It may be an early mid-life crisis, but after 14 years in HR, I’m thinking
about getting out of the personnel field – I feel the need to do something new
and fresh. Any ideas for other occupations where the skills I’ve acquired might
serve me equally well?
Doug Knott, senior consultant, Chiumento
The world is your oyster! I have worked with HR professionals who have moved
into a wide variety of other occupations – from chief executive to bus driver
and from sales director to member of the Clergy.
The HR fraternity is a broad church and there are no generic career paths
universally suitable for all those seeking a new challenge. Many HR
professionals do, however, find it difficult to move into functions such as
sales or finance. So why not consider a move into operations management in your
current or a similar organisation?
The high people management content typical of such roles will give you a
great opportunity to apply those best practice HR policies you have promoted for
the last 14 years. You will also find a spell in a line management role will
make you a more effective HR professional in the future.
Take time to reflect on your longer-term career goals and ensure your next
move adds value to the achievement of those objectives. On a practical note,
you also need to consider the financial implications of moving to a new
occupation and any development needs or qualifications that may be needed to
John Baker, head of practice, Macmillan Davies Hodes
If you are looking to do something different, you need to consider not just
what 14 years in HR has provided you with, but assess your other life skills as
well. Additionally, it is important you identify what you want to achieve in
your career, both short and long term.
I recommend you invest some time and money in consulting with a reputable
career counsellor to take you through this process. If you are unsure who to
approach, it is worth speaking to a number of different organisations to find
an individual whom you feel comfortable working with.
If you are fundamentally dissatisfied with an HR career, you may need to
take some far-reaching decisions as to your career development.
Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy
You need to analyse your skills. If these include good interpersonal skills,
the understanding of the employment relationship, the link between reward and
motivation and good business awareness, then the world is your oyster.
It may be better to start with what in life interests you. Do you want work
that will benefit others or is your motivation financial? Are you just having a
mid-life crisis? You need to bear in mind that a change of career in a
professional role may need further training and qualifications and while you are
training, you will take a drop in salary.
It may be worth looking at general management roles. There are numerous
examples of HR people moving into general management. Alternatively, how about
running a caravan site?