As mentioned yesterday, after working at Northrop Grumman and achieving the title of OD director plenty of career opportunities opened for me that were local. Although Northrop Grumman had allowed me to domicile in Denver, even though technically I worked for the Washington DC office, I was traveling almost every week. Telecommuting was in its early phases and so most every job I did require me to physically be there. My goal, of course, was not to eliminate travel altogether but to get to spend time where I lived.
I was hired by a local Denver firm who wanted to start a Training Department. They had a budget and had hoped to develop department into a full-blown OD effort. It truly was a perfect opportunity. I would be in line to replace the VP of HR. I was more-or-less promised informally that she was going to retire, and that HR would embrace all the components promoted by OD. I had held a long belief that HR if they had a seat at the table, could change an organization to an incredible extent. People just needed to understand how powerful we could be! We would make important differences that would impact the bottom line.
I was still naïve and believed I was there for the employee. I had not totally caught on, yet that HR is there for the company’s interest. After all, I had gone to several meetings at NG, who kept telling me we were there for the people and that people were their biggest asset. Never mind, that when I asked for something that would directly benefit the people, I was mostly ignored. I retained the mindset that I serve the employees way past the time it should’ve been obvious that I did not.
Unfortunately, it didn’t appear I was being taken any more seriously, at my new job, than I was at my former company. The job was not the dream job I anticipated, but things were going well. Jobs are never perfect, right? And, I was, I believed, headed in the right direction. Plus, I was sent to places such as Geneva, London, and Sydney. Naturally, I sent postcards to my friends at NG, who were under a traveling freeze. Life was good. I really like Little Rock Arkansas especially their zoo, but Paris was better and seemed like a step up.
It was some time before I caught on, that the person I was destined to replace as the VP of HR, didn’t seem like she was going anywhere anytime too soon. But I found things to occupy my time.
For several years, I had taught at Barnes Business College. I rarely put it on my resume since the college went bankrupt. It is rather hard to camouflage that you work for a business college that wasn’t listening to their own advice. But, I was getting bored at work, and the University of Phoenix offered me a part-time position in their graduate program for HR. So that kept me busy for a while. Due to my travel schedule, I couldn’t always commit to their, then six-week class format, but I did enough to keep me convinced that HR was an important field. After all, there were people studying in hopes of getting a job like mine.
I was invited to become a board member of Colorado Human Resources Association. During that time, I promoted the HR career field to many college students and people looking to switch jobs. I was told by several people that I had inspired them to change careers and join the ranks of HR practitioners. I spoke at regional conferences on the subject and even wrote a book HR Concepts for Project Managers. And, then it happened.
I was happily traveling home and was at DIA when I saw Fast Company had published an article called “Why We Hate HR” Link: https://www.fastcompany.com/53319/why-we-hate-hr
This article had such an amazing impact that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I started questioning if I even wanted to be an HR practitioner if this is how the world felt about us. I started wondering if HR, was simply a place for female executives to be kept under control. And, if OD was truly a serious science. The article suggested, that HR professionals have long wanted a seat at the table, but once they have that seat they were ineffective. I had to admit to myself, that I did have a seat at the table and was interfacing with the organization on an international level, but no one truly listens to me.