Re-Entry Is A Bitch

Dawn Burke Career Paths, Change, Change Management, Dawn Hrdlica, Good HR, HR, HR (& Life!) Advice, Recognition

I’ve been off the blog grid for a long time. Why? These words come to mind: Life. Work. Focus. Depletion. Writer’s block. Fatigue. Apathy. Boredom. Regurgitation. Extra-work.

My soul—not my brain—my soul needed some quiet… at least some fraction of quiet in a very busy life. Life sucker-punched me and the grief I covered up with work finally forced itself front and center. My creativity was gone. Which was yet another thing I had to grieve, too.

But then—as always—energies and intentions change. Events happen that make our priorities shift. Grief lifts, work doesn’t stink, sleep returns and out of the blue, when you are brushing your teeth, or picking out hummus at the grocery store, or trying on jeans, you have an idea that invigorates you, if even just for 5 minutes.

And things that made you happy before might not be quite the same, but do return.  In my case, re-entering the Fistful Of Talent world is something that again invigorates me and makes me happy. So here I am literally jumping back in.

But I have to admit I’m nervous. What am I doing? Re-entry is such a bitch:

  • What if the readers and bloggers think I’m a hack?
  • What if my creativity leaves again?
  • What if Kris Dunn, the Fistful founder (yes, that sounds weird), thinks I’ve got crap to say?
  • What if I don’t feel as snarky as before?
  • What if snarky is out of vogue?
  • What if snarky isn’t even a word anymore?
  • What if I’ve lost it?
  • What if the HR space has changed too much?
  • What if nobody likes me?
  • What if I fail?

And there it is.

  • Same as at work.
  • Same for the person who loses a job and starts another.
  • Same as the person that is responsible for a new project, product or team.
  • Same as the person at work, who’s been there for 10 years, who hates their job but is stuck.
  • Same as the person who loves their job but the work’s escalated beyond their depth.
  • Same as the person who, too, has been sucker-punched by life but has to keep it all together.

Talented HR pros: Re-entry at work takes many forms. Help your employees navigate these changes. How?

  • Ask Questions.
  • Listen.
  • Redirect.
  • Empathize.
  • Let them fail fast if necessary.
  • If their work is bad—tell them.
  • If their work is good—tell them.
  • If their work is great—tell them.
  • Most importantly, be patient within reason. Then be reasonable.

Eventually the answers in their own time become clear. And if you’ve supported them correctly, you’ll have a work partner for life, even if it’s not at your current company.

Dawn Burke
Dawn Burke, founder/advisor for Dawn Burke HR, is an HR leader, speaker and writer specializing in new HR practices, engagement and workplace culture. Her HR/leadership career has spanned the last 20 years, most recently serving as VP of People for Birmingham, AL’s award-winning technology company, Daxko (And yes, Kris Dunn and Dawn are making Bham the HR capital of the world! Who knew?). You can also check her out at and a variety of other interesting places. Google her, it’ll keep you posted on what she is up to.