I am just 21 years old. Currently I am pursuing a graduate degree in HR through correspondence college.But at the same time,I am working as an HR Executive with one of the reputed BPO.As I am very much passionate about my career,so I started to work as an HR after completing my graduation only.At present,I have one year experience in HR including recruitment and HR operation.Being a girl,my friends and my parents really feel proud about me that I am on a right track of my career.

I joined my current company in the month of October,2009.The company with whom I am working now,it is already settled in IT.But,they are very new into BPO business.So I joined this BPO by thinking that at the initial stage of career,I will get opportunity to learn as well as grow.But after joining,I came to know that HR policies are not in place.For every single thing,I need to struggle.My HR manager is not with me.He is handling everything from a different City.Even,employees have lot many issues about the policies and facilities like salary(which is a big concern),HR policies etc.But,management says that it will take time to streamline everything.

Now,I started to feel very insecure that I took a very important decision to join this company and the company situation is forcing me to rethink on my decision.Normally,I always believe on myself and my decisions.That’s why,while taking this decision,I never discussed with anybody.

I can not leave also because before accepting this offer I rejected other offers by thinking that this company is offering me good designation as well as package.Now I am in a big mess.But,still I feel that this company is a reputed company in IT market so they will try to settle in BPO as well.So let them give a chance and continue my work.In short,I am confused and double minded about my decision.

Can you please advice me that what should I suppose to do in this condition as I am very much concerned about my career?

Take a deep breath.

You’ve answered your own question, by they way. You’ll notice that I put a few lines in bold. This is to draw your attention to them. You said you wanted to learn and grow, which is why you took this job. The company doesn’t have policies in place, your manager is at a different location and things are not peachy keen. This is what we call an ideal situation for learning and growing.

There’s a reason it’s called work, and that’s because it is hard. You’ve landed a hard job and it isn’t the dreamy world of a “career” that you wanted. When I was young and stupid I wanted a “job” that would require a suit and heels, because that must be an important job. I had an idea of what “business” was and somehow the suit was an important part of it. I found out rather quickly that this was neither an indication of power nor importance, but of business culture.

You had some idea of what it meant to be in a learning and growing position. I bet it involved a mentor, who would listen to you and guide you and it would be like college except with a paycheck. Instead, you found out that it is thinking on the fly, figuring things out, dealing with crisis after crisis and doing this, mostly on your own. Welcome to the real world.

Your company has troubles. They hired you to help figure those out. You do need a mentor, but you’ll have to do the work to get the mentoring. Having an offsite boss can be a difficult thing. Figure out how he prefers to communicate with his offsite people–is it e-mail, phone or occasional face-to-face meetings. See if you can establish regular contact with him.

Find out what his goals and priorities are and figure out how he can meet them. At one point I was telecommuting and my boss was one of those super-de-duper busy VPs so I couldn’t really call her to chat. What I did was send her a weekly status report on everything I had done that week and what I planned to do the next week. This gave her the opportunity to stop me from investing huge amounts of time in a project that she was planning to kill, but hadn’t gotten around to telling me about yet.

You may have to explain and remind your boss that you need a little bit of guidance. If he’s not amenable to providing guidance, well, then you create policies and then present them to him.

You wanted learning and growing and by golly you got it! I understand that you are now second guessing yourself, but it’s a little late for that. Plunge forward. Give it at least a year before you begin looking for a new job. You may find that this is the best experience of your life. But, you have to go forward with full steam. If you keep saying to yourself, “I should have asked for advice from my parents/friends/professors before I did this. This was probably the wrong decision” it will show in how you attack your work.

Your management said it will take time. They are right. Policies, procedures and company culture don’t appear out of thin air. It takes time. Find out from your boss what your role is in this whole process.

And one more petty little thought: Back in the dark ages, when I was in school, we were taught to put double spaces between sentences. I understand single spaces are acceptable now. Fine. Pick one and stick with it.

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20 thoughts on “A new job

  1. Sage advice as usual, EHRL. My question is, what's a 21-year-old doing as an "HR Executive," and if you're an "HR Executive," how come you don't know how to put policies together? [obviously, because you're 21, inexperienced, and probably shouldn't have the title "Executive," since that title presumes you have the knowledge to do the job]

    Another bit of advice [learn the difference between "advice" and "advise"] is to take a course in business writing, with heavy emphasis on grammar. You may turn out to be the best HR generalist there is, but if you can't communicate so people easily understand what you're saying, you're not going to be very useful.

    You've hit a wall while cruising along at 30 mph. Now's the time to pick yourself up, assess how to get around the wall, and get to it. You'll figure it all out and be much better off for it, and you'll grow into a great asset for any company. As long as you're willing to do the work you'll be fine. Best of luck.

  2. I had a similar job situation (more responsibility than I was "qualified" for, absent boss) all through college, and I learned so much it's not even funny. You may need to do extra research, talk hypotheticals with other people; but hang in there and see it as a HUGE opportunity!

    Years ago we were taught to use two spaces between sentences because on a typewriter that was the only way to make it clear. Now that we type on computers, the second space is unnecessary because word processors "know" to put a larger space after a period than between two words. It's correct either way (though it won't be for long), but you definitely look like an idiot if you don't pick one and do it consistently.

  3. I agree 100% that this is a great opportunity to learn and grow. It won't be easy, and you'll make mistakes, but it seems like the fledging company will understand, as long as you learn from those mistakes.

  4. This could be your dream job. How many of us get a chance to say "my first job out of college gave me an amazing opportunity to put into practice the HR theories I had been taught, including working with line managers to develop and implement HR policies, practices and procedures into a new organisation. I was the only HR person in my location, and while my boss was supportive, I had to quickly learn to think on my feet. I made mistakes, but none that couldn't be fixed, and I learnt a lot. Overall, the job was a great opportunity to get in at the ground level of an organisation and being involved in developing the culture and work environment."

    Stick it out, do as EHRL suggested and communicate regularly with the boss so you both know what's happening. I'd also suggest you try and arrange regular face-to-face developmental meetings with your manager, to discuss any particular challenges, and that you join a local HR group and attend their meetings. This will give you a network of more experienced people who can give you advice.

    Good luck.

  5. I absolutley agree that a local HR group is a tremendous resource. I belong to two, and they really help, even after many more years in the business than the writer!

  6. I am concerned about an HR "executive" in the process of policy development who acknowledges that "being a girl" allows friends and family to be so proud of her for having a career track.

  7. Before everyone comments on her language/writing style, I'm willing to bet that English isn't this woman's first language. Look at timeline of what she's doing and the reference to being "a girl" (again easily a translation mistake — they do that in Russian all the time) — I'm guessing that she isn't working in the US.

    If English isn't her first language, then she's expressing herself quite well in an emotional letter. After all, we all understood it. Could you do it as well in another language?

    As for the author: focus on the positive. You have a job that will allow you to learn, and you probably won't be bored. Isn't that what you wanted? Keep repeating it to yourself, and take Evil's advice.

  8. From the language and sentence construction, it's pretty clear that the writer is from India – hence the 'girl' sentence.

    Having said that, the advice still pretty much remains valid. I should know – I'm a 22-year-old HR executive who started her first job six months ago. 🙂

  9. Also Toastmasters is great – for learning to communicate better in English, and develop your leadership skills.

  10. I think she has a golden opportunity here. When I started my current job (7 years ago), the position I was hired to do wasn't really established yet. I literally had to build my own job, which I now see as having been a rare and special thing. In her situation she'll be able to see it through from the ground floor up and learn every possible angle. When you have to do that, and you're the only one who's built up the position, you've become valuable to the company. Being hard to replace is the key!

  11. I agree with most of the advice given. I really encourage the writer to focus on what she is learning in the new position. Very few people get the opportunity to develop HR policies and programs right out of school. Stick with it and make the most out of this assignment. You will learn not only from your successes but from your mistakes and struggles.

    Other specific advice I have is to establish standing meetings (even if by phone) with your manager. At least once a week to start with. More often if necessary.

    Join a professional HR organization. HR people are always willing to provide advice, counsel and guidance (after all, that is mostly what our profession entails).

    With so much work that needs to be done, prioritize. List out all that you want to accomplish in 2010 and put plans, timelines and resources against those initiatives.

    Finally, remember that while this is hard, most things in life that are worthwhile are difficult. Good luck and keep your confidence up.

  12. Evident she's not from here, yet some people seem to be hung up on her grammar rather than the issue -it's amazing how many culturally incompetent people read your blog, and pretty scary that these people probably work in HR.

  13. Please, get thyself to English grammar, spelling, and typing classes. I find reading this question extremely laborious and painful. I find it hard to imagine an individual with such poor communication skills being capable of writing HR policies.

    As to the offsite manager, all I can say is,"Count your blessings!" That your manager lets you operate on your own is a great reward – a challenge but a good one to face. Having the freedom to create your own job is a rare treat. Unfortunately you will not realize it until you work for a micro-manager. Then you will learn what true hell is.

    Good luck. Think optimistically and find solutions for your manager rather than more obstacles. You'll be happier and your manager will value your work.

  14. While it's not productive to get hung up on all of the OP's errors, it is good advice that she register herself for a business writing course. This is because, as these comments have proven, there are lots of people that put a lot of weight on such things, and it's a bit of shooting yourself in the foot if you refuse to acknowledge that fact.

    I like to think of language skills as the written equivalent of dressing professionally. Yes, slobby people can be just as capable as smartly-dressed people, but do you want to hire someone who'll show up for work in track pants?

  15. Dear OP-

    Start a journal now- only a line or two a day even- just notes to yourself.

    One day, much sooner than you think, you will have staff under you. Having a reminder of what it was like for you at the beginning will help you be a better mentor to your own people.

    Your English is good and it can be great.

    You have a wonderful opportunity here. It may feel that this job is beyond you but as the saying goes- "A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner".

    You'll be fine. Really.

    Lois Gory

  16. Have you seen all the responses? That provides quite a good variety on how inclusive (or NOT) professionals can be regarding our own differences whether that is a language, ethnicity or seniority.
    If we could LISTEN truly to what our clients have to tell we'd be much better as HR strategic partners.
    I am sure it took guts for this young professional to do what she did and kudos for her. She had other job offers and accepted this one which means she must have been in the top of her class and clearly demonstrated effective communication skills in her interview rounds.
    Now, going to the question, the tough jobs are the best ones as the learning opportunity is huge is you follow some of the good advise given already as to establish a more effective relationship with your manager and find a mentor. Notice that I do not combine the two. I think that in order for you to be a more effective business partner you should identify a potential mentor in the business line that could help you connect the dots between the business needs and your HR job expectation (from the business perspective). That way you'll have a great advantage of having dual input from the line and HR and more chances to deliver fit-for-business HR products.
    Also, consider joining the SHRM that counts with great resources in all the matters you are struggling with.
    Best Success and congrats for taking the time to reflect on your decisions and look for advise. You are on the right path!

  17. I'll add my voice to the "It's not a bug, it's a feature" chorus. I get that you didn't feel ready for this, but I think you're readier than you realize. No policies in place? Then you get to make them. What are the norms in your field and region? What do you think the best choices would be? As Evil notes, apprise your higher-ups as to what you're planning so that you don't actually contradict or block what they were thinking, if not doing. I suspect one thing you find worrying is an absence of feedback–if that's not likely to change soon (and it sounds like it might not), declare your own goals and assess yourself based on whether you met them, what you learned (could be you learned that that wasn't an appropriate goal, even), what you'd do differently, what you think went well and why.

    It's scary, but this is also the kind of experience that you'll be deeply grateful for later, and that you can use as a key selling point in future self-promotion. You can do it!

  18. She definitely sounds like an Indian; I've seen a couple of such letters before and some BPO offices in India have no idea what HR is like! Good advice from the EHRL as usual. Oh, and good luck to the author. 🙂

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