September 26 is #HumanResourceProfessionalDay.
Every day, HR professionals positively impact the lives of employees in workplaces around the world and contribute to the business strategy that allows their organizations to compete, grow and thrive.
We asked our bloggers to share their HR stories.
Why did you choose a career in HR?
Well, I think it chose me. I should have known from my time as an RA at college, and a swim instructor at camp, that helping and teaching others was the right vocation. It took over a decade in retail operations to realize that I needed to do something different and HR was the natural choice. I used, my IQ, EQ and passion to craft a successful 22-year career in HR.
I was excelling at data analytics and managing people and process in my operations roles, but something was missing. It took a chance on the part of the V.P. of HR and O.D. Director at Limited Brands NY and Co. Division to hire me without a traditional HR background to make my career take off in the field I now love.
Sometimes a chance becomes an opportunity. I am so fortunate they did. Take chances, you won’t regret it.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
Well, without sounding Pollyanna, it is making a difference in others lives and careers. Sometimes not even being aware of it.
Recently I was at a concert and ran into a former colleague that I worked with for several years. She turned to her girlfriend and said in front of me “I owe it to Mark that I worked through a tough time in my life. He was supportive at work and provided resources for me to get through my personal situation. He then always encouraged me to learn and grow with company-sponsored training. I wouldn't be where I am without his help. We need more Marks in this world.”
I was floored. I had no idea that I had made a difference at all. I was just being me at work. She wasn’t on my radar screen at all and yet I was on hers. It made me think how many other people we touch in many ways in our roles in HR.
That’s the most rewarding.
Would you recommend a career in HR to students or folks looking to transition from other fields?
For those who don’t know me, I teach HR in the MBA program at Adelphi University and occasionally an undergrad class. I have spent a decade giving back to the future HR leaders in and out of the classroom. A few of my students have come to me for guidance in starting their HR careers, too.
I have guided a few business students to explore careers in HR. One was a grad student in one of my classes. I hired her as an HR intern at a prior firm. She went on to a career in HR and now is an HR manager and she teaches undergrad HR students at the same university I do!
Now that’s paying it forward and paying it back for sure.
What advice can you share with others who are planning a career in HR?
Go to local SHRM and other HR networking in your area. Get the lay of the land and then JUST DO IT.