Employee Relations Moment of Truth: We All Fail

Kelly Dingee Career Advice, Employee Relations, HR, Kelly Dingee

Do you know how I got into HR?

I wanted to work with people.

Every time I think about that sentence these days, “I want to work with people“, I can’t believe how naive I was.  Does anyone say they don’t want to work with people? I imagine there are some, but really, how often does that happen?

Part of the reason I left my last gig was because I needed more people interaction.

I wanted to get my hand back in the Employee Relations game and take my career back towards where I had originally intended to be.  I needed more people time.  I think I forgot what kind of people time I was going to get.  It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the world of Employee Relations.  I totally forgot that.

It is a little strange because as a recruiting professional, I get to feel the win so much of the time.  Everybody is happy, happy, happy when a placement is made.  The Hiring Manager is happy, the candidate is happy and I’m downright ecstatic each and every time.

But when you get into the day to day work, it’s not always happy, happy, happy.  There are issues.  There are problems.  And ultimately, there are failures.  Failures are hard, especially if you’re losing your job.

Any person you will meet, will have failed.

I am surrounded by people who hate to fail, and who hate to admit failure.  My biggest failure to date professionally? I still feel like it was my lay-off back in 2002. That’s almost 20 years ago and I still hone in on it.  Did I do anything wrong? Nope.  Did I fail at my job and have poor performance? Nope.  The circumstances in 2002 were beyond my control, completely and utterly.  There was nothing I could do to save my job.

But the failure was compounded when the job market was not in my favor and I took some time to re-group.  A lot of time. In fact at one point I was fairly certain it would be impossible to get a job in sourcing and work from home. It was frustrating and, dare I say, humbling.  I ended up being off for about 18 months, give or take.

I hated telling people I had been laid off.  I hated telling people I hadn’t found a new job.  It was all failure in my eyes.  And then, something changed.  I made peace with the fail.

I find these days, in my Employee Relations life, a large part of what I am doing is helping people make peace with “their fail.”  Sometimes that’s understanding the fail, or determining if it was really and truly a fail. Almost always it is a discussion focusing on what is next.  There’s always a next.  So when you fail, think it through. Acknowledge the fail, accept it and figure out…what’s next?  Force yourself to take the steps forward so your fail doesn’t be all that defines you.  Learn from it, and then move on.

Note: The postings on this site are my own opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of Marriott International.