I love my job with all my heart and it is something I have not always been able to say. It is no exaggeration I believe working in this role is one of the reasons I was put on this planet. Here are some lessons I am learning . . .
Always learn in the hard places. Even in jobs you dislike, seek out areas you need to grow and pursue why you are there. Those hard jobs are preparing you for steps down the road. All of the jobs I have held since I started work in 1989 as a fast food janitor have been preparing me for my current role. I believe things do not happen by accident but they build upon each other if you let them.
Work through the scars from past jobs. As you are learning, you will probably develop scars along the way. Recognize it is part of life and they can be used to strengthen you if you let them. Bad bosses, toxic environments can cloud your judgement and cause you to live in fear. Process the wounds, forgive and clear your mind to move forward. Inability to process flashbacks to parallel situations can stunt your growth and limit your success moving ahead. Bad jobs can destroy you if you do not process them in a healthy way. Instead of becoming bitter, be better.
Life is not fair but that is okay. One of my favorite Biblical characters is Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph was a spoiled kid and his father favored him over his brothers. His brothers resented him so much they sold Joseph into slavery. Even in slavery the Bible says “God was with Joseph.” Joseph was falsely accused of sexual assault and thrown into prison. Again, the Bible says “God was with Joseph” even in prison. He was left in prison for years but “God was with Joseph.” Every step people could have easily written Joseph off–“he had so much promise but now he is in slavery … but now he is in prison.” In a rapid turn of events, Joseph was named the number two person in all of Egypt and saved millions of lives due to the skills and training God had allowed Joseph to learn in slavery and prison. If he had always remained the spoiled kid in his father’s employ, he would have been useless and never been equipped or positioned to save millions of lives. Joseph sums up his life well to his brothers decades later in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Work is emotional. The line “It’s not personal, it’s business” from The Godfather is a lie. Human Resources is all about people’s lives and when employees leave, you grieve the loss. Like pruning a rose bush, there are necessary endings for an organization to grow. Pain does occur in the middle. Acknowledge it. Getting the right people on the “bus” as Jim Collins says is key but in reality, it is both painful and productive. Encouraging and giving direction with clarity to those you lead is vital to the success of the organization.
Prioritize and put the big rocks in first. Make sure you are always working on what you are hired to do. Don’t be a train wreck and get off the rails you have been hired to do. Know your metrics by heart and put them on your forehead. Don’t get sidetracked and acknowledge there are things which are “gravel” (office gossip) and “quicksand” (drama) which bogs you down. Always clarify, communicate and make sure you are filling the buckets you have been tasked to accomplish.
Always be learning. Regardless of your job and responsibilities, ALWAYS be learning. Learn from every task and every person. You are there for a reason, learn what that is.
Always manage up. Go at the pace and work flow of your boss. Respect their speed and understand their metrics. Help them meet their metrics because usually your metrics are tied with theirs. Work to make your boss succeed because when they succeed, you win too.
Hope this is an encouragement to you. Work is a process of God shaping you to become the person He desires you to be . . . if you let Him.