I know it’s Tuesday, but I just got back from New York City, so we’re going to pretend like it’s Monday.
Oh, and I tweeted this picture from New York.
I don’t know what’s going on there either. But the event was super fun, and I met some great brands and women bloggers.
So now that you all know how unprofessional I can be at times, let’s turn this into a job advice website today!
You guys have been sending a lot of emails lately! Which is awesome! And I think it’s a sign that the economy is loosening and you’re changing jobs (instead of staying put and being thankful for your jobs). Employee turnover is not always a bad thing!
I’m a long time reader of Life’s Crazy Joke and obviously, feel we’re besties in some alternate universe, so I immediately thought of you as I’m re-thinking my career path. I’m hoping you could give me some insight in the HR world.
Bit of background…I have a B.A. in History and a M.A. in International Affairs… I am working as an executive assistant. In taking a look at what I really want to focus on in my career I’ve narrowed it down to HR. I’m wondering whether I should go back and get a MS in Human Resource Management or get a certificate of some kind? Do I take the resources to get an education or just keep trying to get my foot in the door? Will the MS-HRM really help or is it just a “nice to have”?
I would love your insights and any advice you might have. I appreciate your time!
All the best,
First of all, no degree is just “nice to have”. As a matter of fact, my degree happens to be a Bachelor of Science, not a typical Human Resources Business Administration degree. And I don’t have an MBA. You win, I lose. You’re better degreed than I, Miss Smarty Pants.
I switched my major from Pre-Medicine (turns out I hate puke smells and the sight of cadavers) to Interdisciplinary Studies. That major allowed me to take graduate sooner-ish, applied all the Math and Science courses I had already completed, while taking only the necessary business courses I would need in Human Resources. I know a thing or two about Microbiology (something that means zero to the business world).
But here’s the thing… I learned NOTHING in school that actually made me a better HR person… other than the ability to spout off very specific employment laws.
You learn how to do HR on the job. No one is going to text book teach you how to deal with a drunk person in the workplace, how to have interpersonal relationships, and how to do the right thing. No one. You learn that because it’s already in you.
You do, however, need to learn the laws, how to read financial statements, and about government regulations. You’ll need a crash course.
I would suggest getting your PHR. This is not an easy certification to come by, and many attorneys have told me it’s more difficult than passing the bar. But since you cannot talk about employment laws, FLSA policy, and unions in an interview without actually knowing the text book stuff, you need something that says you possess this knowledge.
Some technical things:
- You can take the PHR and pass it without being a practicing HR practitioner, but you won’t get the actual certification until you can prove two years in the field. I would list it on my resume, regardless. You know, since you passed the test. You just can’t put the fancy letters after your name yet.
- It’s expensive. But not as expensive as more schooling.
- It’s difficult, and you must study. Get yourself into a local study group.
- You cannot take the SPHR yet. You don’t have the experience behind you, and that certification applies to situational circumstances. So don’t even look at it right now.
I’d also see if your employer would allow you to dabble in HR. Ask for some duties to lighten their load. You may be surprised when they agree to do so.
Don’t expect to come into a company as an HR Manager. You will start at the bottom and work your way up. This is also true of recent college graduates with no HR experience.
AND OMG GOOD LUCK!
I have a question to ask you related to your HR expertise.
I am currently looking into getting out of the teaching profession and into something else. I love teaching, but it just doesn’t pay well, my benefits are shitty, and I can’t keep taking stuff home when I’ve got a one year old. That being said, I also am 12 weeks pregnant with our #2.
I had a phone interview with a company that I aced! Woot Woot! Then I had a face – to -face interview that I think went really well. I am waiting to hear back on their decision. If they call to offer the job, do I HAVE to tell them upfront that I’m going to need maternity leave in 7 months? Or is this something I SHOULD just do out of courtesy? Or maybe I should have told them right away during interview #1? I didn’t because I didn’t want to hurt my chances of getting the job. Ugh! I don’t know what is the right thing is or what is expected of me.
Any advice you can provide me would be wonderful! Thanks!!
Love your blog!
It’s tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that’s right on time. It’s tricky! Tricky! Tricky! Tricky!
Lady, you are in a tough spot!
I know many of my HR friends will disagree with this advice. They will tell you to shut up and start the job first because you’ll be discriminated against.
However, I would want you to tell me. If I found out you knew, and then you didn’t tell me, I would now label you (in my head) as a sneaky person. You don’t want to be labeled as sneaky. Labels are hard to remove.
But wait until you get the offer to tell them. And then say, “I need to tell you something, and if it changes your mind about the offer, that’s okay. I’m 12 weeks pregnant.”
At that point, they would be total jerks (and also totally in violation of the law) if they withdraw your job offer.
And do you really want to work for a company that doesn’t want you to have a baby? Because that baby? It’s coming out. You can’t hide it forever. You need an employer that will embrace your family.
Honesty is always the best policy, in my opinion. So be honest (at the right time). Don’t just show up and have Baby over the toilet one day.
Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS!
Meredith, I’m seeking your opinion on a work situation that I have. I know that you’re in HR and wondered if you ever had to deal with someone complaining about someone else’s overbearing perfume/cologne and how it was handled.
I am so close to filing a complaint about this lady but I’m conflicted. I’ve never complained about anyone before. I would *die* if someone did it to me. I don’t want to seem petty and I don’t want to hurt her feelings but I can’t stand it anymore! I don’t consider myself to have a sensitive nose, either, so I can’t imagine why no one else has said anything yet. I can’t possibly confront her myself. I don’t know her really well and rarely have to interact with her.
I’m bothered by her extremely strong perfume because she walks past my office a few times a day and the smell comes wafting in my office. The stench is so bad that it lingers for well over 15 minutes anywhere that she has been, which includes the hallways, kitchen, bathroom, my office. It’s not that I just don’t like the smell but it actually burns my nose and eyes and gives me a headache. I just can’t take it anymore. Any advice you can offer will be appreciated.
P.S. I’ve have talked about this with a couple other close colleagues and they agree with me that it’s really strong but I guess it doesn’t bother them as much as it bothers me.
I don’t think this warrants an official complaint. It’s not like her perfume grabbed your boob as it walked by.
Go tell HR. I am the one that has to carry this burden all the time. It’s a sucky job, but someone’s got to do it.
And if you don’t have an HR department, tell her boss to tell her.
You’re just her co-worker. It’s not your place to tell her.
STINKY PEOPLE STINK!
I’m going to get better about keeping up on your questions. I have a whole bunch more to get to, so we’ll do this again next week. Keep sending them! My email is email@example.com. Or you can send them to me through Facebook.
Have you ever worked with someone smelly? Were you hired while pregnant? Tell us your stories, people!