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I'll Remember: Doing Work and Appreciating the Journey
Working for the objective might mean you miss the joy along the way. That’s it. That’s the message to take with you today.
Over the last couple of weeks to the last few months, the number of human resources professionals, talent acquisition leaders, DEI specialists and training coordinators laid off from their organizations has spiked. I’ve spoken to many of them. These are hard conversations as the uncertainty of what’s next is constricting. For some, it was like a vice around their necks as they tried to keep a stiff upper lip while video chatting with me. (PSA – I don’t need you to keep a stiff upper lip. I’m the guy whose lips will quiver and eyes will leak right along with you. You're safe with me). It is fearful and the current economy is tenuous at best, especially in our field.
And from these conversations, some themes have emerged. The short-sightedness of some companies in their reductions in force is staggering. We are still trending at a 38% turnover rate overall within the first year of employment. To continue to look at the broader human resources function as a throwaway because it’s “hard to find the ROI” is errant, and someone needs to connect the dots more clearly at that organization. We are not going to make that trend better by removing the inclusive-focused, employee-experience professionals from the building.
Concurrently, what has, also, been expressed are those regrettable relational truths:
“If I had only appreciated more what I had when I had it.”
“We were working so hard to get to a goal that I didn’t enjoy the journey.”
“I missed the value of people as I spent more time in data on dashboards than in conversations with people.”
The joy along the way. Like some other disciplines, the human resources profession can get wrapped up in results. The goals we set, or that get set for us, are drivers and in point of fact, they should be. It is ridiculous to think that our job is only to stop by employee breakrooms with cake and balloons as if we’re hosting the evening’s entertainment on the Acapulco Lounge on the Love Boat. Connecting with others matters, but it is not realistic to do so with only social chatter. Take hold of those objectives and chart out a thoughtful, deliberate and measurable path forward.
And yet, the path forward is littered with opportunities for connection and relationship. Some of you…wait for it…work for companies that are pretty great. You like the majority of people there. You appreciate the constructs in places. You think the leadership of the organization, while continuing to develop, are open to collaboration and invite you to partake often. But it may have become so EOS or some other pathway driven that you’ve missed the joy along the way.
This time of transition may drive home a better appreciation of what you had. Don’t be mad about it, but rather, reflect upon it. How great that you were there! You have made an impact and those ripples in the lives of others may go on for years, even without you knowing. Could you have paid better attention to it? Yes. Will it impact your perspective in your next role? Yes. It’s a learning opportunity, as cliché as you may find that.
So, today, whether you are in transition or you are firmly planted at your current organization, stop and reflect upon the journey – the lives you’ve touched, the successes you’ve seen, the failures that galvanized a group of contributors and the opportunities you’ve opened and encouraged for others. The review will likely be more robust than you thought it would be. Enjoy it. All of it. The joy along the way is a gift for you, for those around you and for the company as a whole. Celebrate it while you’re there. Don’t wait to just look back on it when you miss it. Jump into the joy right now.