Karen Wise is an HR professional with 12 years experience in the field on different levels including HR Director. As an HR consultant Karen offers a great portfolio of HR and OD solutions as well as expertise in Coaching Psychology. You can find out more about Karen here http://www.karenwise.co.uk/ or on her blog http://karenwise.wordpress.com/. Karen is also co-founder of Minerva's Mind: an organisation that supports women to become leaders in their own lives, by exploring what leadership means today in every area of life.
Karen regularly contributes to ConnectingHR community and can be followed on twitter as @karenwise.
I know Karen for some time now and should I describe her in fewer words than it would be "sharing and caring Karen" See below what she has to share with us this time:
After those two weeks I swore to myself that I would never get an office job “when I grew up”.
At 22 I returned from a year doing voluntary work in the barrios of Bogotá and moved to London. I was given accommodation at my uncle’s flat for 10 days and my parents gave me £1,000.
10 days later I had paid one month’s rent and undertaken a touch-typing course. I had also secured my first “temp” post….you guessed it….in a Personnel Department.
Those four months were a depressing start to my HR career. I was working in a cramped office with two ladies who really didn’t care too much about quality or best practice. I had little work to do except for sticking labels on letters, stuffing envelopes and photocopying. A lot of my time was spent hiding in the toilets.
Three months into the placement I was offered the position on a permanent basis. I had a better idea, I wanted to live in Spain teaching English.
I enrolled on a TEFL course, and was offered a job with Berlitz in Madrid. I was all ready to pack my bags and leave when an ex-boyfriend re-entered my life. I turned down the job & stayed in London.
In the New Year I was back at the Temping Agency. They offered me the choice of one of two positions: one of which was working in the recruitment team at the London School of Economics.
And that was the real start of my HR career. I had a fabulous manager / mentor who taught me about quality, managing relationships and what a great profession HR is. I loved that job and the LSE was a fun place to work.
A couple of years later (after a short dalliance in retail) I entered the NHS. A short summary of the next 10 years I have already written about in another blog post.
Like a Toddler, my first few steps into the HR profession were very wobbly. But once I found my feet, my passion was nurtured and I was able to grow.
I love the complexity of the profession particularly in the context of working in a challenging environment such as the NHS. I'm proud to be a "grown up" HR practitioner.
If you like reading about other HR professionals beginnings go to the "HR Giving Back" page where you can see the list of all contributors in this blog series. Do you feel you have something you could share with HR beginners? Same page will tell you how you can participate and "give something back".