HR Learner in Development

Posts Tagged ‘Me

To return next week

Thank you for being patient. I will return.

I would like to take a moment to express my joy in returning to my blog.  The past few months have taken a mental and emotional toll on me both at work and home, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope to return to a more regular posting schedule, as was planned at the beginning of the year, and I hope those who have been interested in what I have had to say will pick up the pieces with me.

Over the past few months I have had to focus all of my energies on my work.  I have hit some hurdles and reached a stride.  I have some new ideas on posts I can use in the future, and I look forward to sharing what I have learned.

Until that point, thank you for sticking around.  I intend to have smoother sailing from now on.

As weighty a project as it might seem, reading can be quite beneficial to career growth, and even career maintenance.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading recently, and volunteering to do a bit more reading for my department.  As a junior professional (or sub-junior really), this is one of the best things I can do to further my knowledge base in Human Resources, and I urge anyone who wishes to grow in their careers to do the same.  Not only am I gleaning more information from reading than I would by simply going about my daily routine, but I have also begun to see how this helps to set me apart from my equals.

In being willing to take time out of my day, not my work hours, I have unwittingly been making a statement that I am serious about what it is that we do in HR.  My HR Director is in the process of revamping learning opportunities for our employees, and one of his new initiatives is to update his bookshelf with some resources that would benefit him, the HR team, and our staff as well.  He is trying to get comprehensive knowledge of what information is in the texts so that he has a clear picture of what to recommend under many situations.

While talking to me about his plans and placing new books on his shelf, I commented that I had read some of them, and was truly planning to read others.  These were texts such as “Who Moved My Cheese,” “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” “Outliers,” and “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” among others.  After that, I began to see a noticable change in his demeanor.  He was clearly impressed that I had taken it upon myself to familiarize myself with these texts.  I was able to reach a new level of respect with him than I had before.

Now I’ve volunteered to read “HR Scorecard,” and I will be presenting a book report of sorts to the group at an upcoming meeting.  Already it has brought up the ever-present truth that HR needs to be a strategic partner with upper management to accomplish company goals and objectives.  I am sure there will be some nuggets from this book that I can bring to you as readers. 

But back to the point at hand, surely my own reading has influenced the way I analyze some of the issues that I come across in my daily operations, but also in the contributions I have to my team members through better performance and improved communications in meetings.  Without knowing it, I have been leveraging my way into a better standing within my department and within the greater path of my career development.  If only to emerse myself in the buzz words of my industry, I am holding myself accountable for my career growth.

If I could give any advice on the matter, I would suggest to those who are still in lower ranking positions to take advantage of any and all of the magazines and books you have at your disposal.  Do it now while you are still able to find the time in your day to do it.  As soon as you start rising up in the ranks, job responsibilities take a greater toll on your time, your share of thought, your energy and your free time.  The more that you can read now, the more likely you will be prepared for those higher level positions.  It’s really win-win situation.  Spend the time now, reap the benefits both now and latter.

However, if there are any high levels reading this, try not to give up on reading so easily.  As I am sure you are aware, you will serve your company best if you are on top of the most current news and developments within your field and within your function.  Keep it up, and you will be sure to prove yourself an asset to your organization.

There is more than one way to attain your goals and actualize your dream career, and you don't have to do it alone.

As mentioned before, I am on the bottom rung of my career development.  Working myself up from assistantship is my current goal, and my long-term goals revolve around being a point person for learning and organizational development.  Career development is at the forefront for me right now, but I hope that I never lose my drive for self-improvement, or my status as an advocate for career growth.

Just today, my boss told me that he is pleased to see me taking an active role in my career development.  He went so far as to say that I have a better base right now than my current supervisor had coming in to his position.  At the same time, he gave me the impression that I should be moving on soon.  My internal struggle tends to be how long is too long, and how quickly is too quick?  These questions make up the subtle nuances of career development that I am not yet versed enough to understand.  In the meantime, I do have a few workable tips for career development for you:

1.  Ask for feedback – One of the most valuable ways of finding how much you are growing and how much you still need to improve is to ask those around you (not just your supervisors but your colleagues as well) to provide feedback.  Feedback can be a double edged sword.  Given correctly, it can really motivate the recipient to take an active role in improving performance and taking charge of results.  Done incorrectly, it can discourage.  My advice to you is to not shy away from a negative session.  While discouraging and disheartening, keep an open mind.  Was there truth to what was said?  Is there anything you can turn into a positive?  Always keep in mind, however, that negative feedback needs some time to breath.  Don’t be rash.  Take some time to mull over what was said.  Definitely don’t lash out at the giver of advice.  That can be very dangerous to your current position, and possible future prospects in the company and in the industry.

2.  Talk to your supervisors about your goals – There may be projects that they might be able to assign that will bring you closer to learning more about your areas of interest, or give you skills that will bring you closer to your goals.  Be aware, however, that not all supervisors appreciate this candor.  You need to assess your relationship with your supervisors in order to determine whether this is a feasible option for you.  For instance, as petty as it sounds, there are some supervisors who really don’t want their key team members to progress because they hope to utilize their skills, expertise, and man hours for as long as possible.  Others really want to see their junior employees to fly the coop and grow.

3.  Speak to those people in positions you wish to attain – Try to get advice from the people you idolize.  Perhaps you really want to serve in the role that they currently have in a few years, or even in a decade or so, after additional training.  Ask them how they got there, if they have any advice, and what skills are useful for the position.  Ask what it is about the position that they truely enjoy, and what it is that they have grown to accept as a part of the role they must play.  Ask them about the interplay between their role and how it plays in the greater scheme of the department, divsion, and organization.  You may learn that you would not enjoy being in that position as much as you initially expected, or you may learn about some means of getting there that you weren’t aware of before.  Either way, you will be making a contact out of someone who has been there.  This mentorship will benefit you, whether you decide that path is for you or not.  Please be aware that this relationship, like that of the supervisor, will also need to be handled tactfully.  Hopefully you are not gleaning advice from this mentor only to gain tips as to how to steal the job away from that person.  I am not here to judge, but be aware that your perpective mentor may not be as open to share with you if he or she thinks that his or her position is in danger.   Try to find someone who can be open about what it is they do, even if that means branching outside of your own department or company.

4.  Take classes – If your company offers any professional development courses internally, try to sign up for them.  If your company offers tuition reimbursement, take advantage of it.  Don’t think of these things as perks, but as a part of your take home salary.

5.  Step outside of your comfort zone – Whether that means speaking to your supervisor about possible learning opportunities for you, or volunteering for a work committee, expanding your horizons is not only a great way to learn more about other people and other opportunities, but it is one of the best ways to learn about yourself.  Learning what you are capable of and what your areas of growth could be are key in personal and professional development.

6.  Keep an eye on where you’ve come from – It is all too easy to improve one area only to let another area suffer.  Keep a rein on where your strength areas are, and where your growth areas are.  You don’t want them to flip around.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking those strengths are safe.  Be especially careful of times of stress; these often bring out the worst of the worst, and the worst of the best.

7.  Finally, keep your goals in sight – Know what you are aiming for, and evaluate what is attainable.  Having lofty goals can often be completely demotivating, so make sure you can have manageable goals with set milestones or steps.  If there is a milestone you are struggling to achieve, perhaps you need to reassess your goals.  However, as mentioned before, don’t forget to utilize your contacts and your network – social, professional, or global – in order to obtain some additional assistance or advice to overcome some hurdles you may be struggling with.

The start of a blog is a new adventure for me.  I’ve never really done this before, so forgive my noob tendencies – I’m sure they will present themselves pretty frequently.  But the true purpose of delving into this world is for my own self-fulfillment.  I am a young professional, often getting too far ahead of myself, and I’d like a place to develop my professional voice, mindset, and overall share of thought.   My field?  Human Resources.  As a current Human Resources Assistant, I’m truely at the bottom of the barrel, but I know I am capable and can grow within the field.  My true interest lies in a mishmash of Training, Coaching, Talent Management, Change Management, and Organizational Development. 

Therefore, as I delve into learning more about the track that I am on, I hope that you, reader (if you exist) bare with me, pitch in when you want to give your two cents on a matter, and hopefully grow with me.  I hope to really bring some thought provoking ideas to this board, and I won’t stop until I have some solid information under my belt.  With the help of SHRM, ASTD, the Harvard Business Review, Professional Development courses and a massive library at my disposal, research is at my fingertips, and hopefully I can put something of what I learn to good use – if not for me, then for some reader out there without these resources.