A note from a reader.

I found your old blog, The Cynical Girl, and I read your final post that you wrote on your birthday.

It’s my birthday of all days. You said to reach out so here I am.

Most days, I feel like my work in HR is slowly sucking the life out of me. Can you offer suggestions or enlightenment on how to get past these feelings of drudgery towards this career path I’ve chosen or how to jump into something else. This is not the place that I can see myself in another five years, but feel completely lost when it comes to career changes. I have been in HR for nine years, two months and about eight days. I don’t have experience in much else. I don’t feel qualified for many other jobs. Suggestions? Should I just go back to old posts on the Cynical Girl and find some encouragement?

Let’s work backwards. You should always go back and read posts on The Cynical Girl. You probably won’t find encouragement, but you will find common sense advice.

You don’t have to work in human resources just because you’ve been in HR for nine years, two months and about eight days. You can do anything: be a hooker, work in a Chinese coal mine, or work in marketing. It’s all the same. When you aren’t responsible for writing your paycheck, you will always give up a certain level of control and be accountable to someone else. And in the majority of those situations, owners and colleagues will be assholes.

What’s worse is that modern media shops like Forbes and Fast Company make money by telling you that you need to find fulfillment in your career. I think it’s awesome when you can make money, do something that isn’t morally bankrupt, but still have time for a hobby. So get a hobby ASAP.

But if you can’t see yourself in HR in five years, and you don’t have any other skills, it’s time to develop some skills. Does your company offer tuition assistance? Take full advantage of it. Can you volunteer your time on a not-for-profit board of directors? You’ll learn a lot. Do that. Can you open up an Etsy shop or do something fun on the side to earn cash? I made the jump from HR lady to full-time writer by blogging and running Google Ads, and eventually bigger ads, on my blog.

And if something is slowly sucking the life out of you (e.g., your job, your family, marriage), you have two choices.

  1. You can stop the bleeding,
  2. or you can die a miserable and gangrenous death.

Who wants to die? Here are some small ideas to begin the march forward towards your new life.

* Wake up 15 minutes early and use that time to connect with new people on LinkedIn and the social web.
* Research other companies and reach out to their HR leaders. Ask for an informational interview.
* Volunteer. Teach. Learn something new.
* Start walking during lunch. Be alone. Be quiet. Stimulate endorphins and slowly begin to overcome your career dysthymia.
* Make someone else happy. Take yourself and your career less seriously. Take your obligation to improve the lives of other people more seriously.

Change doesn’t happen with a flip of a switch. Make a commitment to do one small thing every single day that a) brings you a little joy and b) makes someone else’s life better. It is amazing what happens when we shift our focus away from our own pain and think about how we make a positive impact on the world and the lives of other people.

I hate human resources. I get your ennui, as well. Good luck, and let’s connect on your next birthday!

3 Responses to I Hate Human Resources
  1. […] your job isn’t your everything and that you just need to find a hobby that makes you happy. (...
  2. RMSmithJr.SPHR

    HR is not and never about you. You are in a career field that serves other human resources, including yourself. We, the professionals of HR touch other peoples lives in truly intimate ways – their paycheck & their benefits. No one is ever truly happy about either, including yourself. No one else can or will do what we do, perhaps even you.

    Not only that, we serve and protect the company in endless ways from the endless and burgeoning compliance perspective. Get active and edgy here. Push back and sometimes, you can even change things. I have.

    On a good day, you make someone else’s day with an offer of employment. Their euphoric acceptance needs to be honored with authentic sincerity. I get to make a job offer tomorrow, I can’t wait!

    As has been said, find a hobby to balance the critical nature of the human resources profession. (remember, we even have our own cartoon character – CatBert.) I find solace in writing, reading and most of all, fine art photography.

    I wish you well.

  3. Jackie

    I agree totally with Mr. Smith, this isn’t about you, it is about your customers, (the employees)….You are in a very unique position, to truly make a difference every single day in someones life. Wow – you need to think outside the box here with this opporunity you have of being a “serviant leader”….to those employees. It means going outside yourself…there are hundreds of ways you can make a difference in lives. Outside of the employee’s and focusing on the employer you work for, get out there and start building relationships with other HR folks. Build consortiums together with them, to aid in training the workforce….I personally have spent years searching and securing grant funding from different sources and state agencies, to bring funds that provided for a Employee Wellness Program, Leadership Training, Safety Training, equipment training, the sky is the limit!! It is rewarding, it helps the employees, it helps the company, it helps you….there are all kinds of different HR partnerships out there, research it, make it happen, and you will find that you will be challenged and actually enjoy coming into work each day.