by Mark Griffin
As an HR consultant, I often coach people in their forties who have suddenly realized that they are working at a job they hate.
After many years of serving in their field and suffering through many years of discontent, they recognize how truly unhappy they have been.
Many times, people blame their unhappiness and professional dissatisfaction on other people, such as their bosses or co-workers, when the root cause lies in the fact that…
They are simply working in the wrong field!
But it’s never too late to make a change.
I’ve been rather fortunate.
I made the decision to major in Human Resources early and I’ve never looked back.
My forward momentum resulted from a variety of actions and decisions, but mostly from doing some due diligence.
If you’re early in your career now – and you’re thinking about HR – here are the steps you should take as part of your due diligence:
- Research various fields – both in and outside of HR.
- Complete some personality testing to understand your likes and dislikes.
- Talk with people who are working in HR and physically go to their workplaces.
It’s never too late to do this.
Early in my career, I spent many hours doing research at the library to find out what the up-and-coming fields of study were. Today, you can do much of that work online.
I explored which fields offered long-term employment opportunities and which fields were evolving and growing.
Though all this might seem fairly rudimentary, most people don’t make the effort to do it at all.
You see, they spend $100K or more on an education without investigating what the income potential might be.
Sadly, many majors in colleges don’t lead to well-paying positions these days. And unfortunately, many counselors, parents and teachers are clueless about that reality.
So, please, spend some time getting to know yourself.
It’s never too late to get started.
I’ve spent years in medium to large organization in a variety HR executive leadership roles. And, today, part of my HR practice includes providing psychological profiling to executives – which grew into coaching the adult children of those executives on their career choices.
I use the Myers-Briggs Type Instrument, MBTI ®, to help people determine the types of positions best-suited to them.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
Not all positions are right for all people.
Some folks are not created to lead.
Some are created to follow.
Some folks work better in a cubicle. Others thrive when working out in the field or at the front line.
If you don’t know your preferences and predispositions, hurry and find out now! Don’t wait until you’re forty five!
But even if you are forty five…it’s not too late to get started.
When exploring my major early on, I considered several fields: Criminal Justice, Aviation Management, and HR.
I went into workplaces and spent time with professionals in each field to get a greater grasp on what I would be doing if I decided to pursue those paths.
I quickly discovered I had no interest in working with planes, but I did have an interest in criminal justice and HR.
In the end, after speaking with several people in the field and feeling comfortable that I would be well-suited for that career, I chose HR.
I have met many recent college graduates who are clueless about what they want to do with their degrees.
Sometimes, they’re clueless about why they even pursued their particular major.
I think that is a sad situation, especially considering the large sum of money they had spent on something they are so uncertain about!
So there you have it. Three critical actions to take as you decide what you want to do with your life…no matter where you are in your HR career.
I challenge you to use these suggestions to help make the important decisions that will ultimately determine your success – and your happiness – well into your golden years.
Because it’s never too late to make the right choice.
About The Author: Mark Griffin leads In His Name HR. In His Name HR provides human resource consulting for small and medium-sized organizations. Mark has served in the US Air Force, has extensive educational credentials including a BA in HR, an MBA, and several Executive Education certifications from the University of Michigan.
In addition to serving as VP of Human Resources for an international agricultural equipment manufacturer, Mark has also worked in a variety of HR leadership roles for Fortune 100 companies such as Merck, Kodak and Quaker Oats as well as privately held and employee owned-companies such as Woolrich and Townsends.
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