Aspire to be an HR exec? Grab a parachute.

I was flicking through my AHRI magazine earlier this week and noticed the profiles of some prominent HR leaders. Despite coming from various industries and backgrounds, all three profiles had one thing in common…




‘I just fell into HR...’



And I have seriously mixed feelings about that.


Part of my brain says ‘career paths aren’t linear, I get it’. You start somewhere and find a love for something else along the way.


Another part of my brain screams ‘NOOOO’. There are people who have studied and worked so damn hard to be HR professionals, yet rarely have I seen those people rise to the very top.

When I reflected on it further, I realised that the majority of the Exec HR folk I’ve worked with have come from non-HR backgrounds. Aaaaand it hasn’t been a fabulous experience on the whole.

As a HR professional, trying to get buy in on initiatives has an added layer of complexity when you have to spend hours explaining concepts and models to someone who has limited understanding (and sometimes interest). Often they come out of meetings with outcomes that make your jaw drop that are now, scarily, your responsibility for operationalising.