6 Dirty Little Thoughts About My Career in HR That I’m Not Proud Of — And How I Deal With Them…

By Alan Collins | successinhr.com/6-dirty-little-thoughts-about-my-career-in-hr-and-how-i-deal-with-them

Inside my head, there are six not-so-flattering thoughts and feelings I experience every single day at some point.

Here they are:
1. The grass is greener on the other side.

When I was an HR rep, I wanted to be a manager.

As a manager, I wanted to be an HR VP.

When I was a generalist in the Quaker Oats division, I longed to be in Gatorade.

When my boss screamed at me, I wanted to quit.

When I became a corporate VP, I wanted to do my own thing as an outside HR consultant.

When I was single, I wanted to be married.

Once I was married, I wanted to be single again.

You show me some grass, I will immediately think there is something greener.
2. Fear.

Fear of what?

I don’t know.

But I’m writing this at 5:45 am, and at some point in the next 24 hours, some kind of fear will occupy my brain.

Maybe it’s the fear of losing out on some fantastic career opportunity because my cell phone ran out of juice.

Or fear of not being to deliver the HR results that a key business client is counting on me to deliver.

Or the direct physical fear of getting in a car accident as I’m driving on the Dan Ryan expressway during rush hour.

Or the fear of making a fool of myself on this blog.

That’s my usual collection of fears, but I have other more obscure ones as well.
3.  Angry regrets about the past.

Yes, it’s 5:45 am and I’ve already been, in my mind, pissed off at someone…or myself.

It could be the boss who, ten years ago, I permitted to screw me over for a promotion to HR Director.

Or the general manager who adamantly refused my best HR advice and then blamed me when his employee filed a discrimination complaint.

Or me, for letting a terrific woman I met at a SHRM conference three years ago, walk away without getting her phone number.

The anger or regret about these events only lasts a few seconds.

But all day long today I am sure I will have flashbacks of others.

I can’t help it. There’s a big list.

Some of these memories decay over time.

Some of them blend with forgiveness for the other person.

And some of them will stay with me forever.
4.  Worries about the future.

I often mentally time travel to the future and fret about the thousand things I can’t predict.

I convince myself that this is okay by saying that I’m planning and preparing NOW to have a good future career LATER.

Makes sense to me.

I always have that feeling of “what next?”

For example, after I post this article on my blog, what’s the next article I’ll do?

Or what will I do if my best client loses his passion for my work, “what’s next?”

Or since my recent cataract surgery, what if my eyesight goes bad ten years from now? What would I do then?

There are those that say you should live “in the moment. Concentrate on the right now and not worry about the results, the things I can’t control.

I’m just not built that way.
5. Wanting to be loved and respected.

Every time I hit the “publish” button on this blog I feel this.

Every time I say something to a client or a colleague, I feel this.

What about you?
6.   Judging people.

I meet a lot of people and as an HR pro and I judge them.

With every person I meet, my gut helps me form an opinion.

As much as I try, I can’t avoid this.

Most of the time, my gut opinions are usually wrong and I have to always tell myself I’m not so smart…and that you can’t always tell a book by its cover.

Yesterday, I was sitting in a Starbucks and overhead a sales guy arguing with a customer over a late payment of an invoice. He was cursing and yelling at the top of his lungs through his phone. And even though there were only three people in the whole coffee shop, he was an inconsiderate jerk. My gut reaction was that I hated him with a passion. And I made other assumptions about what kind of guy he really was and concluded that they’d be no way we’d ever do business together if we ever met.

I judge people constantly. I look at how they behave and how they look. I’ve found that the majority of the attractive people I meet are often vain, dim, rude have shitty attitudes and terrible lives.

I’m not really sure why I do this.

It’s not like I have movie star good looks, have it all figured out or living the dream.

Far from it, but I’ve been paying more and more attention to how I conduct myself, and what the most productive attitude toward life and my career is.  But sometimes I get the false impression that I’m somehow more enlightened than other people.
I don’t have all the answers.  But this is how I deal with these thoughts and feelings.

If you’re like me, at some point each day, it’s hard for your thoughts not to fall into a few of the above buckets – if not all of them.

If so, it doesn’t mean you’re depressed. Or feeling entitled. Or a bad person.

It just means you’re being human.

We all talk silently inside our heads about ourselves.  Our concerns and anxieties.  Our careers in HR.  And about other people and situations.

If you’re like me, you could simply say I’m not going to think these things. But that won’t work either. That’s like saying you don’t need to sleep. Or you don’t need to visit the john today.

Instead, I’ve come to terms with the fact that these are inner gremlins that talk to me. Everyone has them. They like to play tricks to make you feel weak and attack your confidence and self-esteem.

What I’ve learned is that the key is to simply notice when you fall into one of these thought traps.

Say, “I’m doing it again. It’s not unique. It’s human to feel these things. It’s just my brain at work and it may suck…

But “IT” is not “ME!”
It is only negative self-talk.

And then replace the negative thought with positive one.

Here’s an example:

Replace…“This client is a worthless know-it-all. They’re not listening to anything I say. If he doesn’t handle this employee problem now, he gonna get sued for discrimination.”

With… “There has to be a way to simplify my message, approach him from a different angle or communicate to him through someone he really respects.”

Here’s another one:

Replace…“Screw, Cindy.  I’ll never be as good as her at identifying marketing and sales talent.  She’s acts stuck up towards everyone and tries to impress the boss by wearing too much make-up.”

With…“What I’m good at is taking people who are stuck in their careers and coaching them to find creative ways to get going again. That’s my niche. And I can probably learn a lot about talent acquisition from Cindy.  I should take her to  coffee and ask.”

Or this one…

Replace…“This organization completely sucks. No one bothered to communicate with me about the new employee health care changes.”

With…“People are swamped and busy. Let me see if I can open up the channels of communication on this and find out what I need to know.”

Or finally, this one…

Replace…“My stupid boss is setting me up for failure. Why doesn’t he present the employee survey results?  He knows I’ve never given a presentation to the CEO before. It’s time to dust off the resume.”

With… “He’s giving me a terrific opportunity to expand my HR skills and learn something new! Let me get his help in prepping and tackling this and let’s see what happens.”

It’s so easy to dwell on the negative.

If you tend to have nasty or negative thoughts, don’t expect to become an optimist overnight.

I don’t believe it’s possible to ever fully rid your mind of completely these kinds of potentially destructive feelings and emotions.

But the good news is you don’t have to be overpowered by them.

By accepting them for what they are and practicing more positive self-talk, you can less critical and cynical about the world around you.

And a lot more productive.
Now it’s your turn.
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