Five Things I Miss About Working in HR

I have been on a parallel track to HR for the last year and a half or so, and there are a few things that I miss about my beloved profession. There are other things, as mentioned below, that I certainly appreciate about my current role. For those of you contemplating a step into a consulting or other position outside the “mainstream human resources” function, here are some things you might run across.

What I Miss

  1. Having insight into the business operations, funds, etc. The bird’s eye view of things. You never realize how much you appreciate it until it’s gone.
  2. Having a say in who receives recognition/rewards for their efforts. I miss being able to “go to bat” for someone that earned it.
  3. Knowing the value that everyone brings to the organization.
  4. Being able to talk with the CEO and other leaders as a trusted friend and swaying them when they are on the wrong path.
  5. The satisfaction of bringing on the perfect recruit, solving a manager coaching issue, or helping an employee with a career milestone.

What I Don’t Miss

  1. I no longer have to deal with employees that don’t deliver results and managers too awful to do anything about it.
  2. I don’t have to spend hours on the phone trying to investigate sexual harassment or other claims.
  3. I don’t have to put some of my favorite skills to the side and keep them unused for most of the time.
  4. I (sometimes) miss having an office with people around me.
  5. Probably some other stuff that my mind is glossing over right now like a faded memory–picking out the good parts and whitewashing the bad.

What I Love Now

This list isn’t complete without talking about what I love about my current role. It’s not too shabby!

  1. I get to write. Pretty much as often as I want. And I like to write quite a bit, so that’s saying something.
  2. I talk with technology companies all the time, but I’m not being sold–I’m asking the questions and digging into capabilities. That’s much more fun.
  3. I get to peek into some of the HR, learning, and talent practices at world-class organizations and share those insights with the world.
  4. I have the opportunity to impact many more companies, employees, and leaders than I did in my previous positions.
  5. I have the ability to work from home, which lets me work how and when I am most productive.

This is a great exercise! Think about your current role–what do you like best? What would you gladly give up? 

6 thoughts on “Five Things I Miss About Working in HR

  1. Hannah

    Ben, I have left the traditional world of HR too. I am now in employee benefits working for a broker. I agree with you. There are a lot of things I miss but a lot more I don’t!! I’m glad I still get to work with HR Managers. You have no idea how often I’ve said “Oh , I understand!!” when they share some of their struggles.

  2. JC

    I wish I could say “I wish” to either of them. Trying to get in the door first. Back in school (grad) for my HRM (undergrad was in an unrelated field and many years ago). In SHRM (local and national), have Ben’s PDF on how to break into HR, continuing to (trying to) network with HR pros on LinkedIn.

    I enjoy these posts

  3. Elizabeth


    Appreciate your post! I am transitioning from 30+ yrs of HR and looking to utilize those skills I know I have, know I love, in a new area. You gave me pause, reminded me of the great things and the not so great things about HR and have encouraged me that it really will be a wonderful new adventure. Best of luck to you!

  4. Pingback: HR Informational Interview Questions–Answered | upstartHR

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