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Susan M. Heathfield

When Is Leaving HR the Answer?

By September 23, 2013

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Most email I receive asks me about how to get into the field of Human Resources. So, I've written extensively about transitioning to a career in HR and how to get into a career in HR from the beginning.

I've also tried to focus on what a beginner to the HR field needs to know. But, lately, I receive emails from readers who want to know when it is time to get out of HR, a topic I have pondered a lot lately because your emails got me thinking.

You speak of a lost sense of mission, an inability to create the impact you believe you should have on an organization's culture and direction, and your fights with finance. So, I've come up with the top ten reasons why you might want to leave HR altogether. For the record, I believe that every one of these issues is curable, and that leaving the field might be a drastic solution. But, every solution will require tremendous effort, especially if you stay in your current job.

Personally, I did the day-to-day in HR for a number of years early in my career and I also did the day-to-day for four years recently for a client. And, to tell you the truth, the daily transactions and administrative updates fail to ring my chimes.

In fact, I don't expect to do them again in my career. I'm complaining, too, from a director position (that would have been VP if I had decided to stay) where I had a generalist, an administrator, and an assistant to help me out. So, I have a tremendous amount of empathy for your feelings about each of these ten issues.

Additionally, HR staff struggle with the various hats they must wear and that can engender all sorts of bad feelings from employees which they are willing to share: do you hate HR? and do you trust HR?

At the same time, I can also see the humor in our career choice: You know you're in HR when...

Some readers have started to share their thoughts in the Forum about why they want to leave HR. What would make you consider that leaving HR is your answer?

Image Copyright Amanda Rohde

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