Unlike others who started in HR right out of undergrad, I got my start in HR later when I was in my early thirties. When I graduated college from University of Houston-Downtown, I was in my third year of working in a call center for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. I was excited to get my Bachelors degree and excited to start my professional career. The problem was, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. But two things I knew for sure…I knew I wanted to help people be successful and I knew I wanted to get out of working in a call center.
My first official job as a college graduate was working as an Advisor with Educational Talent Search Program which was a college preparatory program for middle school students. But as you can imagine, the salary for an entry level position at a non-profit organization is not the greatest and I had student loan repayments starting in 6 months. A year later, I accepted a position with INROADS/Houston as a professional Development specialist for INROADS. It was an amazing position that really set the standard for what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. However, there was no opportunity for growth and I didn’t want to remain in the same position forever. So, I quit that job and started my own business using my savings and once my savings ran out I took a part time job as the leasing consultant for the apartment management company where I was currently living. The leasing consultant position was fun and I was paid with a base salary and commissions as long as I leased apartments. As you imagine, I was excellent at leasing because I was motivated by commissions but I also really enjoyed what I did. I was meeting different people every day, driving a golf cart showing visitors very nice apartments, and sitting in a beautifully decorating leasing office with fun co-workers. It was so fun that 5 years passed by very quickly while I was doing it. After four years, I was promoted to Assistant Property manager but shortly after the promotion, I begin to lose interest in the position and the industry. I quickly got burned out and just didn’t see myself continuing in property management as a career. I abruptly left that job and went to a temp agency and figured I would do temporary work until I figured out what I wanted to do as a career. Well, I was given my first assignment as an HR Assistant and I never looked back.
Becoming an HR Assistant was so exhilarating to me. My daily work never stopped getting interesting. I was working right along side the Director of HR and she was a force. She displayed so much professionalism and poise despite all of the business drama that was taking place around her on a daily basis. She was my first example of leadership in the HR world and the HR world was crazy every day, but I was loving every minute of it. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to make this my lifelong career. I finally felt like I knew what I was put on this earth to do. It was the perfect career that required some specific skills that I already possessed.
Maintaining strict confidentiality. Check!
Able to multi-task constantly. Check!
Quickly learning company policies and procedures to assist any employee with any concern. Check!
Ability to maintain eye contact and keep a professional tone despite whatever concern an employee is discussing during an employee relations meeting. Check!
I quickly realized no matter what task I had to complete, I was eager to complete it…even it was mundane filing or interviewing countless candidates to find the employee who would be the right fit for the company culture. With this newfound professional enthusiasm, I quickly decided to pursue my masters degree in HR so I could learn as much as possible and as quickly as possible. Knowing I had to maintain my full-time work schedule, I registered for school at University of Phoenix and attended class on Tuesday nights. I spent a lot of sleepless nights studying and completing school work and long days at work each day of the week, but it was all worth it to obtain my masters to prove to myself that I could achieve my educational and professional goals.
Over the next few years, I worked my way up to the Generalist then Generalist II and then Sr. Generalist/Recruiter and now 12 years later, I am at FedEx Services as a Business Consulting Advisor. It has been an extremely crazy but rewarding ride!
So, if you are thinking about a career in HR, just know you may have to start as an assistant or a generalist to get your feet wet in the industry. But as you move up, its important to know you may have some lonely and crazy days but each day will be an adventure! So, just go out there and Be Amazing!!