Over the years I have been around some negative people. I used to be one of them. Always quick to say how that won’t work, why you shouldn’t be excited about it, why it’s not a big deal. I’ve taken some active steps to get away from this way of thinking. To be honest, it’s exhausting and disappointing to hear that from people.
In some instances opposition is fair and needed to point out why something won’t work, or why you shouldn’t be excited about something, but come on, not all of the time. Recently I expressed my excitement about wanting to attend mediation and to experience what the process is like from being right in it. Immediately someone said “oh don’t be excited about that, it’s not something to look forward to”. I went back and said, well it is something I am looking forward to, and something that I want to experience and learn about. They then came back and said “no one wins in mediation and it’s something that we shouldn’t want to have”. I said mediation isn’t about winning, it is about finding the right solution that works for all parties and yes, it often is used as a last resort to solving employment issues.
It was frustrating to have someone who is far more experienced than I am, someone who has been around HR for a long time, put down my enthusiasm for employment relations. Putting down my enthusiasm to learn and develop my own skills in an area that I love. It made me wonder, is this an attitude that I want to be around and that I want around for advice and for career development? I had to say no. It is not the type of attitude and put-down I want as I progress through my career and work towards a senior role.
Employment Relations isn’t easy and having difficult conversations with employees and managers isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is what I love about my role as an HR Advisor. I wouldn’t give up the ER with its hard conversations and the difficult situations for anything. It is what makes me a stronger professional and a stronger advisor in my field. The particular instance I mentioned above isn’t the first time or first situation I have been in where my enthusiasm and eagerness to experience and learn has been put-down, and it upsets me to see senior experienced professionals have that attitude towards their profession and then to voice it to young newcomers.
It makes me wonder:
- How many other newcomers in any profession are encountering this attitude in their careers (it doesn’t just have to be HR)?
- How is this impacting your view of the profession?
- Is it causing you to think differently about your attitude towards your work?
I have met senior and experienced people who love what they do, they express some parts that are hard and maybe not so rewarding, but they don’t sit there and tell me not to be enthusiastic or that I should avoid certain parts of my profession. They commend me on my eagerness to learn and develop and even offer ways for me to handle it when I am in that situation. That’s what I want from senior and experienced professionals. I don’t want the tainted and bitter attitude that they have.
I appreciate hearing why they feel that way, as something must have triggered that feeling, but to have my enthusiasm put down is just sad and depressing.
In response to this particular person I told them “can you please not burst my bubble of excitement about one of things I will have to do in my career. I’m actually excited about doing it and learning and I don’t want to my excitement to be tainted” This may sound like a blunt and harsh response, but I had to draw a line about what I want to hear around me. I love my enthusiasm and it has opened me up to some great opportunities and don’t want to be surrounded by people who put that down. This particular person then said “I’ve done it a lot through my career and I’m just saying”. I responded by saying that I appreciated their experience and their dislike of mediation, but to please not put down my enthusiasm for it.
I am lucky to have a manager who equally loves, enjoys and gets a buzz out of ER and who enjoys seeing me get excited about my job. That’s what I want and that is what I am actively going to manage around me; people who appreciate and encourage enthusiasm around me, and I think it is what will help newcomers be successful in their profession.
I would love to hear your thoughts, is it just me who feels this way?