Category: Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20

Focus

Posted on May 31st, by Diane Prince Johnston in Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20. No Comments

If we had a crystal ball, life would be grand. But, because we don’t, we often find ourselves at the mercy of hindsight. Hindsight being 20/20, what is one setback you faced in your career that ended up being a blessing in disguise?

One of the characteristics of an entrepreneur is that we like to launch. Start up is in our blood and takes discipline to pass up bigger and better ideas and opportunities in favor of sticking with the plan that works. Painful experience has taught me the importance of avoiding the lure of under calculated risks.

Back in the day, despite owning a thriving temporary help agency specializing in a unique niche, we started up many off-shoots along the way. Eventually realizing that these ideas cost too much money and devoured more time than we had, we closed many of them. However, the company felt the strain and we might have been better positioned had we simply stayed in staffing.

We sold that company in 2002 and founded Workway three years later. Early on, we repeated some mistakes and experimented with other business lines.  Fortunately, we were able to see through the trees and stopped the off-shoot entities in order to do only what we do best.  I have learned that there is a giant relief in understanding where your competencies lie and that a company thrives when focused and dedicated to its core.

Photo credit iStockphoto


Intention

Posted on May 30th, by Lisa Rosendahl in Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20. 3 comments

If we had a crystal ball, life would be grand. But, because we don’t, we often find ourselves at the mercy of hindsight. Hindsight being 20/20, what is one setback you faced in your career that ended up being a blessing in disguise?

We are hardwired to respond certain ways to situations without even realizing it. My hard wire response is defense.  My defense mechanism cost me my job.

One of my first HR jobs was with a very small privately owned manufacturing company. Providing leadership for the rapidly growing company meant developing HR strategies, practices and procedures to support growth and hiring staff for all levels of the organization.

It also meant advising supervisors, managers and the executive team and doing so from a neutral point of view. No one could do that better than I could because I did not have the history with the company and the owners that many of the others did. Nor did I have the benefit of established relationships; which I quickly set out to build.

Early growing pains for the company later became pains of another when the economy began to slow. Managers came and left as business decisions were made and shifts in leadership philosophies occurred. Relationships changed and became strained. I began to lose my neutrality and perspective and replace it with defense.

Only I didn’t see it.

In my quest to “protect and defend,” I failed to notice I was jeopardizing the very relationships I had worked so hard to build. The effect was stifling. No longer above the madness, I was ready to rumble. Business became personal and I entered into a spiral that did not stop until I left the company.

I submitted my resignation and we parted ways - but the physical departure really was a mute point. We had already parted ways 3 months prior when I was unexpectedly notified my department was downsized and I, through my tears, very ineptly had to let a staff member go that very same day.

It was all very telling, yet there is nothing more telling than the moment you realize you were part of the problem. And that didn’t come right away. It didn’t come until almost 1 year after I left the company and I started to hear some of the same old, familiar conversations . . . and see the same old, familiar hard wire reactions.

“Damn,” I remember saying, “It wasn’t all him. It was me.”  I hired an executive coach and worked on getting “me” out of my own way.

As I worked on short circuiting my hard wire responses, I came to see just how much my defense mechanism impacted my credibility and inhibited others around me. So instead of controlling conversations, I focused on having them. I turned “No stinking way” into “Let’s talk about it.” I replaced the satisfaction in being right with the joy of developing potential in others.

Instead of protection, I focused on intention. And that turns out to be far more powerful.

Photo credit iStockphoto


Renewal

Posted on May 27th, by Michelle McLaren in Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20. 4 comments

If we had a crystal ball, life would be grand. But, because we don’t, we often find ourselves at the mercy of hindsight. Hindsight being 20/20, what is one setback you faced in your career that ended up being a blessing in disguise?

A long time ago, my father told me it was important to collect life experiences. It was not only important to collect them but to cherish and to learn and grow from them. Let me add . . . to heal from them.

As you journey through life, you collect personal and professional experiences. If you had asked me a couple years ago, I would have told you to let someone else collect them. I was done. I had had enough. Today if you ask me, I will tell you I am glad I did not.

Many people tend to believe you heal from the personal or private things in your life and that will affect or spill over to the rest of your life, to your professional life. I began to wonder if you also heal from professional experiences and when I shared this with a colleague, she paused momentarily and said, “Um, you are right. That is so true. I have never thought of healing in a professional capacity.”

And so my journey of professional healing ensued.

My healing started in 2010 with the passing of someone close to me followed by a series of wonderful and traumatic events in a short 18 month time period. I agonized over a decision that would have long standing affects:  take a permanent leave or continue to work. I was giving everything I had to work and to others. I was failing miserably in caring for myself. I decided to take the time I needed and heal. If you asked me then, I probably would told you it was a crazy and outrageous decision. Others thought it was a brave and courageous decision.  Today, I consider it to be a rare but extraordinary gift I gave myself.

A couple of things I learned on this journey. Death is certain - but so is life! In essence, I was reclaiming my life.  I now surround myself with only those that I love, enjoy and connect with. I engage and seek out work that I am passionate about.  I am solidly anchored, confident, and grounded.

Taking the time I needed to heal was a blessing in disguise.  Hindsight provides you with the clarity to move forward.  It is not always clear in the moment, but it becomes so as time passes. Time is precious so make the moments count. Life is too short to not enjoy every moment.

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Many of us go through life identifying themselves by their work. Yes, to some degree it does define how you live and what you are able to enjoy.  How do you answer the question, “What do you do?” Many answer with,  “I work here and do this and have done this for x numbers of years.” I challenge this by telling you that you are not defined by your work, you are defined by who and what you love. What you love is in part your work – your professional self – but that is not all that it is. As you grow and establish a life for yourself your thinking changes and you begin to think this way too. The more people I talk to and share this with, the more people affirm this for themselves too.

When askes what is it that I do, I answer, “I am a consummate professional with over 16 years experience in Human Resources, I love developing and coaching others, tackling problems, engaging with others on creative, rewarding and complex projects. I love to write, volunteer and stay close with family and friends.  And in my spare time I read everything I can, swim and enjoy watching sports.”

Professional healing. Yes, I have healed in ways that have even surpassed my greatest expectations. But more importantly I have re-discovered myself again and let me tell you, I am awesome!

A part of you dies when you stop collecting life experiences. If your bucket is not continuously overflowing, you are not living enough.

Photo credit iStockphoto


Persistence

Posted on May 26th, by Laura Schroeder in Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20. 5 comments

If we had a crystal ball, life would be grand. But, because we don’t, we often find ourselves at the mercy of hindsight. Hindsight being 20/20, what is one setback you faced in your career that ended up being a blessing in disguise?

Years ago, I was an HR product manager for a large global software company.  Back in those days at my company, the title ‘product manager’ meant you managed both functional and technical teams.

Then we got a new VP and the entire application development team was reorganized, which tends to happen when you get a new VP.  A friend of mine refers to this phenomenon as ‘peeing on the hydrant.’  Nonetheless, a decision was made to split the functional and technical teams under two different managers across all products.

I had to make a difficult choice: functional or technical?  My manager encouraged me to choose technical so I’d still report to him but he got moved to another group and I ended up on the functional team.  I enjoyed the design work but missed managing a global team and wanted to do more traveling.  I felt I’d ‘done’ Asia and fixed my sights on Europe – but how to get someone to pay me to work there? I heard about a pan-European role in sales support and finagled introductions to people who could help me get on the short list.  I contrived a few ‘accidental’ meetings and did my best to make an impression.

My persistence paid off and I was offered my dream job as a European product consultant, living in Germany and traveling as needed.  I finished my outstanding product designs, quit my job and started getting ready for an international move. Then disaster struck: the hiring manager retracted the offer, opting to go with someone already living in Europe. My tart rejoinder that he could have decided this before I quit my job fell on deaf ears. “Give me a job in Europe,” I demanded of the cosmic forces that make things work out . . . when they feel like it.

Amazingly, about a week later I got an email from a German sales manager offering me a job in technical sales support in Munich.  A bit less money, but it got me over there so I promptly accepted.  But fate intervened once more; when I arrived I found that my new manager had been re-organized and now managed a part of a product I’d never worked with.  So, I had to learn a new language and a new product before I could add any value.

I was starting to feel vexed with fate and new VPs.

The sad truth is that you can’t learn fluent German in a couple of weeks so I was basically dead weight.  My new boss was very nice about it – and apologetic that the job he’d offered me to begin with no longer existed – but there it was. Fortunately, the consulting group desperately needed product experts on a large project.  The German consulting manager told me in blunt terms that I was rubbish at my current job but with my product skills I could still be of some use as a consultant. Who could resist an offer like that?

So finally, after two reorganizations, a disappearing job offer, an international move and a professional face plant, I was living where I wanted to live and doing a job I was good at. The lesson here is that the road to what you want isn’t always straight and it’s easy to get distracted by what you think you want.

It’s important to know what really matters to you and keep moving toward it, even if you have to make detours or compromises on the way. If you do, things have a funny way of working out for the best.

Photo credit iStockphoto


Compassion

Posted on May 25th, by Krista Francis in Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20. 3 comments

If we had a crystal ball, life would be grand. But, because we don’t, we often find ourselves at the mercy of hindsight. Hindsight being 20/20, what is one setback you faced in your career that ended up being a blessing in disguise?

This post is painful because it requires soul-bearing. Out of respect for parties involved, some details are disguised.

Peter struggled with punctuality and attendance. We’d spoken repeatedly about his ongoing lateness and absences. We’d talked about management’s need for employees to communicate their plans in a way that maximized our ability to adapt. I’d counseled him on our attendance policy and the correct way to notify me he would be late or absent; i.e., I needed him to call and speak to me directly, rather than defaulting to the easier, less direct route of leaving a midnight voice mail or resorting to text. We talked about this a number of times, but nothing improved.

To add insult to injury, when Peter was out, I had to do his job in addition to mine; and when I covered for him, I came across an inordinate amount of mistakes. So, in addition to addressing lateness, I’d spoken to him more than once questioning job fit.

I was genuinely fond of Peter, which made the discussion all the more difficult. Nonetheless, we were at a cross roads and I was  equally prepared to act in either of two opposite directions: if he turned his performance and attendance around, I was delighted for  him to stay with the organization; on the other hand, if he didn’t, my paper trail was perfectly laid for an au revoir.

Right at that critical fork in the road, Peter called out repeatedly for a variety of reasons, some of which stretched the limits of credibility. After four or five days of this, I lost my patience and terminated him over the phone in response to the latest, greatest (and might I add recycled) explanation for why he couldn’t possibly come to work at a really critical time.

In response to this news, he borrowed a co-worker’s key card to send an after-hours, flaming email to ‘all employees’ complaining how horribly I’d treated him, firing him so impersonally for no reason.

The IT person quickly retracted the communication but the damage was done.

What do you do in a situation like this? We chose to acknowledge the elephant in the room. We sent out a response saying that although management’s account naturally didn’t completely line up with Peter’s, we couldn’t comment on the details out of respect for both Peter and every other employee on our roster. We acknowledged Peter for his contributions and we wished him well in his future pursuits.

It was a painful time. I knew people were gossiping and conjecturing, and I felt my credibility plunge through the floor. People didn’t know I had a file half an inch thick documenting all the prior conversations, agreements, e-mails and warnings. And I felt horribly because I had not followed what would have been my own HR counsel, had I taken time to listen to myself:  take a deep breath, compose yourself, respond appropriately and with restraint to the current issue, review the paper-trail, look at the legalities and options, plan a strategy; and, if a termination is warranted, sit down with the employee and act matter-of-factly, not out of anger.

I beat myself up because I suddenly abandoned all that HR stuff and started bushwhacking my own trail. After assiduously running 25 miles of a marathon, I suddenly veered off-course,  abandoned the race, shot myself in the foot, threw it all away.  I felt like I didn’t walk my own walk or run my own race. That may be a lot of mixed metaphors for one short paragraph, but you get the picture.

This was a low, low, low period in my life for many months.

As much as it hurt, I later saw this wrenching setback as a blessing in some ways because of a few key learning points:

  1. HR can come off as self-righteous bureaucrats who pompously dispense cookie-cutter black-and-white solutions in a world that is, in reality, shades-of-gray. It was useful to be on the other side. I’m not so clear-cut anymore. I’m a little more real.
  2. We like to think that we can separate personal from business, but the truth is we develop relationships in the workplace and it can be traumatic to sever those  ties, regardless of the reason. Sometimes HR forgets this. It was instructive and  invaluable  to experience firsthand the emotion that can accompany an imperfect separation.

Since this experience, believe me, I am less likely to judge managers for other-then-textbook responses. I am less likely to presumptuously give advice unless asked.

Although I’m not glad that Peter and I had this painful and semi-public debacle, the situation was a blessing in some ways. Now I’m a kinder, gentler HR person and I have more compassion for the real-life issues of managing people in an imperfect world.

photo by emilyvalenza


Leap (of faith)

Posted on May 23rd, by April Kunzelman in Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20. 2 comments

If we had a crystal ball, life would be grand. But, because we don’t, we often find ourselves at the mercy of hindsight. Hindsight being 20/20, what is one setback you faced in your career that ended up being a blessing in disguise?

Career choices come in many shapes and forms. When posed the question, “Hindsight being 20/20, what setback in your career ended up being a blessing in disguise?” I knew instantly which period of my life I wanted to write about. I don’t think it was actually a setback, but a dead end. I believe many people face the same type of situation and simply remain stuck.

After high school, I was like a lot of young adults. I went to college because it was expected, without any clear idea of what I wanted to do as a career. Lack of a clear goal and being away from my future husband spoke louder than any future career, so I dropped out of college and got married. I moved away from everything I’d ever known in the safe, sleepy Midwest to the busy, frenetic east coast. Looking back, taking that risk was probably the most significant thing I’ve done for my life, but not my career.

While out east, I worked mainly as a picture framer. When we moved back to Illinois, a lack of a college degree left me with choices I didn’t necessarily like: retail, factory work, or administrative office work. I took a job with a local health system as a part-time payroll clerk, and had a second part-time job with a party store.

At one point, my boss told me she thought I’d be good at human resources. So, my part-time payroll position turned into a full-time payroll/personnel job. My employer had a generous tuition reimbursement policy, and I used it to finish college with a business degree. It took me approximately four years to complete the additional two years of credits I needed.

During my 5 1/2 years there, I held a few positions in different departments. Of course, once I earned my degree I started looking for a more professional position, something I could call a career instead of being a glorified administrative assistant. What became clear as I searched internal listings is that with my particular skills it was unlikely I’d find something more than administrative support in that health system. The people in the positions I would be interested in had held them for years, and likely weren’t going anywhere.

I decided to leave. It was definitely a leap of faith, as I had attained a step up in benefits via seniority. It was hard to walk away from the large paid time off bank, as well as the various other benefits.

My next job wasn’t perfect – it was an office manager for a non-profit – but it gave me a chance to meet a lot of influential people in the community, and showed me a different way of doing business. By the time I was offered a position at my current company, I was ready to tackle the many challenges that would be thrown my way.

Looking back, I see clearly how significant it was for me to leave my job at the hospital. I had good benefits. I was surrounded by people who had worked there for 10, 15 and 20 years. It was hard to walk away from what I knew for something completely unknown. I saw people around me every single day that stayed were they were, doing the same job day in and day out, simply because it was what they knew and it paid the bills. I could have been one of them. I could have stayed, hoping for an opening in another job or department, and found myself there today. Doing the same job.  I’m grateful I’m not.

Photo credit iStockphoto


Determination

Posted on May 20th, by Kimberly Patterson in Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20. 8 comments

If we had a crystal ball, life would be grand. But, because we don’t, we often find ourselves at the mercy of hindsight. Hindsight being 20/20, what is one setback you faced in your career that ended up being a blessing in disguise?

Once upon a time, a former manager phoned me and told me of a company he knew that could really use my help.  His words will resonate in my mind forever, “They really need HR help because the CEO has trouble making decisions and when he does, he keeps changing his mind.  I’m worried the managers will run amok without any guidelines or structure.”

During our conversation, visuals of Corporate America à la Lord of the Flies were flashing through my mind.  It didn’t scare me because I thrive on a challenge and have plenty of experience with HR start ups.  “It’s textbook,” I thought.  Well, in hindsight I should have run far away, but I jumped in.

After a few months of observing, mingling and meeting folks, it was apparent that the CEO was not leading managers but being led by them.  Managers were consumed with the success of their own organizational silos.  Decisions regarding staffing, salaries, bonuses, etc. were reactionary and self-serving.  There was no consideration given to what was best for the business or how individual departmental decisions impacted other areas of the company.  That was only one of many issues that had an unconstructive domino effect within the organization.

I put my HR experience into this project and worked on bringing cohesion to the company, improving inter-departmental communication and relationships while implementing consistent practices for legal and business reasons.  I proposed a comprehensive action plan to gradually tackle one issue at a time while simultaneously educating the managers so they would be on board as well.  It was HR 101 and the CEO was 100% on board.  But remember, he was being led by others, including me.  While I had the thumbs up from the CEO to run with the ball, many managers resisted as structure stifled their personal agendas.  Managers’ frustration levels were high from ongoing in-fighting due to intransigent decisions.  The employees knew it and used it to their advantage.  Here’s an example:

Employee in Department A: Hi there Mr. Manager of Department Z, I don’t like my manager and would like to work with you in your department.  Can you get me moved over?

Manager of Department Z: Sure, I like you and could use the help.  Just grab your things and I’ll let IT know where to move your PC and phone.

Occurrences like this one happened on a regular basis without regard for other managers, workloads or employee qualifications and performance.  Furious managers would come to me and request that I “undo” decisions and actions like the above example.  Picture that nightmare. Ambitious ideas of wanting to educate and influence in this environment made me determined to succeed and make a difference.  But most of these individuals were used to working this way and those who wanted a level of structure were in the minority and didn’t stand a chance of surviving.  Neither did I.

The stress I endured during this project impacted me physically and I lost 10 pounds that I really couldn’t spare.  Ultimately I collapsed in my office and quit the project that same day by way of an ambulance.

This was traumatic, embarrassing and left me feeling like a failure.  On the flip side, it fiercely grabbed my attention and caused me to re-engineer my career.  My determination of wanting to add value and make a positive difference consumed me.  I allowed this to happen to me when I should have taken a step back and recognized that sometimes we just need to know when to say “when” and walk away.

Thank you for letting me share this story.


Strength

Posted on May 19th, by Rowena Morais in Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20. 1 Comment

If we had a crystal ball, life would be grand. But, because we don’t, we often find ourselves at the mercy of hindsight. Hindsight being 20/20, what is one setback you faced in your career that ended up being a blessing in disguise?

Midway in my career, I got involved in a startup environment as a co-founder. On many levels, this was a great opportunity. I worked way above my level, was exposed to so many new experiences and grew tremendously. The long hours, the intensity of the roles I took on and the salary sacrificing were not something to be thrilled about. Yet, the passion I felt for what I was involved in, far outweighed any negative impact and kept me moving forward.

One major setback I faced was that midway through this role, I had major differences of opinion with the other people in the management team. I discovered things and had to take a stand on certain issues. The short of it is that I had to pay the consequences of ‘being in the right’ and sticking to my guns. But for a number of reasons, I decided that I still wanted to work at this company despite the issues at hand. The situation was not tenable, as let’s face it, human emotions were involved. Rightly or wrongly, people felt strongly about what they did or did not do and tempers flared. It was not easy for anyone to separate work from personal issues and it made the going tough.

I kept to my plan and stuck it out in the company despite all the problems. I made a conscious decision to do so because I had a goal and I was determined to achieve what I set out to do. In hindsight, this turned out to be a blessing because it showed me, what I was capable of. I picked up a lot of skills, experiences and insights from my role, from the experiences I explored and which I made my own. These insights and experiences have helped pave the way for the roles I have explored since then.

I see now, that these skills and insights have really been in preparation for the career I embrace today. I did not see it then but it all makes sense from where I stand now.

Two points to make here. Firstly, you have to make something of your life. By this, I mean that it’s very easy to go along with how your life is unfolding. It’s tempting to just go with the flow and react thereafter and shrug your shoulders as if you were watching this all on telly. It’s hard work to think and plan, to strategise and work out what and where you want to be. But that gives you the edge you need. If you don’t set out to control your life and instead, sit waiting to be the recipient of whatever life hands you, you will feel that your life is out of control. So, while it is true that you cannot control what happens to you, you can certainly control how you react or deal with it.

Secondly, there are times when you think something particular about yourself. Perhaps, you may think you’re capable or you think that no, you would not make it through a particular situation. But thinking through scenarios, as you might well guess, is nothing like the real thing. There may be times when you think that you might react in a particular way and then find that, in the actual situation, your reaction is quite the opposite.

You are not always put in a situation where you are really tested and where you need to put your foot down about who it is you are and what you stand for. But when that time comes, when that test arrives, you need to be prepared about the stand you will take. Sometimes, you have days to mull it over. Frequently though, this time is literally seconds long. What does this mean? It means that you need to be sure of who you are and what you stand for. And this only happens when you let yourself be. This can only happen when you open yourself up to possibilities, experiences and opportunities. It means also that you need to open yourself to the possibility of failure. It is worth the effort.

About the author: Working with a wonderful team, Rowena Morais is the Editor of HR Matters Magazine, a leading human resource publication. A lawyer by training, Rowena has spent the last 12 years in training and development. Pursuing her writing dream, she started the magazine four years ago. Rowena keeps a blog at http://rowenamorais.posterous.com/.

Photo credit iStockPhoto


Love

Posted on May 18th, by Deirdre Honner in Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20. 5 comments

If we had a crystal ball, life would be grand. But, because we don’t, we often find ourselves at the mercy of hindsight. Hindsight being 20/20, what is one setback you faced in your career that ended up being a blessing in disguise?

Many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, oh wait.  I was in LA.  That’s as close to a galaxy as I might come.

Really, many years ago, I thought I had the perfect job.  I was working hard, delivering results, and taking no prisoners.  It was fabulous. I made a lot of money. It was great work until things started to change.  I moved 40 miles to open up a new branch for my boss.  Mistake, or so I thought at the time.  In retrospect, I lost my mojo – regretted the move, didn’t like the location, didn’t like the people with whom I was working, didn’t like the clients, didn’t like the community, missed my old friends.  Frankly I lost my gas.  And eventually, I lost my job.

There is a lot more to this story. Plenty of blame and ill will to go around. But I get bored with details and I am no longer in a phase where I blame others;  while it wasn’t just me, it was me.

And from that one decision – the decision to move and open up a new location that ended so badly was the very best awful event that ever happened to me.  Eventually, I picked myself up, dusted my ego off and took a new job.   I found people who were honest and appreciative.  I worked with some of the best clients ever, met some wonderful people, the best of the best, my dear friend Lynn and eventually got hired by a client (my dear friend Lynn) who is directly responsible for where I am now.  In a job that I love.  In a city I adore.  With people who inspire and support me.

That one event -which, in the moment, felt like my own private hell instead provided a pathway to joy and adventure and success, surpassing my wildest dreams.  That one event, that in the moment, I cursed, I now bless daily.  I learned from it – I grew, I recovered and now am filled with such gratitude that it is hard for me to imagine my life without that one moment.

Love.

Photo credit Deirdre Honner


“Duck!”

Posted on May 16th, by Alyson Nyiri in Women of HR Series: Hindsight 20/20. 7 comments

If we had a crystal ball, life would be grand. But, because we don’t, we often find ourselves at the mercy of hindsight. Hindsight being 20/20, what is one setback you faced in your career that ended up being a blessing in disguise?

Sometimes life delivers you the perfect storm.  It arrives silently. And then, all of a sudden. Somebody might have yelled “duck” but I probably looked up and said “where?”

Experiencing a career setback is no fun.  It is even less fun when the setback occurs publicly. And don’t all career setbacks occur publicly, epically and in biblical proportions?  One can never exaggerate them too much.  Ever.

The word “fun” takes on a whole new meaning when the “setback” occurs in a new-to-you small, rural community which happens to be populated with numerous in-laws, who happen to have lots of friends representing a terrifying six degrees of separation.  And the economy is in a slump, during which you are stupidly trying to sell your house.  And you took this job in your soon-to-be new community, because “oh my god, there are never any jobs up here” and it made sense to live with your mother-in-law, whose house you are buying anyway, while your spouse lives in the yet-to-be-sold house.  Besides, this job is a promotion with better money in a larger manufacturer in a small village.  How bad can it be, the outgoing HR Manager was the owner’s son-in-law.

Not only did I not hear when someone yelled “duck,” I didn’t hear the gunshot either.

This is the part where I would catalogue in vivid detail all the wrongs done to me by this company and why it and everyone in it should be washed away with that biblical perfect storm I mentioned earlier.  You’ll cry.  You’ll laugh.  It’ll be better than Cats.

Unlike Cynical Girl Laurie Ruettiman, who claims she is a failed HR professional (which, if you read her bio, you would quickly conclude this to be quite untrue), I am a failed HR professional.  After all, I was fired.  Four months of hell culminating in a small severance.  All while living with my mother-in-law.  But to be fair, it was my mother-in-law who kept me sane throughout this entire event.  I would never have survived without her.  She will still tell the story of that day, how we sat outside on the deck while the buzzards flew in circles above the house.  It holds a certain metaphorical amusement for her.  By then I had realized what this duck and gunshot business was all about.

This next bit isn’t very funny.  A long year of unemployment followed.  The 2008-2009 recession was still in full swing.  The house took nearly 18 months to sell.  It was hard and I felt anxious during most of it. But I had time to think about things.  After twelve years as a career consultant and four years as an HR professional I am still committed to helping individuals thrive in their work.  Doing this while on the front lines, however, is not for me.  I can be more effective helping those who are on the front line by using my research skills to provide information they can use to foster personal and organizational development.  Today I work as a researcher in that small community looking at workforce strategies for the green economy and in my spare time, I review books for the Canadian HR Professional Magazine.

Now, when I hear someone yell “duck!” I duck.

Photo credit iStockphoto