In kind, this is the wisdom I imparted onto her:
- Your background in finance and I.T. are valuable skills for success in HR. When applying for entry level HR jobs, accentuate these skills.
- There can be bureaucracy and lack of altruism in HR. Ironically, working in HR can provide opportunities to recognize, understand and rectify both.
- The first rule of working in HR is you don't have to like people. The second rule of working in HR is you don't have to like people.* During our conversation, she said she wants to help people in the organization to do their work better. That is the third rule. I also told her that the first two rules are difficult for some non-HR people to understand. They expect us to like people.
- One of the best jobs for the LGBT community are jobs in HR. At birth, I believe there is an assumption by most parents that their child is straight. Growing up under those circumstances in a straight-couple home can be strange and uncomfortable. If sexual orientation is genetic, and the environment is not reflective or understanding, by the time one is their teens, they've experienced something unusual. Experiencing, and subsequently understanding and accepting unusual is to experience, understand and accept people. Everyone's life is unusual. Great HR professionals always remember this. Because the LGBT community has a propensity to have unusual experiences, it's always easier for us to remember this.
Even though I'm on an HR Mission, I realize by my messy pile of work, my unanswered emails and phone calls, I'm easily distracted. I'm easily distracted by squirrels. Sometimes I pull my attention back to the matter at hand. Sometimes I chase after them. Sometimes, there are too many to chase so I ignore them. Sometimes, there are so many in my office at one time, they look like one giant squirrel.
So my last piece of advice for the upcoming HR professional is despite the advances of your mission and the certainty of your map, you can always count on squirrels. Get used to them now. Because on some days, your office is going to be full of them.
*sly allusion to the book and movie, "Fight Club." **alluding to the movie scene in "Up"