The HR Juggler

Day 4: The Search For Meaning

Posted on: December 4, 2011


Today’s guest post in this Advent Calendar of blogging is brought to you by Joseph Kennedy(@josephpkennedy), an HR  pro who is both engaging and insightful and who has certainly had an eventful and thought-provoking 2011, as you’ll see from his post below.


At this time of year we are often niggled by the question “what is the real meaning of Christmas”? For me this question is always somewhat loaded because I have a degree in theology, live over 200 miles from my parents and like many, struggle to balance the need to truly spoil my wife and children with the realities of the household budget and my embarrassing inability to decide on what to give to anyone!

I am also just completing my PG Diploma in Human Resource Management – which marks the end of a 5 year long career-change journey – and have applied for the soon-to-be-vacant HR Manager post at Retail Trust (where I am currently HR Assistant).  The course has thrown up a number of challenges for me.  Some have been practical (finding the time and energy), some have been academic (it’s been a while since I did any serious study) and some technological (I use the internet a lot but it was still in its infancy when I was doing my degree!).

One unexpected challenge was highlighted by a conversation with one of my course tutors: the need for meaning.  That was one of those conversations which you think will be a two-second thing and an hour later you feel as if someone has shaken you vigorously about the head.  I had merely commented that this tutor’s explanation of how to interpret Myers-Briggs results was really helpful, as someone had once commented that my own result (INFP) probably meant HR was not the job for me.  From there we talked about my childhood, my family, my work and my now glaringly obvious lack of any sense that I need time to mentally process and truly understand both my work and home life.  Seeing those things from the perspective of my ‘MBTI box’ was electrifying and has really challenged me to develop not only strategies to be a more authentic human being and HR practitioner, but also to see my time as an important resource in giving meaning to my life and work and in keeping stress levels down and creativity up.

As 2011 ends and I complete my course and hopefully take the next step in my HR career I will write that phrase at the top of my personal development plan for 2012.

Keeping stress levels down and creativity up… now if only Christmas could be like that!

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