Did you find HR or did HR find you?
It’s an interesting field we’re in and this is a question I like to ask HR people. How the heck did we wind up here in the first place? I like to say that I found HR. I was managing a department for a non-profit organization and considering the salary I felt like a non-profit myself. So I did an analysis of every aspect of my job (not even realizing that this was a very HR-like activity) and found that all the parts of the job I liked fell under an umbrella called human resources. Before I started this process I don’t think I even knew there was such a field. But I did my own recruiting and training for the department, handled whatever issues arose among the team, restructured responsibilities according to people’s abilities, and did the occasional termination. I was an HR person before I even knew it. So I went back to school to complete the transition and twenty-five years later, here I am.
I’ve met a lot of other people who seemed to have fallen, meandered, or been pushed into HR because of what was going on in their organization. There was the accountant who was as good with people as she was with numbers so when the HR Manager at her firm left they told her she was now running that department along with her own. I know a couple of office managers who, as their organizations grew, morphed into HR positions simply because they knew everyone and had processed everyone’s paperwork. Admin assistants have managed this same trick, often via benefits because they’re the ones who helped everyone fill out the forms.
The path to HR is not cut and dried. It’s certainly evolved from the days when all Personnel had to do was make sure that everyone got paid on time and there was plenty of cold beer and watermelon at the company picnic. Our profession has gotten more specialized yet it sometimes seems that there are as many ways to become an HR professional as there are HR professionals. More and more people study human resources in college or graduate school and certification is both a path and a goal. And yet at conferences I still meet a lot of people who say, “I never planned to be in HR.”
So how did you wind up in HR? Please share your story below because there’s a lot we can learn from each other’s journey.
Only the best,