A reader writes:
I graduated in 07 with a BA. Since than, I’ve been working FT while completing my MBA in HR as well. I began my HR career working as a recruiter for a staffing agency for about a year, but soon found out that sales is not what I really want to pursue. As a result, since Nov. of last year, I found another position working as a HR Coordinator for a local company. As for my MBA, I will be done with it this Sept. My ultimate goal is to work in corporate HR.
Now, you may ask me what is the problem? Everything is sounding to be on the right track. Well… the problem lies with my current position. I accepted this position thinking that I would learn a lot from it and that it would prepare me for a future corporate position. However, to my surprise, that is not the case at all. I get no guidance from this position. Besides me in the HR department, there is only one other person and she is solely responsible for payroll. So as a result, I have to rely on myself to research on things. For instance, right when I started, I was asked to redo the employee handbook by myself. Everything that is going here, I have to research and figure it out on my own. Now I know some people will say that this is a good learning experience but I really don’t think so. There are so many aspects of HR and I would rather work for someone who’s experienced and not put the company at risk.
So for the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to apply for other positions but have found no luck. I think the main reason for that is because my length of employment. I’ve only been at this position for 8 months and already I’m applying somewhere else. If this is the case, do you advice that I should stay with this position longer and apply later or should I continue my application? Does short length of employment really raise a red flag?
First, let me say that I'm not in HR and so I'm hoping that people who are will weigh in here as well.
For what it's worth, you wanted a position you'd learn from, and having to figure stuff out on your own is a damn good way of learning. There are a lot of people who'd love to have a job where they're given that kind of autonomy and responsibility. (Although I hope they're providing you with access to legal counsel so that you have someone reviewing your work to ensure you're complying with the law.)
Out of curiosity, did you realize when you accepted the job that there would be no experienced HR person working with you? I'm trying to figure out how this ended up being a surprise.
But in any case, if this really isn't what you want and you just aren't the type of person who wants to teach yourself (and you're not alone if that's the case), you can certainly look for other jobs. Yes, short stays are a red flag, so you'd want to make sure that you stay in your next job for a good long period. And obviously you shouldn't quit this job before you have another one lined up.
(I want to really emphasize that to everyone: Do not quit your job without having another one lined up. The economy is astoundingly bad. I'm advertising for several positions right now, and I've been blown away by the swarm of highly qualified applicants for relatively low-paying positions. You do not want to be jobless if you can help it.)
But I'd stay. It sounds kind of awesome to me, as long as your boss is willing to give you access to legal people when you need them. But maybe actual HR people are about to tell me I'm wrong, so stay tuned in the comments section.