It makes sense
DEAR Sir Nelson: I graduated with honors from a prestigious Baguio college with a psychology degree. My goal is to work in HR. But because of limited opportunities in this field, I decided to accept a job offer as an executive assistant in a young company. When I was being interviewed for this job, I expressed my passion to be in training and development. The HR recruiter told me they have plans to expand their department. That sparked within me a hope that I do a great job as an EA, then transfer to HR when there will be an opening there.
Despite my inexperience, I learned the ropes on being an EA and even got promoted as a top performer in the Services Department. I have been in this job for about two years. Then a few months ago, HR finally posted a vacancy for an entry-level staff. I sent my application with the blessings of the Services Manager and two executives whom I am serving. Since then, I haven’t received any feedback. My friends told me to follow up, but I don’t want to come across as too pushy or needy.
What’s surprising is that my boss, the Services Manager, made a requisition for my replacement. I had a heart-to-heart talk with him and he advised me to set a timeline at which I have to decide whether I will stay on as an EA or take my chances somewhere else. Now I am in a quandary. I am afraid of making the wrong decision. Should I hang on as an EA? What if I wind up with no job at all?
My response: I think God has answered your prayers for an HR opportunity. When He does, He will also provide the strength that goes with it. It is normal to feel anxious and uncertain. This is cold feet talking. But on the other hand, don’t belittle your EA role. It’s a golden opportunity to serve others, beef up your resume and network towards the job you really want.
Bottom line, you are in limbo. The Services Manager sees you on the way out, but you don’t have a ‘way in’ into your HR. You feel that it’s improper for you to push for your application in HR. But what do you have to lose? A gross mishandling of your case may result in you having no job at all. However, if you get into HR, does that mean a pay cut? To whom will you be reporting? Think of angles like this before you pursue the lateral transfer.
To be fair to the Services Manager, he has a point in seeking your replacement. He has no clue whether you will stay or not. If you will leave without a successor, his department will suffer work disruption. I think his advice is sound: give yourself a timeline, then tell him what you will do next. Neither you nor he cannot wait forever.
If you stay as EA, the longer you stay as such, the older you’ll get and the harder you will find an HR career. Why? Because you will be competing against younger graduates. If you decide to stay, learn to love the job. Even if you are kissing your HR dreams goodbye, being an EA can still be a satisfying career track.
You may want to explore this strategy: Trade your EA experience from that young company for an EA position in a multinational company. Ideally, reporting to the CEO or President. You can help the Big Boss smoothen diversified businesses, handle various correspondences and confidential data, and serve as liaison between him and the Board of Directors. You will stretch your strategic and diplomatic skills to ensure harmony and teamwork amongst the Board and all levels of the organization.
To be concluded next week. Meantime, are you looking for an excellent Christmas gift? Give your friends a copy of my latest book Regret No More: Letting Go of Yesterday’s Sorrows, available in major bookstores nationwide.