My best and worst decisions: Amanda Harris, head of HR, The Institute of Ismaili Studies

Best decision

My best career decision was taking an MSc in organisational psychology at Birkbeck, University of London.

I did it part-time while working full-timeand although it made for a very busy two years, it was valuable in terms of enabling me to stand back and have a broader perspective on my work.

It allowed me to be more critical about the work as well, and meant that I was able to adopt a more strategic approach.

I’d been working in an HR management role for about 10 years by that stage, so operationally I knew the job, but in terms of being able to take a more strategic approach, I found that academic inputvery useful.

Another good decision, taken early in my career, was to accept a very busy HR manager role in the NHS.

I think that NHS HR jobs are extraordinarily challenging, but if you are prepared to work hard, they provide a huge amount of scope, and the opportunity to really learn about all aspects of HR.

I took on a job that at first I thought might actually be too big for me, but it proved to be one of the most interesting roles I could have taken at that stage. I learned my trade very quickly in that job.

Worst decision

My worst decision involves always staying too long in jobs. Despite having learned all I need to learn in a job, and knowing that it is time to move on, I always end up staying another year or two.

I’ve never regretted moving on, yet there have been times when I have still been hesitant about going.

I don’t like to be bored in a job – that’s the worst thing, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t mind how busy the job is, but the second that I feel that I’ve done it, and I know it, and I’m bored, it’s time to move on.

As long as you’re learning something new, and are interested and engaged, that’s fine. Otherwise, it’s time to go.

I suppose people also stay longer than they should because of job security and because the role is easy. But that has always been the wrong decision for me.

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