Why I Quit HR. For Now.

by Meredith on September 23, 2013

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.

hair big

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.

karen happy

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.

karen bang bang

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.

karen money

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.

karen happy2

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.

martini

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.

Hahahahaha! Wrong.

But I was able to keep my job. And suddenly I was the sole HR person at the dealership.

whats happening

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.

karen rejoice

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.

enough

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.

photo

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.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Tawny

Best of luck – I am honestly very happy about this. Now I won’t be convinced every week to buy a new car. I still blame the Passat purchase on you.

LOL

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Meredith

Hahaha! That’s awesome! Passats are a great whip!

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erica

Good for you Meredith! Sometimes it is hard to do the right thing for ourselves, instead of making our choices for others. I hope you find something that fulfills your wildest passions!

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HR Minion

Congrats on such a big change and I’m sure you will be awesome at whatever you choose to pursue!

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Sara

I think you should teach your mad skills at BG. Or another university. The world needs more HR people like you…and just people like you in general. But I’d prefer you to work for BG cause then we could have lunch together and ooze snarkiness and awesomeness together. :)

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Krist

Good for you for knowing when to say when! I hope this means more blog posts, because I love Karen and you!

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Michael Lombardi

You did what you had to, and that’s very respectable. It’s better to take a risk and make a change than to deflate as a person for years. That eventually turns you into a different person as well as a crappy employee. Best of luck to you and get in touch if you need anything.

I was totally going to make a Tom Brady joke, but decided he’s not worth thinking about more than necessary (which is pretty much not at all).

Now. As for drunk Karen Walker, I don’t know if I ever saw an entire episode. But if Megan Mullally would have done the show naked, I would have watched. Or Debra Messing, I suppose; definitely nothing wrong with that either. I was in college when the show was on which means if they did the show naked it would have been on Skin-a-max at 3am and I would have turned down the volume so I could jam to some music at the same time. That and, my god are Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally annoying when they talk (specifically on that show, not in real life). That’s as close to getting stoned as I’ve ever been. Well, expect that didn’t happen. Damn you, show producers!

Well, that went off the deep end…

*slinks away unnoticed*

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steph gas

good for you. it’s terrifying walking away from a so-called ‘sure thing’ in the interest of self-preservation or growth. i did it once – walked away from a steady, stable, soul-crushing job in customer service/non-quota sales for a job babysitting the mentally ill. i took a 40% cut in pay and have people peeing in my car.

now i’m contemplating going in tonight and telling them it’s my last day. so many people are telling me not to burn my bridges, but i just can’t do it any more. i have another job lined up (it’s no official yet, but once my background check comes back clean it will be). there is no way this place will give my any kind of useful reference because all i do is make juice and drive people (and their pee) home. the job is still in the helping field, but it’s a private company and it’s a reception job. still the bottom of the ladder, but it’s a much more acceptable and familiar ladder (and there is no urine involved unless it’s in a cup). i just wish it wasn’t always so scary! congrats on making the decision and on the first day of the rest of your life!

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Tracey Taylor

So very proud of all all your accomplishments, overcoming fears, tackling new things, being a single mom and especially for taking all of the things you learned and turning it into a certainty that you made the right decision for you and for your family. You’ve inspired thousands even before you made this choice, and now you continue to do so. Much respect, Meredith. And a mighty fist bump. BLOW. IT. UP.

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Victorria

Meredith, I’ve never commented before but I want you to know that I look in my Feed.ly daily to see if you’ve written something–that is how much I enjoy your rants, your posts, your thoughtful and personal sharing. If you have 1/2 the personality and smarts in real life that you do online, there’s no doubt that you will be able to forge your own career path wherever that takes you and do it in style. I only wish the best for you and hope you document that journey so that we can give you encouraging words along the way! Best of luck to you!

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