Monday, May 13, 2013

Moving Off of the Tracks

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about the challenges that I have been facing lately, and what I needed to do in order to "move myself off of the tracks."
" the oncoming train" by Beth Jusino CC By 2.0

Goal #1:  Find a Job

I found a job, and I didn't find this job through the staffing agency! Last week I found a really intriguing job ad on Craigslist and, after performing some research to determine if the employer was legitimate, I submitted a resume and an awesome cover letter. I was called in for an interview, and I was offered a job during the interview!
Help wanted section of newspaper
"Jobs Help Wanted" by photologue_np CC by 2.0

While I would love to say that the job is HR-related, it isn't; it's an entry-level business-to-business appointment setting job in a very small call center. However, the call center is growing and the company promotes from within. In fact, my interviewer has been with the company for about a year and is now the assistant manager. The interviewer and I had a very open and honest discussion about my aversion toward being stuck on the phones indefinitely, and we discussed what career options would be available to me once I had "paid my dues" in the entry-level position.

I am hopeful because there is some potential for growth, but I am also a little cynical because I have heard this before. Only time will tell, but I am feeling more confident about my journey.

Goal #2: Find a Place to Live
Boxes stacked in a pyramid
"Three Boxes #1" by z287marc CC By 2.0

Since I will be contributing to the household finances, Mike and I can keep the car and move out of our current residence. The thought of living in a place with central heat and air, and being able to cook meals on a stove (instead of an electric skillet and microwave) is almost too exciting to bear. We will start looking at places this weekend, and we're hoping that we can move in June.

Goal #3: Graduate from College

For the next two months I will be taking a course that is focused on compensation and benefits. On one hand, I am really excited about it because I will be learning even more about how companies determine compensation structures. On the other hand, I'm anxious about the course because I will be switching from a second shift schedule to a day schedule, I will be working full time while attending this class, we will need to ensure that I have consistent internet access when we move, and I have some concerns about the course project.

On the surface, the course project seems pretty simple; choose a company in which employees have expressed dissatisfaction with the compensation and/or benefits offered, and write a 1200-1300 paper that discusses the possible solutions to the problem and make a recommendation based upon the possible solutions. In theory this should be easy for me; with the proper research, I can sit down and crank out a quality 15- or 20-page paper in less than 8 hours. However, having been an entry-level employee for most of my life, this topic hits pretty close to home since it revolves around one thing; the employee's bottom line.

If employees' pay rates are too low, employees may not be able to afford the benefits. If employees' pay rates are great, but the benefits don't include what employees need, then the employee is going to be paying out of pocket to fill those needs. This affects how much money employees have to meet their other needs. A solution that seems to be gaining popularity is employee wellness programs.

Wellness programs are less expensive for employers, and employees often receive discounts on their health insurance premiums for meeting certain goals in the wellness programs. It's usually considered a win-win, especially for employees with medical conditions that can be controlled or prevented through diet, exercise, and smoking cessation; however, for people like me with medical conditions that can't be controlled through improving one of those factors and require doctors' visits and labs every two months, employee wellness programs aren't very valuable.

Having this kind of experience is very cool because I can relate to the situation and come up with unique solutions. However, I sometimes find it difficult to find and recommend solutions that may not help the employees that I relate to. I sometimes feel like I'm selling out my "entry-level laborer roots," and recommending something that will be great for the company and not-so-great for the employees.

I wonder if it's just me, or if this is something that HR professionals frequently grapple with.

Shout Outs

Megaphone, bullhorn
In a previous post about attending college online, I discussed how important it was to have a support system when facing the unique challenges that online students face. During the past few weeks, there have been several people who have reminded me of why I am doing what I am doing, inspired me to continue writing, and have unselfishly offered words of encouragement and support.

Thank you:

Mike for telling me that even if I don't make it in HR, that it was worth it and that I didn't financially ruin us for nothing. You're my number one fan, and I really appreciate it.

Ian Welsh for your endless words of encouragement and support. I really enjoy our discussions, and I'm glad that you post your links on Google Plus.

Larry Deane for your practical and down-to-earth advice.

Lynnae McCoy for understanding, caring, and awesome product reviews.

Jason Hill for sharing your story with me.

Jan Berry for saying that I was classy; I wasn't feeling classy at the time, and your encouragement made the difference.

Brad Andres for forcing me to examine how my actions may or may not conflict with my spirituality.

Victorio Milian for the #ff shout-out on Twitter. I admire you as an HR professional, and I'm flattered that you recognize me.

Danyel Rupert for your words of encouragement and support, and for inviting me to join "HR New School" on Google Plus.

Leticia Sanchez de Garzon for your feedback and comments about my articles on Twitter.

Last, but not least, thank you to all of the people who visit my blog. It's really nice to know that you are interested in what I have to say, and that my voice is relevant.

3-D image of a question mark Questions? Thoughts? Comments?

What do you think about my plan to "move off of the tracks?" Can you relate to it? What do you think about the struggle between my "entry-level laborer roots" and the "professional" part of me? Is it just me, or is it something that you struggle with from time to time? 

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