The story of my human resource management career rolls merrily along…

Well, it happened. I knew the day was coming, and it is finally here. My manager recently announced her plan to go to part-time and semi-retire from the company, and with her support I was moved to be the lead of all HR/recruiting activities at Pinnacle. It’s a big bump in responsibility (I now report to the CEO, which comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities), and I am very excited about what is in store over the coming months.

Getting my feet under me

First, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the idea that I no longer have a mentor and sounding board to look up to. My manager was the best leader I’ve ever worked for in my life, and I am really going to miss her. My new manager is also a great leader, but in a very different kind of way (visionary, makes the tough calls, etc.).

Second, I’ve been looking at the to-do list that has been hanging out there on my whiteboard for a few months. Those major initiatives are no longer shared responsibilities–it’s all on me. I either get them done and we succeed as an organization, or I don’t get them done and we have some unpleasant consequences. Plenty of you have been in that place, but it’s still a shock to jump into it without warning.

Third, I have been looking at the team dynamics. I’m no longer reporting to someone who reports to the CEO. I’m on the team of go-to people for the major functions within the organization-contracts, program managers, security, accounting, etc. That team lost a great contributor and added a few more to take on her functions, but only time will tell how that will change affects the leadership of the organization.

“Opportunities for improvement”

When I was considering the position offered to me, I asked my previous manager what she saw as my hurdles in the new role. The answers didn’t really surprise me, and they definitely galvanized me to start preparing myself more for what sure is to come. Potential issues:

  • Youth-I expected this one, but I have yet to see where it’s hampered me thus far (other than just the occasional lack of raw experience to deal with new scenarios). Like I’ve said before (how to move up in your career), if you can kick butt at the level of work you are given, you’ll be given more challenging work.
  • Communication-I am much better at writing than speaking. In other words, my brain processes things much more efficiently through my fingers than through my lips. However, the opportunities for face-to-face conversation are going to drastically increase in this position, and I need to get better at thinking on my feet. I’m actually working on a new post on that topic and hope to share it soon.
  • Attention to detail-It might surprise you, but I’m not a detail-oriented person. I can get things done and check the block for what I need, but I’m much more of a creative thinker. I’ve had to force some level of organization on myself and that will continue to be a priority for me in the coming months.

Sorry that today is all about me! I’ve been meaning to kick out at least a note on the new position, and time keeps getting away from me. I hope the thought process I’ve gone through is helpful for those who are on the bench waiting to be called to the big leagues. It’s a big leap, but with the right preparation and support, you can be successful in your new role. I’m looking forward to the new ideas this position generates and what I can share through my interactions with the C-level leadership in my organization .

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  • 23 thoughts on “Is Human Resource Management a Good Career? (Yep!)

    1. Congrats dude!!! Only advice, if you even want it, in the area of Communication is to find 3 people you can count on: 1 person outside of HR within your company, 1 person outside of HR in your company, and 1 person in HR with another company similar to yours.

      Use them as a barometer to run scenarios by that you are facing. This helps to check and balance against what is being done right in and out of your company as well as check to be sure you are not crazy all the time with your thinking.

      Good luck!

    2. Ben,

      Congratulations — I’m so happy for you! It will take a little while to adjust to your new role–and your new voice in the company–but I know that you’ll thrive! (You’re clearly already thinking about the kinds of things that you need to be thinking about).

      One small thought (it’s not specific to taking on a new role, but it might be helpful just in general) … Don’t feel the pressure to have all the answers. You can succeed by asking more questions than you make statements. Great questions make people feel valued, and draw terrific answers from the group. By asking questions, you’re not avoiding responsibility–rather, you’re actually shaping the conversation and helping the organization come to answers.

      Anyway, just a small thought. Congrats again!

      Michael B

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