates a schedule each day. Each minute is accounted for to include snacks and meals, playtime, rest time and school work time. Amanda assigns school work to each kid (remember, it’s the summer!).
Sign: An early administrator (this also may shed some light on Amanda’s work as an Adjunct Professor) and an interest in organizational behavior. And then there’s the bossy know-it-all, oldest child thing.
Scene: Elementary school age, front yard. Amanda’s mom has hired neighborhood boys to work in the yard. She tells Amanda to ask the boys if they’re using their enthusiasm. Snotty Amanda doesn’t know what enthusiasm is, but proceeds to ask anyway. The boys never let her forget this by always asking, “Are you using your enthusiasm?” in the most annoying voice possible.
Sign: Early signs of performance management.
Scene: Fifth grade, Mac Arthur Elementary school. Amanda is promoted from first grade classroom attendance keeper to doing attendance for the whole school. This challenging position required Amanda to walk around to each classroom.
Sign: More tracking of absenteeism and maybe leave of absences? Either way, a cool way to get out of class for a few minutes.
Scene: Mid school age, Taft Middle School. Amanda is a Peer Mediator.
Sign: Early preparation for employee relations issues and investigations.
Scene: Eighth grade, Taft Middle School. Price Club (now known as Costco) holds a mock-job contest for eighth graders. The contest involves completing a resume and application and interviewing for a position. The prize is a fun day at Price Club complete with a tour, a real-life name badge, making pizza in their pizza kitchen, and lunch at Garduno’s. Many will enter, few will win (five including, you guessed it, Amanda).
Sign: Is it really necessary to explain? Resume writing, application, interview, etc.
Scene: Senior year, conversation with parents about college. Amanda’s parents suggest Human Resources. They explain what it is and say that Amanda is pretty good at working with people and has good organizational skills. Amanda naively says, “Ok, that sounds good.”
Sign: Guess Amanda’s parents knew her pretty well, although, you never say you want to do HR because you like working with people (I can’t really explain why here, but if you ask, I’ll tell you) and her organizational skills leave something to be desired. You can also tell that Amanda knew with conviction that this was it. In retrospect, she was lucky that HR worked out so well even though she has some other careers in mind.
Okay back to first person, third sounded pretty cool for the flashbacks. I started college. Didn’t like it too much at first and didn’t do too well. When I finally got into business school, I started to really like it and to do well. I began taking classes in my major and became involved with SHRM. I was the shy girl who went to the meeting and said nothing, but kept coming back. By the next year, I was President. The funny thing is, as is true in most cases, college does not fully prepare you for really working in the field, and yet, I was still all jazzed about HR without even knowing what it was really like.
I won’t go into my jobs, which have been two internships and my current job. Of course, some have provided better experience than others, but I learned something from all of them. I’ve never stopped being involved with my professional association and have never stopped learning. There are highs and lows. I look back at all of the signs that pointed me here and really it was the skills that were developing then that I use now.
Basic math skills helped prepare me for payroll and compensation issues. Cashiering in high school helped prepare me for providing good customer service. Leading two student organizations helped prepare me for facilitating training, leading discussions, leading others, and just speaking in front of large groups. Most of all, life helped me prepare for critical thinking and problem solving.
To be honest, I probably have a lot of work to still do. That also makes me think about the fact that the average person (nowadays) will change careers a couple times. What will I do next? Go back to school, teach more, stay at home, volunteer, or do some other different job?
For now, I am a Human Resources professional. It’s certainly not for everyone or even most people, but it’s always interesting. I didn’t write this to list all of the things I’ve done. In fact, I’ll be the first to say that there are others who are better and I still have a long way to go. No one’s perfect right? I mostly wrote this because these are some things that have been on my mind and I wanted to get them outta there. Guess, I needed to make some space for new blog ideas.
With all of that said, I’d like to share one of the most hilarious videos I’ve seen in awhile. I think this video is especially funny for those of us in HR, but probably anyone can get a chuckle or two out of it.
Enjoy! And if you’ve actually read this whole thing, thanks. I appreciate your interest (or time to kill). To all of my friends, I hope that whatever career you choose, it brings you moments of happiness until you 1) win the lotto and don’t have to work anymore, 2) find a sugar daddy or momma and don’t have to work anymore or 3) decide to become a vagabond and don’t have to work anymore.
P.S. Should I go to the gym? Guess I’ll try. Boo!
P.P.S. Update: I went to the gym.