Am I in the wrong line of work?

Forgive me if this is not the appropriate place to post this, but I am in need of letting loose a little steam.

Do you ever sit back and wonder if you've chosen the right profession (HR)? I got into this field because of my desire to work with people and help people on a daily basis. But lately I wonder how much I really like people anymore. :0) Day in and day out I feel like I'm caught up in the middle of a Jerry Springer episode...where he's mad at her, she doesn't like this person, that's my chair, he's looking at me, she's talking about me, ect...AAGGGHHH!!! PEOPLE!

I just left my previous job because it was a family owned company where the owners and management were involved in unethical, unmoral and illegal activity. After 18 months I'd taken just about all I could take. My CYA file had grown to about 2-3 inches thick. So I decided to leave. Now I'm at a new place of employment, and 3 months into this I'm already growing tired of it and questioning if I made the right decision! The supervisors are horrible at their jobs, to say the least. They play favorites, have no idea or comprehension of how and why things should be done in a specific, consistent and logical manner. I'm pretty much trying to fix 10 years of bad habits and pi** poor leadership. In the meantime, I'm also having to deal with 120 EE's who behave like 12 year olds (and get away with it to boot)! this just a string of bad career moves for me that will eventually work itself out, or is the real issue whether or not I'm in the right field? When I first started HR 4 1/2 years ago, I LOVED it. I looked forward to coming to work each and every day. I couldn't wait to see what the day had in store for me. Now it's more of a chore that I wish I could get out of. Should it really be like this?

Sorry for rambling on and on...just really frustrated today and not sure which way to turn.

Thanks for listening.


  • 23 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • HRratrace: Yours is not much different to many of our same story. What is important is for you to figure out "WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU ABOUT WORK?"

    If you can not figure that out then this job and probably many others you'll find a similiar circumstance for you.

    In my current position I found much about the same things you mention. I set out and was hired to make a difference. I developed training programs with the help of M Lee Smith and began to train supervisors on what it means to step up and take a position in Leadership. I like to think I have made a difference after re-training the operational department managers and their supervisory team. I pulled together and published an Employee Handbook". I began to pull together documentation and consistency of action within HR Department. I began to defend Unemployment hearings with me as our representative verses a retained attorney. We began and have not lost a case in my hands, EEOC cases have also not been lost. Employee relations and complaints have subsided because we operate from a Employee Handbook that tells everyone with the ability to read, what to expect in almost every case. ( I know Dandy Don and others question my ability to read and write, but that is ok, my BOSS AND THE OWNER feel comfortable that I know what I am doing!)

    All of the above brings me to my original point, "you figure out if you want to make a difference and if you don't then you have answered your own concerns, and made a decision to get out of HR work"! If you don't do this, then this is the wrong place to post and expect a cookie cutter answer, we have been there and done that!!!

  • I think we all have days like this...weeks....months or even years...

    I can tell you that I have felt some of the same frustrations with dealing with employees. The massive amount of people problems in the workplace today is relatively new. I think it has to do with the changing workforce,their expectations and entitlement mentality.

    I was raised to respect home, at school and in the workplace. I think this is sadly lacking in today's homes and workplace.

    When I took this job five years ago, there were a multitude of problems just like you described. It has taken all this time to get a lot of them ironed out...but still...on a weekly basis, you get employees who display childish behavior and can't get along with each other in the simpliest of situations.

    I really don't have an answer to it...I think any organization you go to, you will find this on some level in today's workforce.
  • The good news is you are in the right place to fix each of the problems at your new job that you listed. HR is just the place to make a difference in those areas. If I were you I'd pull myself up by my bootstraps and get working. Unfortunately people take the view that the grass is greener on the other side. Generally it isn't. You are not going to find the magic organization that has perfect supervisors and has competent senior leadership. There are chinks in every companies armour. And that is why HR is so important.

    We all need to complain every once in a while. It makes us feel better. But now take this opportunity to do something about it. Please don't take this as a negative comment. It is intended to be motivational. Good luck and I sincerely hope things get better.
  • HRratrace -

    First you need to decide if the current ER you are with is where you want to be.
    If you decide to stay, the next step would be where to start to make changes so that the managers can help you in your job by following the procedures you will need to step up for them to follow. Once this is done and they begin to follow them the little items of he said, she said should be brought to a minimum and you will have time to deal with the bigger issue and get the HR dept in shape.

    All you can do is take one day at a time and one task to conquer at a time.

    Good Luck!


  • I have been in HR for over 20 years and quite frankly, on most days I have encountered the types of employees and situations you allude to. For me, being in HR is like a round of golf. I will plod along doing my best on every shot but seldom see the rewards. For 17 holes it's a struggle, but low and behold, on that 18th hole, I'll hit a long majestic shot into the green, and the gratification is enough to keep me coming back for more. Likewise, in HR, we frequently wonder why we bother. But if you have a plan, stay focused, and most importantly, have the support of your superiors, the sense of accomplishment will come. However, it is also important to work for an organization that shares your vision for HR. If you're not in that situation now, you should make sure you are in the future.
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 06-21-04 AT 11:37AM (CST)[/font][br][br]Not that you're in the wrong field, but perhaps there are other aspects of HR that would appeal to you more. By your description, it sounds like you're in Employee Relations, or something very similar. It may just be that you would do better in training or benefits/compensation or recruiting. Just something to think about cuz I gotta tell ya, the problems are NOT going to go away overnight, and more to the point, if the problems didn't exist why would your company have hired you?
  • I first got into HR for the 'warm and fuzzies' soon to learn they were 'cold hard facts' in disquise. I thought idealistically; that I would make a difference and everyone would love coming to work there. When I woke up, I realized people are who they are and all I could really do was bring some organization to personnel and assure fairness to employees. Pork is a visionary and I like his approach. You have to set rules, gain the support of management, and train supervisors. That's the art. Otherwise you'll simply exist to put out fires.

    You're probably OK where you are. It's part of the dance.
  • I ask myself that question often, but usually at times of extreme stress! I came into HR with lofty ideas of raising morale, improving things, etc., and found out over the last four years that as Rockie put it, a lot of our employees have an "entitlement mentality", too. I was pretty naive going into HR, but I want to stick with it and am starting night classes in HR tonight to get more training than just the baptism by fire I got when I came here. The others gave you good advice, especially about gaining support from management. Good luck with this!
  • Thanks to everyone for being so kind and supportive in your responses. In reading my original post I realize I sound a lot like some of those whiners I'm complaining about having to deal with every day! LOL.

    Well, I will certainly take everything that has been posted into consideration. I am in a Generalist/Management position, so I deal with anything and everything you can think of...EE relations, training, payroll, compensation, benefits, staffing, recruiting and retention, etc. I guess sometimes I get overwhelmed with all that needs to be done and all the little bumps in the road that pop up along the way.

    Here's another piece of the puzzle that is bothering me. Hopefully this won't offend anyone. But I also struggle somewhat being a young female in a predominantly older male organization. Try being a young somewhat attractive 25 year old female HR Generalist/Mgr who is trying to change the behavior and management style of a group of older gentlemen who are really set in their ways and are opposed to women in management roles. I get the "she's young, she'll learn" or "she's just naieve" line day in and day out. It gets old quick.
    I even had to take down the honeymoon picture of myself and my husband because the men here were too immature to handle seeing me on the beach with my husband (yes - we were wearing swimsuits in the picture, but mine was a one piece and the shot was only from the waist up)! No one ever had the guts to say anything to me directly, but it was all over the floor "you gotta get up to the HR office and see this picture of the new girl in her swim suit)! For crying outloud...GROW UP! Things like that really bother me. What year are we in? Things like that make it hard for me to level out the playing field.

  • You have to build your credibility one minute at a time. Learn, learn, learn and don't back down from the good 'ol boys. Don't "threaten" them, but don't back down. I suggest you start some private discussions with Ritaanz. I'm sure she had the same issues as you when she was 25 (being beautiful that is). Now she can chew 'em up and spit 'em out.

    BTW, there is a forum calendar and we are missing a few months. :oo

    I know that was unprofessional, but I just said what Beagle, Ray and Don were thinking.
  • HRratrace,

    Your post is almost identical to my situation last week. A peer and I were venting to each other "why can't they just grow up?" and "how many times do I have to tell them?" and etc.

    Finally, we both agreed "maybe it's time to look at ourselves". It wasn't fun, but both of us realized that while we were only being negative (bitching) around each other and not others, we certainly weren't doing all the positive things we could be doing and that we USED to do for the others: bringing in surprise treats, inviting others to lunch, promoting play in the office, recognizing positive behavior or good work, etc.

    That realization was only a week ago, and already, I'm feeling more positive vibes from others since I've adjusted my own attitude.

    I've been here almost 3 years and I still have a long way to go with getting supervisors on board but it'll go a lot faster and smoother when I keep up my normal positive attitude. Having a safe person to vent to and with whom you can have a brutally honest relationship is a huge help. th-up

  • HRQ and HRratrace: It reads to me like both of you are facing or have faced the "Glass ceiling". Gain a vision for what is important to you and put together a focused plan and break through. Don't wait for the male in your current working world, you have to take the God given talents and lay them out with exception professionalism. Five years ago there was a HR female in a manufacturing plant in our community; my first encounter with her was when she was selected and became the Chairman (person) of the United Fund Drive. Our community has never experienced the drive and professionism of this manager. Not only did she take care of the largest manufacturing facility as the HR but she put in considerable professionalism and time to jump the United Fund drivein high gear like none ever seen before or after in this community. That was her start and you can track the other community activities and employee programs in her company that she fostered, guided and brought into fruitiation, as well as other community activities, all to the betterment of the community and her person. For the last two years, she has been the CEO of her Manufacturing plant. Kathy was a "diamond in the ruff, she polished her own diamond until others had no choice but to also acknowledge her value to management and let her lead". Leadership is what makes the difference in the "female world of work". Be a normal female and wait for your time to come and it most likely will not come. The same is true of we males. When someone is recognized as a leader and proves it that leader will pierce the "glass ceiling" and never make a crack in the glass, but will operate with the rest of the leaders. My wife is a born leader with just a high school degree, but she is a leader in every organization in which she has chosen to give her all! I just wish she had had the opportunity to give her all in a business organization, she would have been like Kathy a rising star and making a lot more money than I.

    Good luck and Best wishes to all of the women in our HR world, but don't be like a bump on the log, there are many of those. Be the female frog and lead the male frogs to their rightful place in the chain of things. If you let them they'll hold you back!
  • HRratrace and I posted around the same time - my situation was similar to hers in that I was sick of playing mom to employees who've been around a lot longer than me, frustrated with having to repeat myself over and over to get a point across. Tired of hearing comments like "there are no perks to being at the corporate office anymore". (an actual quote)

    The owners and the company VP (my bosses) fortunately have a great amount of faith in me, which I very much appreciate. I can make a huge impact in our company, but lately I'd been frustrated with feeling ineffective, even if just for a short time. Choosing to look at my own attitude rather than focusing on "why can't they..." really helped. x:)
  • HRQ - Good for you! There are bad places to work (some of you may remember a posting I made about a job I had where I was fired three times in a year), but I truly believe that we make our work what it is. I've had some great jobs including my current position which I've held for 23 years. They included working as an electronics technician, loading trucks, panel wireman, deputy sheriff (well, I have to admit it was boring, but we found ways to have fun), and a couple of positions in HR. I enjoyed them all.

    The secret is ATTITUDE. We're in a great place to make changes to things which we don't like about our places of work. Where else can you do that, unless you're the CEO?
  • welcome to world of H/R. i agree that you must first determine if this is the type of job you want. you must have known from your previous position that H/R means dealing with a wide variety of personalities, opinions and ideas, not to mention management styles. along with this job comes more headaches than a sane person can deal with. you must be willing to want to make changes and then follow through, you must truly want to help employees and will do what you can to turn bad situations around. because we wear so many hats, we deal with so many problems. After 13 years in H/R i thought i was fed up with the crying, whining, bitching, back-stabbing, etc. and so i transferred to another department within our company. after 6 mos. i regretted that decision and left the company for another one in the H/R field for a samll office. it was the same thing but i discovered i truly enjoyed all the headache and aggrivation and was only satisfed with my job when i went back to doing the things i thought i hated. be sure your hating your job for the right reasons!. good luck.
  • You're absolutely correct: I have no idea what it's like to a 25 year-old, attractive female. However, I do know what it's like to be "the new guy," and yes, I heard the same stuff: "he's young," "he'll learn," "he's a little naive." and it bothered me too. Trouble was, as I got older and wiser I realized that "they" were right. I WAS young, and a little naive, and because I was kind of bright I DID learn....a lot. So you're going through something of a rite of passage at this point, but if you persevere you will suddenly find yourself as one of "them," and able to make some judgements about the new people around you.....and those judgements will be correct ones I'll wager. As to the guys who like your swimsuit picture...well, to me that's just guys doing what we do best...being a little hormonal and a little jerky. I'm not saying it's a good thing, but it doesn't seem that harmful either. Maybe you don't agree, and I could understand why....that's your call. Take care.
  • I really like the analogy of the round of golf above (not just because I am an aspiring hacker on the golf course), but because the truth of the matter is that HR is generally a very thankless job. It takes a unique approach in life to deal with:

    a) you generally are not brought into the loop until there is a problem.
    b) people generally call you up to complain about something.
    c) when you do things right, you are generally rewarded with silence.

    This does go with the territory, but I agree that every now and then, there are moments of clarity that lock me into my role, whether it is seeing an individual through a tough time or coming up with an idea that saves the company significant time and money.

    Even if you don't stick with your current company, I hope you stick with HR. I have found the opportunity to be in touch with every person as well as every business function in each of the jobs in my career to be unmatched in career satisfaction.

    #1 thing a consultant shouldn't say: "I could tell you the answer right now, but we're committed to a three month project..." #-o
  • I certainly do not want to discourage you from continuing in HR. But, I find some of your statements troubling.

    ^new place of employment, and 3 months into this I'm already growing tired of it;
    ^wonder how much I really like people anymore; ^supervisors are horrible at their jobs;
    ^When I first started HR 4 1/2 years ago

    HR, as Sam put it, is not warm and fuzzy. It is draining, stressful, demanding, hectic and traumatic. If you like the company and the people you work for, it can be rewarding, fulfilling,and heartwarming.

    Being human, it is impossible not to have emotions. It's the way you deal with them that is important in this field. It takes insight, understanding and lots of flexibility. These are acquired over time and as you develop your persona. Try a little empathy, a little understanding, and a whole lot of humor.

    Oh, get rid of that dam picture!! Jeeeeezzzeeee.
  • I just wanted to thank everyone for the extremely supportive and intelligent responses to my post.
    I have since pulled myself up by my bootstraps and am taking things one step at a time and one day at a time. Some days I leave feeling like I've made some great accomplishments and I'm on top of the world, and other days I leave wondering if I've accomplished anything at all. But I realize that I am definitely in the right field (HR), and when I get down and discouraged sometimes I just need to take a long hard look in the mirror for direction.
    Thanks to everyone for being so kind and supportive. I sure do appreciate y'all!

  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 09-08-04 AT 08:40AM (CST)[/font][br][br]I've heard some companies have policies that the people in the pictures on your desk have to follow the same dress code as the work dress code i.e. no swimsuits at work. I think it's a good rule of thumb. Then if a guy has a picture of a girl in a swimsuit at his desk and you have to ask him to take it down because his co-worker is offended by it, he can't turn around and say, "But what about that picture of you on your desk?" I agree, they should be mature enough to handle it, but don't give them the amunition. I'm a complete square at work because I want people to treat me with respect and I don't want conversations to include swearing or off color topics, but no one knows that I have a big tattoo on my back, and like to drink and swear when I'm not at work. If I do let a swear word slip at work it makes everyone laugh because they don't hear them from me often.
  • "They play favorites, have no idea or comprehension of how and why things should be done in a specific, consistent and logical manner."

    Boy, oh boy! I read this and thought "darn, that's EXACTLY what I deal with daily. I think I may be in exactly the same place in my head you were when this post was originally written. I am so tired of having to explain to "seemingly intelligent people" that a BUSINESS cannot be run by erratic and ever changing emotions. I have one manager that consistently changes her mind. On Monday it is "place an ad, he is out of here!!!" On Wednesday she is explaining to me the ee's "personal issues" and why the behavior was justified. It is headache making and annoying, to say the least. The ee's are running amok!!! After Hurricane Charley I received phone calls from Tech's who wanted to go out and volunteer to help, but, they ALSO wanted the company to pay them while they did it-Can you believe I had manager's ask me if we would do that??? I was dumbfounded. I thought about it for all of 1/2 minute and said NO, tell them to work and THEN we will pay them.....I feel your pain!
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