Often we meet someone who we can relate to almost immediately. I have been fortunate enough to have a former colleague like this…despite differences in our ages, family situations, first languages, and even work styles…we bonded in key ways.
We have enough in common that when we recently went out for dinner – we ordered the same meal, same wine, and even made the same lame jokes to the waitress. I’m pretty sure that that server thought we were a couple. Which makes me laugh, because I like red-heads, not brunettes…oh, and I also prefer men…
There is a fairly significant difference between our employment statuses right now. We both had similar jobs at the same company, but then she took a leave, decided not to return work and went back to school full-time to finish her degree. I totally supported her on this decision. We both were losing our minds. In fact, while she was doing this – I was looking for and found my current job.
Neither of us looked back.
Except since she finished school, she has been unable to find HR work. She will be the first to admit (now) that she drew some pretty defined lines on what she was willing to accept in terms of pay, type of company, type of boss, type of work…she knew what she wanted and didn’t want and didn’t feel she should have to compromise. That’s “potential” talking.
Now “reality” has spoken up and she has seriously reconsidered what she’s willing to compromise on. Her priorities have shifted from finding the perfect job in HR, to finding a job in HR. That’s a steep drop in expectations and it doesn’t come without some adjustment in altitude and attitude.
In her words, this has been an incredibly humbling experience. She has even begun to re-think about whether she should be looking at getting out of HR.
I want to help out – I want to put her in contact with someone who will see what a catch she is. She is smart, quick, well spoken and a hard worker. I’m doing what I can, but I am similar enough to her to be able to imagine how she is feeling. To imagine how she must be lying awake with a thousand thoughts spinning in her head. To constantly have this issue hanging over every moment of her day, especially when she should be enjoying her time with her kids.
This is the side of HR that we often forget about. The unemployed side. The side where we are in the same shoes as our candidates, but we actually have more insight as to what the processes are, what the interviews mean (or don’t mean), and what someone really means when they say “it was down to you and one other person, but we decided to go with the internal candidate”.
What’s the expression: you can’t bullshit a bullshitter?
We had a great evening, but it was hard listening to her struggles. Especially since I know that I am participating in decisions that ultimately make others feel the way she does. offered to help her practice interviewing (I think HR people struggle with this) and to tap my network.
I wish her all the best. I will continue to listen, to support and to help her, but there is nothing I can do or say that will equal a job offer.
This is crappy side of HR.
Knowing what it takes, but not being able to make it happen.