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Professional Typhoon: Lessons Learned During Career Transition

PC: Jeanae Melisa

Have you ever experienced a year that was a professional typhoon, yet after it had passed it turned out to have a silver lining? That year for me was 2012. It left me perplexed and a bit disheveled. I ended the year thinking, ”What the heck just happened.” Earlier in the year, I could tell that change was coming but I have to admit that I was not ready for what was ahead. I experienced several situations that I had never encountered before and would like to share some of the lessons that I had learned.

I had worked in accounting the majority of my hotel career. It wasn’t because I particularly enjoyed it. What I can say is that it was comfortable. I had a successful career progression. Additionally, it was a skill that came natural and it was convenient for me. As a single mother, accounting gave me the hours and flexibility I needed to raise my daughter. I can’t remember when I realized that I wanted to do something more than numbers, but I remember pursuing human resources’ positions late 2011. Not only did I want to expand my professional portfolio, I also wanted to assist others in their journey.

I remember talking to my boss, telling him that I was open to an alternate career path. I argued my case about how and why human resources could be a seamless transition for me even though I was an assistant director of finance. I will tell you why also. I held dual roles while I was at the Sheraton Crescent; I was the ADOF and the Lead Six Sigma Green Belt for the hotel. I spent a lot of my time at the Crescent bridging communication gaps between the hotel staff and management. I worked with different teams to implement best practices and trained them on projects rollouts. I developed training guides for best practice implementation. Finally, I understood compliancy guidelines for HR because the DOF placed me over audit compliancy for the hotel. Now, I know that these examples did not mean I was a shoo-in for the HR department, but I felt they offered me a stable foundation to start from and to learn more.

DOF did not see why I wanted to change, but he did say that he would support. When I spoke to the Director of HR, she did not see it as a smooth transition, but she asked me to put together training plan, so she and I met regularly the first half of 2012 to create a plan of action to introduce me to HR leaders in the valley and to develop other skill sets needed for an HR professional. I spent time learning from different avenues. I went to school, watched training seminars, and on the sideline, I resolved HR issues that might have surfaced that were not overly confidential. I worked diligently to see what the needs of the hotel staff were and provided solutions as to how leadership could tap into the human capital at the hotel.

Nothing materialized. Even though I was ready for a change, the right opportunity did not surface and that was okay. I learned some valuable lessons in that pursuit.

Lessons learned

  • 1st lesson – Comfort leads to stagnancy. Many times people settle for less than what they want because what they have is easy and convenient. Don’t settle in your career. Push yourself to do something that you enjoy and break your own self-imposed barriers to move beyond your comfort zone.

  • 2nd lesson - People can place you in a box. It is easy to find yourself in a box that you are not aware of. It is their limitations but it does not have to be yours. If you find yourself in a box, don’t make a home there, breakdown the walls, make it flat and use it to establish a new foundation for something that you want to build.

  • 3rd lesson – Don’t get frustrated in the journey. It is part of the process. If you want something bad enough grind until it happens. Find ways to develop the skill sets and knowledge you need that will move you closer towards achieving your goal.

  • 4th lesson – People might not always see your vision. It is okay. Consider them blind. After all they don’t really have the capability to see what you see for your life. Similarly, just because people don’t see your vision doesn’t mean you can’t make it come to fruition.

We grow from our experiences. Regardless of how they turn out, every opportunity has takeaways that we can learn from. The key is that we continue to learn, grow and keep striving to make things happen. Obstacles are there to test tenacity. We don’t always know what the outcome will be but as long as we cultivate ourselves, something great is bound to happen.

Remember I said, that it was a professional typhoon. Well there was a storm brewing. And this is just the beginning, so stay connected. Next month I will share how I was offered an ideal job but had to make a decision that would impact my career forever.

Angela Garmon, with ARG Coaching and Consulting Group, works with organizational leaders, who are overwhelmed and frustrated with changes in their organizations. These leaders want to bring their team together and produce results. Connect with us to discuss some viable solutions to move your team closer to their goals


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