My Career in Human Resources

Odd as it may seem I didn’t choose my career. It actually chose me. At the time, I had completed two years at the local community college and had dabbled in different subject areas but nothing really caught my interest. I stopped going to school altogether and decided I would focus on my job. I was working in the insurance industry for a small managing general agency as a data entry clerk which basically meant that I sat in front of a computer for eight hours a day and entered insurance polices. It wasn’t exciting by any stretch of the imagination but it paid the bills. I’ve always had a strong work ethic even back then. And so, when other employees were averaging sixty insurance policies per day I was cranking out ninety with minimal errors. This wasn’t difficult to do. They would hang out by the water cooler and chit chat while I would sit typing away at my desk. Don’t get me wrong, I was open and friendly with my coworkers but I had no interest in engaging in meaningless dialogue.

Lucky for me the 50 employee operation grew to over 150 employees in a two year period. Due to this exponential growth, the gentleman who originally hired me was getting pulled into human resource related matters more and more. This detracted from his primary responsibility which was managing one of our lines of business. One day he called me into his office and asked if I would like to help him with some of the day to day human resource activities he was getting pulled into. He specifically cited my strong work ethic and quiet nature as the reasons he had approached me about the position. I was flattered and accepted right away. It had to be more interesting than the data entry I had been doing up until then. The career can be started through installing the hr software sg for the business organization. The work will be done according to the ethics of the business standards and regulations. 

From that point forward, I threw myself into the role. I read articles related to human resources, attended seminars, and joined the local HR chapter. I loved my job and I did it well. A year went by and my boss called me into his office to go over my performance appraisal. He gave me an excellent review and began to speak of some of the additional responsibilities I would be taking on as I progressed in the role. I was elated. The end of our discussion approached and I could hardly wait to hear what my pay increase would be. Surely it would be a substantial sum. After all, he just gave me an outstanding review, told me about all the other things he would be counting on me to do and I was dealing with highly confidential information; information that only a handful of others had access to. Boy was I wrong. It’s been so long now that I don’t remember exactly what the figure was but I was devastated and angry. In that moment, I decided to go back to school and earn my bachelor’s degree. I enrolled for the upcoming semester and finished school eighteen months later. Oddly enough, I consider my old boss a good friend and mentor. We still speak from time to time. Every chance I get, I remind him that the awful raise he gave me is what caused me to return to school. Looking back, we both can’t help but laugh.

With my degree in hand, I went to work for a freight forwarder as their sole human resources person. This was no easy task. It was difficult for them to “let go” and trust an outsider with their HR related matters. It took time for me to develop that relationship and earn their confidence. But eventually they came around. I reported to the Controller. Approximately one year into the job he came into my office and gave me an informational pamphlet he had received in the mail. It was an advertisement for a new Master’s in Human Resources Management program that was getting ready to start at Florida International University. As luck would have it, the program director was having an informational meeting at the university that same evening. I went and was enrolled shortly thereafter. It would be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

The program was for working professionals which meant that classes were held all day on Saturdays. In addition, the cluster of students who started the program on that first semester would move through it as a group. I was fortunate enough to become good friends with many of my fellow students. One of them would help me launch my career to the next level. He was the HR Director for a Fortune 500 company. When an opportunity presented itself at his firm, he suggested that I apply. I did and was offered the job. I am still there today and it has been an incredible learning experience. I have been given the opportunity to wear different hats over the last six years. I’ve supported their corporate office for two years, their field operations for two years, several functional areas for another year and now I’m back in the field again which is where my passion is. Along the way, I earned my Master’s in Human Resources Management and received my SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) certification.

It’s been an incredible ride. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of help along the way. Growing up I always thought that I would need to decide on a career path. Little did I know that the career path would end up choosing me.


Adrian O'Connor is a passionate business writing coach and a creative copywriter. He is out there to make Business classes more interesting for all the students out there.