Write the HR You Want the Next Generation to See

When the next generation of HR pros are finishing their HR degrees at univeristy, they are beyond mad keen to be entering this profession. For a few years they have listened to professors talk, researched, written essays and engaged in debates over the subject of HR. They’ve done Occupational Health and Safety, Industrial Relations, Organisational Behaviour, Strategic HR, and random crap like Knowledge Management. For those of us who were actually engaging with the business world, we were probably reading a shite load of business magazines, going to networking events with local professionals and attending career seminars too. 
During my three year degree, I spent six months in France studying in a business school with students from around the world. Somehow I was studying with European kids doing their masters, in my 3rd semester of university as some 19 year old punk. My nickname was Baby Sarah. And I got a fire lit under me as my fellow students were talking about internships they completed last summer that were beyond my wildest career ambitions.
I returned to Australia, aced Microeconomics, became a Microeconomics study assistant paid by the university, won a few business student awards, did a Global Experience Program and learnt skills like network mapping, resume writing and career management.
And during my last semester at uni I started a part time HR job that became my full time HR job after graduation.
At no point did I ever think HR sucked, needed improvement in its general definition, or was an inferior profession to train in than any other course available at the university. Yes, I do want to complete financial training but that reflects on my personal skill set preference, not on HR as a lacking profession.
So quit the whinging you role models!
You people writing with years of experience, wisdom and insight that I can only aspire to have – get over what HR ‘should’ be.
Talk about HR as it is, the challenges, the pitfalls. Talk about your skill set as it is, your future training ambitions, your weaknesses (not the profession’s). Talk about why you chose this career, why you’re staying in it, what future you envisage for it that encourages and complements our profession. Talk about our profession as a real profession.
Who cares what our professional bodies are like? They’re filled with people who are losing sight of what the young generation see. 
Who cares what our peers say about HR? They’re as intelligent on our practices, and expertise, as we are on other professions in the company that can be disruptive to our work (i.e. property maintenance).
Who cares what anyone says about us except ourselves?!
So write the HR you want the next generation to see.
Because the next generation are already highly trained, switched on and ready to go. They just need that opportunity to get in and do it. And when they arrive, let’s not piss on their party with all our misgivings over the profession. Let’s show them that they have arrived at a party with people happy to be there, and not at all intimidated by the parties being held by the kids across the road.
They’ve just been waiting to bring the salt and lemon to your very tasty tequila, and give a big cheers to doing something they see as worthy of a huge student loan debt with future career prospects.

Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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  • 8 January 2013