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8 Ways to Rekindle Your Passion for HR

8 Ways to Rekindle Your Passion for HR

From resolutions in January to romance in February.  I like the way the year progresses, don’t you? I get that passion is a personal subject, so I won’t ask you about what’s going on at home this month. But I will ask you this nosy question: How’re things going between you and the HR career?  Still good?  Or have you two hit a rough patch?  You can tell me. I’m a professional.

Is it weird to romance HR? I don’t think so. How many other corporate functions can you think of in which people are drawn to them because of a love for people? How many other corporate functions can break your heart so utterly? A few maybe.  But  what other corporate function has inflamed the passion of the ultra-cool Fast Company magazine so much that it actually devoted a cover story to proclaiming hatred for the function?  Just HR. (Here by the way, is an abbreviated version of my response to that article.)

Most people today come to HR because they’re emotionally drawn to it. If you’re one of them, you came with certain expectations of emotional fulfillment. Being able to “help people” was probably among them.  When did your dreams first begin to take on a little tarnish? Was it when a particularly snide person (there’s one in every crowd) said, “Think you’re a people person? Give yourself three months in HR, you’ll change your tune in a big hurry.” Break break break…all those baby HR hearts collapsing under the first weight of someone else’s disillusionment.

So. It’s February! Let’s break out the valentines and see if we can’t gin up some excitement for the people side of business again, why don’t we?

Hang out with other happy couples.  Look for colleagues are who successful in their relationship with HR. Let yourself be influenced by the healthy, optimistic, empowered attitude that your more resilient pro-HR friends have been able to hang on to. (If you don’t know anyone like that, just watch the video that appears on my home page over and over again.)

Stay away from people who don’t like HR. It’s still the function that people love to hate.  You don’t have to socialize with people like that. If your CEO doesn’t appreciate and treat HR with respect, start looking for a new gig.  If your friends or family start talking HR down, just hum the tune “Don’t say nuthin’ bad about my baby.” I’m not saying that your love should be blind, but your loyalty will be rewarded.

Partner up with the power that comes with your HR role to make a meaningful difference in something you personally care about.  Have you ever noticed that happy couples are often partners in some cause greater than themselves?  Your role in HR gives you a lot of community leverage to do good on a scale that wouldn’t otherwise be available to you.  As the song goes, “You can be better than you are.” Especially thanks to HR.

Keep your sense of humor. Sometimes, you just have to laugh.  Keep laughing. It’s better for you than stress eating.

Get around.  Yes, people like texting and instant messaging. (And I especially enjoy email.) It’s cool, quick, and efficient. But people also like face-to-face, heart-to-hearts. Get out of your office and actually show up in people’s workspaces to have a real, live conversation. Hold focus groups. Take a random soul out to lunch or coffee. Just to talk. I mean, really, really talk.

Play the field. You’re allowed. It’s not like you’re married to your job. (At least you shouldn’t be.)  Unless you’re bound by some contract that says you must stay in your current job for x amount of time, you’re free to run around.  If you get tired of your current situation, mix it up a little bit.  A different company? A different function within HR?  Maybe a different corporate function altogether.  Getting away from HR , if only for a little while, could give you a fresh appreciation for the people side of your biz.  You might go back. But then again, you might not.  But even if you don’t, you’ll have extraordinary people skills that will serve you well throughout your career.

Take separate vacations.  Let me be the first to say to you: Summer’s just around the corner. (That felt good.) What are your plans?  See if you can leave this particular ball and chain behind you as you pack up the car and head for that getaway.  Will that be easy? No.  But absence makes the heart grow fonder. So if you can leave behind Suri and the Droid, you’ll come back to your beloved work refreshed and ready to recommit.  Yeah, I know. Nice try, Martha, right?  Oh well.

Don’t be afraid to grow apart.  You’ve probably heard people speculate as to whether HR is long for the world.  Seems like any minute now, poof! It’s going to disappear from the org chart. People have been talking like that for decades.  It’s just talk.

You keep growing and learning and staying refreshed in your passion for HR.  You’ll find that your chosen profession – your calling, if you’re lucky – will keep up with all your changes.

The passion may wax and wane. But take good care of each other, and you’ll be together for the long haul.

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Martha I. Finney is the author of The Truth About Getting the Best From People, and a consultant specializing in employee engagement. For a free consultation on how you can build a vacation-friendly workplace culture, email Martha at

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for this article. It really makes sense sometimes we have to just get up and move. Sometimes is not the profession you loose interest on, sometimes it’s the people who work with you that makes you feel differently about your job. I am currently in a situation where I feel very bored and tired of this job and I have a hard time every morning when coming to work, but I realized I love my profession it is the people around me that makes me feel like this. I love to help people and love the feeling when I help someone and they walk away so happily and satisfied. I for sure made the right career choice.


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