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Friday, January 20, 2006

Back to School

I’m going back to school! As of 10 minutes ago, I am officially enrolled in Cal State University, Long Beach. I am taking a certificate course in Human Resources Management (HRM). Classes start next week. After careful consideration and lots of deliberation with my hubby, parents and mentors, I’ve decided that this is the next career step for me.

When I got my graduate degree in Organizational Psychology two years ago, my career goal was to work as an Organizational Development consultant doing things like training, coaching, leadership development, change management – all sorts of good stuff for companies and for their employees. I took a personality assessment a few years ago (The Birkman Profile) that best summed up my strengths and interests – I had a very high people score (likes persuading others, marketing, teaching and training) and a very high social awareness score (likes helping others and making the world a better place). So I was on the right track.

In the two years since graduating where I’ve been with this consulting company, that goal sort of happened – but not to the degree that I imagined. Yes, I’ve done some training. Yes, I’ve done some coaching (very minor coaching I have to clarify). Yes, I’ve done some OD. But I don’t feel like I’ve really helped or motivated anyone. As a consultant, you’re in and out of a company in a day or two – or however long it takes to complete a project. As a consultant (for a boutique consulting firm), most of my days are spent selling and marketing our services rather than actually delivering the training.

So, while I certainly do not plan to leave this company any time soon, I thought it would be interesting to consider my future career options. One of which would be to work as a fulltime employee of a company. My rational is that as a permanent member of a company, I can do more good. I can train, consult, coach and motivate people – and stay long enough to see improvements. However, since not all companies have OD or internal training departments, the logical step would be to work in HR. Essentially HR functions are very in-tune with what I’ve been educated in and with what I’ve been doing. But it goes a step further in terms of dealing with employment laws, compensation & benefits, performance appraisal, etc., etc. Hence, the need to take this course.

On the other hand, after this course, maybe I can develop other HR-related services for the company I work for now and still work with the clientbase that I’ve developed. It's another thought.

In retrospect, I've considered that any way I look at it, getting more education is a good thing. As my parents (who are strong proponents of learning) say, how can learning and educating yourself be wrong? So, it’s back to school for me.

I am actually very excited about this. Funny how when I was much younger I didn’t particularly like school. It was such an effort for me to wake up every day and go to class, homework was a drag, and studying, well, let’s just say I did not do my fair share of it in high school. College was not much different. The revelation of the value of education really hit me while in grad school. My rationalization here is I studied more and did so much better because I was studying what I wanted to be studying (none of that algebra, geometry, chemistry and physics nonsense!). Plus the fact that I was older and wiser and knew how much the whole thing cost! Much more so now, with this certificate course, while it’s not as expensive as grad school, it will seem that way since my hubby and I are paying for it! :)

4 comments:

jol said...

For me, education is the best investment. Once gained, it is something you will never lose. Congratulations for taking that step that may lead you to a career in Human Resources. People remain the most important resource in any organization. You will make an excellent motivator!

jml said...

Congratulations! As always decision making is a dilema but somehow you manage to carefully think of the pros and cons and make a quick and decisive action. Keep up with the good work! The greater the effort, the better the results.

jml said...

Congratulations! As always decision making is a dilema but somehow you manage to carefully think of the pros and cons and make a quick and decisive action. Keep up with the good work! The greater the effort, the better the results.

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