Last Tuesday I quit my job in an ultra dramatic way. I feel bad for that. I really do. But I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I guess to explain why everything came to a head (that’s what she said), I need to explain the roller coaster of this career. Maybe that will help you understand why HR people are typically insane, and the older they get, the more bitchy they get. HR people can’t help it. Our big hair can only hold so many secrets before we finally tap out or start rocking back and forth in a corner.
So here is the career path of an HR Lady, as explained by Drunk Karen Walker.
I got the call to be an HR Assistant at the dealership on a Wednesday. My HR mentor, Sherri, called me to offer me $27,900 per year. I screamed into the phone with delight and immediately accepted.
Which? I made more money as a bartender. But I didn’t care. I had just graduated from the University of Toledo, and I was finally out of crappy night weekend shifts, and I was away from drunks. I called everyone I knew, and told them my career was going to start. And this single mother thing was finally looking up.
My main focus as an HR Assistant was recruiting. At this time, The Facebook wasn’t a “thing”, and Tom from MySpace didn’t offer any help.
I found passive job seekers by cold calling. I cold called every freaking dealership around, and I convinced the receptionists to basically send me their internal phone lists. And then I called every freaking Salesman, Sales Manager, and Service Technician known to man. I had lists of people, where they work, and what they did. Valuable lists that even dealership-specific headhunters couldn’t figure out.
I was awesome at recruiting. AWESOME.
I quickly got a boat load of praise. And my very first raise. I think it put me over $30K. SUPER. BIG. DEAL. AT. THE. TIME.
Note to HR Houses: Hire bartenders to recruit for you. They aren’t afraid to talk to people.
Sherri took super good care of me. She recognized my weaknesses (COMPLIANCE!), and allowed me to grow in my strengths (READING PEOPLE!). But she showed me how to do every single part of her job. You just can’t find a better mentor. I was well versed in every part of HR. I handled unemployment, benefits, metrics, FMLA, Workers Comp, and OSHA with the best of them.
And then one day Sherri’s husband was transferred, and she moved away. I had only been there a couple years, so they hired another guy to be head of HR.
At the same time, the automotive industry fell out. And he taught me how to handle a reduction in force. Actually, I handled telling 88 people they didn’t have a job anymore, all by myself, since he thought that would be a good “learning experience”. And it was. But it was also the beginning of the burn out.
I was pretty sure once I was done reducing the staff, I would lose my job. That’s actually how this blog came to be. I figured it would be easy to make money on the internet until I landed someplace new.
But I was able to keep my job. And suddenly I was the sole HR person at the dealership.
My mildly successful blog and wildly successful social media skills led to other duties as well. I quickly found myself doing digital marketing. Which? OMG I FREAKING LOVED IT!
So all was going well. I pioneered Facebook recruiting (that’s not even an exaggeration – it’s why I get hired to travel and speak about it) right at this little car dealership. I merged digital marketing and HR into one awesome job, and everyone rejoiced.
But pretty soon I realized it was all just too much to handle. The HR things were slipping, I was blindly following managers making bad people decisions, and I was losing sleep over it.
Last year, I let a guy go who didn’t see it coming. I vowed that day to never allow something like that to happen again. I vowed to fight for what’s right by the employees and by the company, because those two things can align.
This would prove a harder task than I had imagined.
I guess I just got sick of the fight. I couldn’t do it all anymore. And the HR part was making me jaded. So in the midst of an oncoming battle for what’s right, I decided I didn’t want to fire people anymore, and I couldn’t watch good people fall.
So last Tuesday, I walked away from HR.
I don’t want anyone to worry. I have many opportunities I’m pursuing. None of which are HR. I’m not saying I’ll never get back into HR, but for now, I need a break from being a dream crusher.
I’ll forever be grateful to Tom Schmidt, Connie Schmidt, and Richard Cronin.
There just aren’t any better people to have as bosses. They’ve encouraged me to follow my dreams. They’ve allowed me to write funny things on the internet. They’ve let me be the social voice of their dealership. And they’ve cheered me on as I tried any idea I’ve ever had, no matter how off the wall it was.
You just don’t find better people than that.
But I just want to step out of HR for now. Maybe forever. I just don’t know yet.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to work for you, Tom. You’ve opened many doors for me because of your open mind. And I’m so incredibly sorry for leaving. It was just time. But thank you. Thank you for all of it. I don’t regret a single thing. You are a fine businessman, a class act. You have talented employees, and I will always be proud to say I worked with you. THANK YOU.