After over 40 years as a Human Resources professional, my mother is retiring on September 30th.
For real this time.
My mom has always been my secret HR weapon. One of my very first and most popular posts ever was a summary of her advice (Read that HERE). Having mentors and colleagues is great — but there’s nothing like being able to pick up the phone and call your momma for workplace advice. Because she not only knows the HR struggle is real, but she also knows me and my history and motivation like no one else in the world. It has been invaluable to me and makes our relationship even more awesome.
More recently, she’s actually called me for advice a few times. She’s used my tips and recommendations — then come back later to tell me they worked. That was even more awesome. I valued and looked forward to our conversations. It’s meant more to me than she’ll ever know. I’ll miss it.
But I am so happy for her! If anyone deserves to rest and do everything or nothing that she wants to do, it’s my mom … So please join me in wishing her all the best as she closes this chapter and begins the next. And take a moment to re-read her guest post “HR After 40 Years Along the Way”
I am officially a senior citizen. I have an AARP membership. I should be basking in the sun on the beach in Aruba or playing the slots in Las Vegas.
Instead, I am in charge of one of the largest Social Services agencies in the nation, overseeing Employee Services (our new, fancy name for HR) and many other things for 1200 employees and social services benefits for close to 150,000 active clients, after 40+ years as a career public servant. Along the way, I have been the “first” this, “first” that, “only” this, and “only” that … Still am sometimes.
It has been, as Paul McCartney said, “a long and winding road”.
Why am I still working? Because I believe I make a difference in people’s lives. I believe that if I bless you, I have blessed myself. If I help you, I have helped myself. The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. I believe I can help the world, one person at a time.
I am a linguist. I fell in love with all things Hispanic at the age of 13. My degree is in Spanish. I also speak French … a little German … and a lot of profanity. I love people and their diversity. I’ve been “different” all my life and I celebrate the individuality of people and their life stories. I know words can bring us together or tear us apart, start wars or bring world peace, harm or heal. What better place to communicate than in HR — where people’s lives and livelihoods are within your oversight … where secrets are shared and kept … where you can coach and teach and learn something new every day about yourself and people…
Along the way, I’ve become a resident expert in Disciplinary Action, Performance Appraisal, Equal Opportunity, Staff Development, and Labor Relations. I’ve learned that discipline is a last, painful resort. That most people have no self-awareness regarding their performance. That we should use every opportunity to create a teaching moment, and that there is usually one alternative to every circumstance.
In 40 years, I’ve welcomed new babies — and in later years, I’ve hired them. I’ve made lifelong friends — and said farewell far too many times. I have let people go who didn’t fit — and have mentored those with potential. Along the way, I’ve met three people I truly disliked. I blessed them, too.
I will retire. Moses took 40 years and only glimpsed the Promised Land. He showed his people they could have more, be more, parted the Red Sea, and left! I have worn out my ears listening, enriched my soul with empathy, led with wisdom and compassion, and hopefully, blazed a path which others can follow.
I can leave confident that I have helped many people, along the way.