Sitting there eating my ice cream under a palm tree surrounded by my family, they finally asked me. “So have you figured it out?” I had been dreading that question for 3 months. One year ago, I had decided to end my career break with a family vacation in Punta Cana. It was my mom’s wise decision to offer me a trip to the Caribbean in hopes of getting me to leave South America. And it worked! But when the dreaded question came- I knew the answer.
“I want to stay in HR and I want to focus on international HR”. It was that simple. This answer only came after fully examining my career choices and decisions. In order to get this clarity, here are some questions that I needed to ask myself.
1) Why do you do what you do? People spend the majority of their lives working in jobs for companies. I wanted to make that a place where people had a chance to do meaningful work, were recognized for a job well done, were motivated and overall had a better quality of life. That would translate into a company with productive employees who were engaged and enjoyed better business success. Win/Win.
2) What was the next step? I wanted to do international HR. I’ve always been interested in different cultures and people working together. The next logical step for me was learning more about the international implications of businesses and their people. I wanted to get a job where I had global responsibilities. Although I had been working in an international company, I didn’t have as much exposure to global HR as I wanted. I had worked for a Canadian based company and the majority of employees were in Canada. I wanted to work for a truly global company that was headquartered in another part of the world.
3) What’s your long term plan? Invest in some formal education/training in international HR so I could apply best practices in HR on a global scale. I knew local HR and had my professional designation but I wanted to expand that to the global marketplace.
4) What Changed? I remembered the reason why I went into it in the first place. I understood that life is about trade-offs and it really isn’t always greener on the other side. I got so caught up in the numbers and the metrics that I lost some of the human element. But if you focus on the “right” behaviors the results will come. As much as I thought I wanted a “simple” life, I was bored. I craved an intellectual challenge and I did want to be in the corporate world.
5) Anything else? I wanted to work for an industry that I was excited about. It had to be fun. HR always gets a bad rep for being overly conservative and boring. I had to work for a company that was cutting edge and exciting. It was that simple.
Within a month of coming back to Canada, I was hired for a UK based company managing the global human resources. And exactly 1 year later, after researching global HR and its practices I have enrolled to take the Global Professional Human Resources Certification. So yes, I may have spent many days in South America on a beach meeting random people, partying with strangers, and doing things that I won’t be sharing with my family. But sometimes that is what you need to get yourself back on track. It is what I needed and sometimes you just have to listen to that voice screaming inside of you- I’m glad that I did.