2013: The Year That Was

The picture below illustrates the past year for me quite well:

The black-and-white photo was taken on Christmas Day, 2012. The color one is from this past Christmas. As you can guess, I look a bit different. But much of who I am remains the same.

Professionally speaking, 2013 was like that for me as well. I’m still in Human Resources. I’m still an advocate of HR professionals using social media and other digital tools to elevate the type of work we do. I continue to blog, speak, as well as work with clients and collaborators, to make them better.

Within those innocuous statements there’s been plenty of change. I’m still in HR, but I’m no longer working in the hospitality/retail sector. Along with freelance consulting, I’m now part of Humareso, a great HR service provider, as a Senior HR Generalist. In addition, I’ve expanded my consulting practice, serving clients locally and, for the first time, internationally. In 2013 I came to firmly know (through trial and error, as well as in consultation with great colleagues) that what I’m able to offer is bigger than any one organization. While that doesn’t mean I’ll never work for a single company again, it does mean that who I am as a professional is no longer tied to a single one.

I still love social media, but I’m not the cheerleader I used to be. I no longer believe that you have to embrace every technological shift in order to be effective as a professional. It’s not about having all the shiny new toys out there; it’s about having the right tools, along with the willingness to seek out, discover, and utilize them when it makes sense to do so. Part of that process is being able to say no (or not now).

In June I let my SHRM National membership expire, and with that, my membership to the New York state chapter, HR/NY. It was time, as I don’t believe I got much bang for my buck while being a member of either entity.

Throughout the year I stretched myself as a blogger. In addition to writing more, both on my own blog and elsewhere, I launched the HR Interview series. Those interviews, over 20 in all, served to highlight the diversity of Human Resources. Speaking with practitioners all over the world served to highlight was a treat. I’m grateful, honored, and quite frankly surprised by how generous the participants were. They took time out of their busy schedules to share thoughts and insights into who they are and what they do.

2013 also reinforced how important having good people in your corner is. I had my share of struggles. Work, at times, was hard to come by. I was also anxious about fully committing myself to consulting full-time. Throughout the ups and downs, friends, family, and colleagues offered me support, advice, and in one case, a website, that allowed me to stay focused and hopeful. Those connections are what made this year truly memorable for me.

There are not enough words of thanks I can express to those that came along for the ride with me in 2013. It was a pleasure to talk, partner with, and support your work. Thank you for all that we’ve done together in 2013. I look forward to more creative chaos in 2014.
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