50 Painful & Inspiring Lessons I’ve Learned in HR…

by Alan Collins

I thought I’d take the opportunity here to share 50 things I’ve learned from 25 years in the HR trenches.  About two lessons per year.

These are truths I’ve gained from lots of personal screw-ups, some successes, three companies, 16 HR jobs and other HR professionals that I’ve worked with who either guide me or inspire me.

Some of these you may have seen already.

But hopefully, there are a couple of items here you might find helpful in managing your own career in HR — without going through all the pain and agony. 

While they are in no particular order, I try never to ignore #50.


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What To Say When An HR Headhunter Calls You — The 10 Do’s & Don’ts!

by Alan Collins

As an HR professional, you should always be prepared for recruiter and headhunter calls.

Here’s why…

You can never, ever predict when you might be suddenly thrust into the job market for reasons beyond your control.

No matter how comfortable you feel currently, the reality is…

You are just one re-org away from being on the street.

You are only one job elimination from being handed your pink slip.

You are just one bad new boss away from getting whacked unjustifiably.

For these reasons, building relationships with headhunters and recruiters should be an important part of your career advancement strategy.

Working with them when they call is a skill you need to master, even if you’re NOT in actively seeking out your next HR opportunity — because there are some terrific HR jobs out there…that you’ll learn about…ONLY through professional HR recruiters.

With this in mind, here are ten do’s and don’ts to say when they ring your phone:


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Four Deadly Traps Just Waiting For You As A New HR Leader & How To Avoid Them!

By Alan Collins

Moving into a brand new leadership role is the #1 challenge any HR professional can face….no matter how much HR experience you have!

That’s a fact.

According to SHRM, 31% of all new HR leaders crash and burn in their first 18-24 months. 

Why?  Often, it’s because of poor cultural fit, inadequate onboarding, or the lack of appropriate expectations.

However, many new HR folks set themselves up for failure because of THEIR OWN MISTAKES AND MISSTEPS.  

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Why Your Current HR Day Job Should NOT Be Your Only Source of Income…

By Alan Collins

Did you know:

That actors like Angela Jolie, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and George Clooney appear in movies

…AND earn extra income directing their own films, making commercials and from monthly residual checks from their previous shows.

That athletes like LeBron James, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova earn their livelihood playing the sport they love

…AND also profit from endorsing merchandise from energy drinks to beauty products.

That singers like Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Paul McCartney write their own songs

…AND rake in more cash from the royalties earned by their older ones.

None of this is probably new news to you.

But the more important question is what all these celebrities have in common.

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Dealing With Pissed Off Employees, Colleagues & Clients — The 2-Letter Word You Must Avoid

By Alan Collins

Years ago, at work, a good friend of mine got passed over for a promotion to an HR VP position.  

Everyone considered him the number one, slam dunk candidate for this job.

And so it was shocking when the job was filled by an outsider.

A few hours after the official corporate announcement was made and everyone in HR got the stunning news, I found him sitting alone in his office.

His back was turned and he wasn’t moving, just staring blankly out the window.

When I got his attention, I could see he was absolutely seething.

Frankly, I didn’t know quite what to say to him.  It’s so easy to say the wrong thing to someone who you know is frustrated, angry and vulnerable.

So I sat down in front of him, I started babbling about how I, too, had been passed over for a promotion. 

In fact, I told him it had happened to me three times.  I conveyed that in one particular case, my boss actually told me I had locked up the job and to just be patient.  But then he came back later and told me the higher ups had changed their mind at the last minute and promoted someone else.

I just wanted him to realize that he wasn’t alone, that I’d been through something similar and that I could understand how he felt.

He wasn’t buying it.

Not at all.

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How To Overcome The Obstacles To Your Success in HR — When You Want to Give Up!

by Alan Collins

Everyone reaches a point in their HR career when they face frustrating obstacles…and they just want to GIVE UP. 

This could happen to you, too, when you find yourself:

…Running into a brick wall in your job search for your next HR role.

…Getting repeatedly passed over for that HR promotion that comes with more money, prestige and broader responsibilities.

…Starting up your own exciting new HR consulting practice but not landing any clients after your first three months.

…Encountering big time organization resistance when leading that important HR change project that your boss is counting on you to deliver.

…Trying, but failing, to gain the respect and credibility from that important, tough and unforgiving client.

…Getting a supportive, yet risk-averse boss to buy into that game-changing new idea you have.

…Getting the respect and support of envious peers whose knowledge and experience you need to succeed in your current role.

Yes, everyone runs into at least two of these obstacles in the course of their career in HR.

You can count on it.

So you should expect it and plan for it.

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Turning Your HR Side Hustle Into Your Main Hustle! — An Expert Interview with Sana’ Rasul, Chief Girlfriend at HR Girlfriends.

By Alan Collins

For some HR people, the thought of quitting their job to strike on their own as an entrepreneur is exhilarating.

For many others, it’s terrifying.

After all, that stable HR position and regular paycheck can be a great security blanket and something to be thankful for.

And frankly, not everyone has the means or the guts to tackle risks and responsibilities of working for themselves.

But this isn’t the case for everyone.

SANA’ RASUL is one such person.  She’s an HR leader who has mustered up the courage to take this gutsy step and follow her dreams.

Sana’ is the Chief Girlfriend at HR Girlfriends.  She started up HR Girlfriends as a networking community for women who are working in or providing services to the Human Resources field…and who are looking for an environment where they can interact both socially and professionally.

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