A Message for HR Students

I’ve had the good fortune to work with students for the majority of my career, both in a professional and volunteer setting. Today I continue to be inspired by students everywhere, especially those aspiring to join the ranks of human resources, talent development, and organizational development professionals. 

We are all facing a challenge that has made it difficult to see beyond the day, let alone the week, month, or year. Making plans for the future and celebrating accomplishments might feel out of place right now, but that’s exactly what we must do.

Congratulations on completing your coursework and graduating!

In any year, this would be no small achievement. In 2020, it’s an accomplishment that will be looked upon with admiration for generations to come. Know that your family, friends, and community are proud of you even if we can’t express it in the ways we have in the past.

Be proud of your accomplishments. Celebrate. Allow yourself to feel joy!

When the time comes to take the next step, you will rise to the occasion. You are ready.

And if you find yourself stuck or searching for a place to start, consider these four pieces of advice.

Life is Not Linear, and Work is Not Linear:

It would be wonderful if we could all count on an upward climb to our life and career goals, but that just isn’t the case. On the way to success, you’ll experience challenges that will force you to rethink your plans, step aside or even step back just to stay afloat.

It’s okay to feel frustrated by these moments.

Just don’t let frustration at the moment distract you from your life’s purpose. Focus on the things you can control, how you respond to successes, to setbacks, to the news of the day, and to the calls from the people you serve for help. Your strength lies not in factors beyond your ability to change, but in those that you can.

You Aren’t On Your Own:

The burden of this time is not yours to bear alone. There are thousands of HR professionals meeting the demands of the moment and rising to the challenges of today. Many have been working to build a world of work that works for everyone for years. Now, they’re stepping up to respond to crisis by reinventing the way we work, by volunteering, by mentoring and coaching, and by helping as much as possible. Seek them out.

As Fred Rogers said, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping”

Join us in answering the call to help our communities and to help the people and the organizations we serve. We all have a duty to use our experience, knowledge, and skills to help others, especially right now.  

But perhaps most importantly, BE a helper.

Find ways to put some good into the world. Get involved in your community. Lend your time and your energy to causes that help those who have been most impacted by this crisis. You will gain just as much from these experiences as the people and organizations you serve.

We study and pursue careers in this field to help others live AND work to their full potential.

Everything we do serves this purpose. It’s our calling to put people in a position not just to get by, but to thrive. You have the talent and opportunity to begin doing so immediately. Choose to do so.

The world is yours to shape and heal. 

2 thoughts

  1. This was a great article! I have been struggling because I have had a lot of setbacks in regards to my career because of covid. So, I especially enjoyed the part about work not being linear!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Alex. I graduated at the height of the Great Recession, and while it’s certainly not the same as today, what gets us through tough times is surprisingly simple. Stick with it. Lean into your strengths and the things you care for most. Keep moving. In time, those setbacks will be a thing you once faced and a story you use to inspire others.


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