I often joke that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve been in HR for a long time now. I can remember having a conversation with my manager at my last job about “what brings me joy at work.” I remember looking at those lists of possible responsibilities and just thinking “it’s not here.” And I felt peace that it was okay to not have “joy” at work. I remember saying “but this funds my joy.” And then I started my wine blog. Those first 2 blogs were practice. I had a few followers but I don’t think any post had more than 2 comments. But I loved writing them. I missed writing the when the Blogger app stopped working and it was harder to get my thoughts down. And so I decided to start writing again.
About a year ago, I bought the book “Quitter.” It took me this long to crack it open. I’ve actually spent the last year thinking that perhaps what I really wanted was to be an HR leader and I needed that leader title, like Manager or Director, to do so. Two rejections later, I realize that I need to redefine “leader.” And so, seeing this book on my shelf decided it was time to finally read it.
This book has helped me clarify a few things I’ve been struggling with over the past few years.
1. My years in HR have actually helped me hone the skills I need for my dream, namely writing. I’ve spent most of those years learning about HR. In the past few years participating in the HR Twitter chats have helped me clarify my thoughts and to write succinctly — only 140 characters really helps eliminate those unnecessary words! I’ve also realized I kind of know what I’m talking about and when I don’t, I can either find the right answer or take the opportunity to learn.
2. My time in HR is fuel for my dream. I may not be the first, but I am a voice for HR and I can use my passion for writing to find greater meaning in my day job. I’m not quitting my day job, but I do want to spend those 40 hours doing something meaningful. By writing about what I know, I can share my ideas and begin collaborating with other HR writers to add to the ongoing conversation.
3. For a long time, I’ve defined success by a job title and salary. I’ve bought into the myth/story that success is more money, more people reporting to you, more influence, more something. I forgot, or didn’t think, that these things can be exclusive. I can influence a lot of people without a fancy title or salary. I need to redefine success for me. I do hope that someday my dream will = $, but it needs to be a little better defined than “hope … someday.”
4. Finding an order to this. In Quitter, Jon Acuff recommends “Start small. Start slow.” (Pg 130). Earlier he says first you need “passion” then “practice” and finally a plan. I think I would add in “perseverance.” I can be quick to give up or procrastinate. Any one of these things on its own is not enough to get to my new definition of success – whatever that is.
So watch for this! Ask me about it. I need to spend some time coming up with my definition of success, at least in my professional life. And then practice, practice, practice.