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Newsletter "We'll be OK"

Hate Your HR Job? Here Are 5 Great Reasons You Should Stay Put!

In his book "Acres of Diamonds", author Russell Conwell tells one of the most famous stories in the world.

And, it contains an important lesson for all HR pros — particularly those who thinking about leaving their current HR job.

If you’re not familiar with this book, it tells the story of Ali Hafed, a wealthy farmer in ancient Persia.

Ali Hafed was living his dream life on own farm until he was visited by a Buddhist priest. The priest told him that with a handful of diamonds, instead of a farm, he could own his very own country.

That night Al Hafed went to bed restless because, despite his wealth, he suddenly felt poor. The next day, Ali hurried back to the priest who told him about these diamonds and asked him where he could find them. The priest told Ali if he could find a river that runs through white sands, between high mountains, in those white sands he would always find diamonds.

With these instructions in mind, Ali sold his farm and all of his possessions and went in search of diamonds.

His search lasted four years. He found nothing. Penniless, ragged and wretched, Ali couldn’t take it anymore and threw himself into the ocean off the coast of Spain…and committed suicide.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Back at the farm, the man who purchased Ali’s farm had a life changing experience of his own. One day, while leading his camel out for a drink, he noticed a flash of light from the white sands of the stream on his property. Investigating further, that flash of light that turned out to be a diamond barely visible above the dirt. When he got his plow and started to dig further, he discovered an entire acre of diamonds – all right in Al Hafed’s old backyard! He later turned the farm into the Kimberly Diamond Mine, one of the richest mines in the world.

The obvious tragedy of this story is that the original farmer, Ali was literally standing on his own “acres of diamonds” until he sold his farm. What he left to spend four years looking for…he already had…but didn’t recognize!

During my years in HR, I’ve seen countless colleagues, who have regretted leaving a promising HR job for one that contained their own “acre of diamonds.” Sometimes they left for a little more money. Other times it was for a better job title. Still others left for the “promise” of promotions and a brighter future. And they learned painfully that the grass was not always greener.

In an earlier article, I talked about clues that tell you when it’s time to quit your HR job. But how do you know when to stay put…and dig for those acres of diamonds right where you are?

I don’t have a crystal ball. However, here are 5 reasons you might want to strongly consider hanging tough where you are for the time being…

Reason #1: Your accomplishments and contributions are being noticed and valued.

You are getting credit for the work you do. You’re not being taken for granted. If your current employer notes and recognizes your achievements, you’re in a situation where you can potentially move up or take on more challenging and visible projects.

Reason #2: You are working on an innovative, high-profile strategic project.

You may be involved in designing a new performance management process, creating a groundbreaking leadership development program or helping your company leverage social media in recruiting. These kinds of opportunities may not come around often. If you are in this enviable HR position at your firm, it may be to your benefit to finish it and see the results. Sure, you can leave now have this as a bullet on your resume. But you can also leverage the increased exposure you’re getting on this project to expand your network of relationships inside your organization with the key decision-makers.

Reason #3: You are working for a highly respected, supportive leader.

Your direct boss will have more impact than anyone else on your immediate success in HR. If you’re working for a great boss, he or she will challenge you to go beyond your own comfort zone and will inspire you to excel. In addition, you’ll also gain skills by taking on special projects spawned by your great boss and meet powerful and influential people that the boss has attracted who can help advance your career.

Reason #4: Your company is growing, actively promoting from within or replacing essential people.

When our Gatorade business was growing at a double-digit pace, new positions were being created literally every day. This created unbelievable new opportunities for HR professionals. But every organization doesn’t grow by leaps and bounds. So even if they aren’t, if you visibly see your organization rewarding people, replacing open positions and promoting internally accordingly, take that as a good sign that the company is willing to invest in the long term, and potentially in you too.

Reason #5: You’re happy where you are and look forward to Mondays.

If you enjoy your days off, but you’re super-excited about returning back to work, this is perhaps the best sign. Whether it’s the HR work you’re doing, your colleagues or the office culture, if there’s something that stops you from dreading Mondays, you’ve struck career gold.

Again, any of these are good indications for you to consider maintaining the status quo for awhile longer.

All of us want to earn money, build a great career and live a happy life.

However, in your quest to move to “greener pastures” realize that your future may well be brighter where you are…and you may be standing in your own “diamond mine” right now.

About the Author: Alan Collins was Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses. He is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of the two HR best sellers, UNWRITTEN HR RULES and BEST KEPT HR SECRETS. His NEW book, WINNING BIG IN HR is now is available on Amazon.