Career, Social Media & Learning, Working in People & Culture

From Melbourne Australia to Washington D.C. for #SHRM16

If you cannot feel it radiating through your screen, let me tell you, I’m pretty excited!  In a matter of weeks, I’ll be arriving to Washington, D.C. with possibly the best cohort of people you could ever want to conference with. No sarcasm: HR people are the best – we make a difference in people’s lives, we get to work in every industry, and we get to contribute to easily the most interesting part of work – the people! We share, we get energized by improving things, we challenge each other and we’re open to doing things differently.
Whether you hail from the U.S. or not, you need to know that those of us that don’t hear a lot about HR in America. Google any hot topic employment issue, and there’s a company in Silicon Valley dealing with it in a gobsmackingly creative way. Google the ‘death of HR’, and you’ll find a plethora of passionate HR bloggers who, mostly from the USA, are debating how we continue to evolve and shape the world around us. What about Twitter? Where are the best tweetchats happening? Well SHRM are running them! Google paid maternity leave… ok… maybe not a good example?

Obviously the impressive line-up of speakers is a big draw card for the conference.  And because of this, one of my most challenging tasks is going to be deciding what I must attend versus what I really, really, really want to attend. If I start sharing my list at this stage, it’s actually just a transcript of the whole line up – proving for once and all that I still need to do some serious reviewing of the seemingly thousands of sessions on offer before my arrival.

This will be my first SHRM Conference this year, and the anticipating is killing me – meeting the other bloggers and SHRM-ers will be excellent! The amount of collaboration and sharing that happens within the HR community on social media is true warm-fuzzy material. A few of the bloggers are even doing a fantastic seminar on social media strategies for HR and business goals (it’s an additional session on the Saturday run by Sharlyn Lauby, Jonathan A. Segal, Craig Fisher, and Aliah D. Wright). I highly recommend this one if you’re thinking about dipping your toe in the water on social media or just want to learn from the best.

The SHRM community and its international impact have been highlighted for me through Steve Browne who has connected many of us internationals with the great minds at SHRM (a big hi to Andrew, Mary, John & team!). The global network this event enables is mind-blowing – the opportunity to interact with other attendees is fantastic. HR is so broad! We work in so many places and industries, have different approaches to strategy and delivery.  And yet the common experience means that when you meet anyone in our industry, you instantly have 10 similar issues and opportunities – and the great thing about HR people is they’re willing to share and help each other out.

Along these lines – please do approach me and other bloggers at the conference – we’ll be furiously mashing a keyboard with one hand, having a phone in the other (possibly also pockets full of chocolate), while manically sharing and interacting with others on social media. But if you want to discuss how to engage and better access this wonderful online community, I’m sure every single one of us would love to share our passion with you.

I’m looking forward to meeting you in June – now just to prepare my cork hat, my pet kangaroo and pack the bags! (Just kidding. I’m actually a Kiwi living in Australia, so it will be bringing a rugby ball and hobbit slippers.)

Happy conferencing!

 

—-

 

For more information and to attend SHRM 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition, visit www.annual.shrm.org.

This article was first published at SHRM

 

Career, Thinking differently, Working in People & Culture

How I Got My Dream Job

This is going to come across as a complete humblebrag but bear with me (interestingly this is spelled ‘bear’ rather than ‘bare’ – Google it – makes for a good read)…

How many of you genuinely work somewhere (or for those of you that consult, with clients) that really align to your values?

Not just corporate speak “oh honesty and excellence, well yeah I totally agree with those in theory” – but, right in your bones, you get to work somewhere that you’re genuinely proud of?

I get to. It wasn’t an accident. I’ve worked a few places where that wasn’t true (and one where is was the polar opposite of true). I purposefully sought somewhere where I could hand-on-heart say that I believe in what we do, why we do it and how we do it. It was a bit scary at first.

The role I began at my current organisation (OK – YMCA Victoria – it’s all over my LinkedIn and Twitter anyway :)) could have been seen as a ‘step down’ career wise. I took a role with less pay and a less impressive sounding job title – but it felt 100% right.

Why?

  • When I met with the manager of the team where I’d work I genuinely felt like he was there for the right reasons and I’d be able to learn from him.
  • When I looked into the work that YMCA Victoria do, I realised they are an organisation of action (impressively so and across a huge range of areas).
  • When I interviewed the team interviewing me where really passionate about their work. It came across really clearly and I also had a sense from both my key stakeholders (that were involved in all stages of the interview process) that they loved what they do.
  • I felt that there was potential with this organisation for future opportunities and growth.

I was hugely nervous about this decision. Actually ‘hugely nervous’ doesn’t even begin to convey just how terrified I was about the decision to leave a great job. But the payoff was worth it.

Very quickly I had confirmation that I’d made the right decision. The team I worked with was great, I was mentored by some really talented people and my primary operational stakeholder group consistently gave me extra time (while never making me feel like I was imposing) to really help me understand their world.

When I attend events or talk with my peers at other organisations I regularly feel out of place for loving what I do and where I work so much. But I shouldn’t.

I realise the economic realities and the hugely privileged position I was in to take my time in finding the right role – and being educated and skilled in an area where I can find my dream job. In saying that, I did take my time. My husband and I moved to Australia with 3 suitcases and I’ve had some shocking work experiences along the way, in both Australia and New Zealand. But being purposeful and taking a long term view has meant that I now work with people that I genuinely hope I continue to work with for 5 (or, gasp, even 10,) years.

Can everyone work in their dream job? Probably not. The way the world works means for many that holding on to a job, any job, that puts food on the table may be the driving objective.

But if you can, if there’s any way you can chase your dream job, or dream company. Do it. I cannot tell you how much my life has changed since taking a role somewhere where I’m proud to work.