Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Question If You’re in a Bad HR Organization: When Is it Time to Go?

I have encountered numerous HR professionals recently musing about the difficulty of doing their profession in an organization that could care less.

They read, they discuss where HR is headed, but in their current space, it is light years away from where it should be.
They want more, they dream of more, but they get no more.

After one blog post of mine, someone wrote to me about the frustration she faces. After years of toiling in the transactional nature of her job, it is at a point that she wants to pull her hair out.

When we see the writing on the wall

Her dream and focus is on how HR could really help the business, whether it is in talent management, strategic workforce planning, or tying the HR to the larger organizational goals. However, her manager loves the transactional aspects and does not want to touch the strategic aspects.


Not only that, but her senior leadership is not interested in HR — just process the work involved and stay out of the business is the mindset.

Sometimes in our careers we see the writing on the wall, but it is like we have the wrong prescription for our glasses and things are not entirely clear. But deep down inside, we can make out the message. Sometimes, it is just time to go.
This clarity is something we should welcome. As we see the light, it should be welcomed as this is a new opportunity and you are now going to reach that destination.

It will never work out

So often, we get blindsided and hope that things will work out. The fact is that it will never work out.
You can always stay and hope for the best, however when you do wake up that morning and your status is confirmed, you will realize that you should have left a long time ago. You will understand that this decision was clear for some time, but you did not face up to it.

However there is no need to be dismayed. We all sometimes stayed too long in a job for a whole host of reasons. However, we all have a built-in mechanism that gives us signals when it is time to go.

I call this “the Sunday afternoon zone.” When you get into that space, and as Sunday afternoon proceeds and you find you are dreading Monday morning, that is your body subconsciously telling you that there is something wrong.

We mis-diagnose this feeling so many times and chalk it up to the Sunday afternoon blahs. However, we are clearly being sent signals that this job is not where we should be.

Change is transformational

HR is not the only profession that is experiencing change, but some of our leaders are stuck in an old school mentality and old school ways. Their reluctance to grow, educate leadership, and help their organization move forward has caused such a schism that will take at least a generation to eradicate.

The good news is that there are a great number of new leaders in superb organizations who understand and have educated their leaders and peers of the importance of what we do in human resources. They are blogging, speaking and leading this new approach to HR.

In your career, no one is holding you in your place. There are lots of opportunities out there, so you should never feel that you have no place to go.

Recently I got a note from someone telling me that there were only a few organizations in her town that have dedicated HR departments. My comment was that no one is keeping you there. If you are serious about what you want, you may have to move to get it. You can’t expect it to drop into your lap in your small town.

Knowing when it is time to move on

The secret to any person’s career is to know when it is time to go. I believe it is time to go when your aspirations and direction does not synch with what your organization is doing.

This does not mean that as soon as you get ticked off about something that you start to prepare your exit strategy. What it does mean is that you have to look at the overall picture. If, in your diagnosis, you do not see the link up, monitor it over a period of time but know that in the end, for your career’s sake, you will have to make a decision.

It is important to remember that your love for your profession and the destination that you are headed should be in synch with what you are doing. Your destination should allow your career decisions to become more focused.

So, sometimes you have to remember that YOU are in charge of your career — not your manager and certainly not your organization. In the end, when you look in the mirror, that face that stares back is the one that you have to blame.
Yes, it all starts with you.

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