Oct 11, 2006

HR Careers

I’ve been getting more and more emails about people who are starting off on HR careers. It was similar at KIAMS Harihar where I was judging a HR paper writing contest. People usually ask if there is a single industry that is better than others in the kind of HR management careers it offers to youngsters.

My response to such questions is in the form of a question: What do you want your career to be?

That’s when I find out that even after spending one or one and a half years in an MBA people are not clear which direction they want their careers headed. One has to have a overall vision for oneself . Not very specific, so that it does not constrain you, but a general direction.

Do you want to head the HR of a large business ? That calls for a specific career plan and orientation. Or do you want to be a specialist, like an OD or Learning or Compensation expert. In times of growth, experts command a premium but during times of a slump can find oneself in hot waters. Working for a consulting firm or service provider adds unique skills to you, but which lose much of their potency in corporate entities.

Unless one answers these questions, you can’t really expect to be guided or coached by others. What was the line in Alice in Wonderland ?
“which road should I take?”
“Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know. Aywhere.”
“Then take any road. It’ll get you there”