HR Career Going Nowhere? Willing to Try These 4 Simple Steps to Get It Moving Again?

By Alan Collins |

Late at night, in your most reflective moments, do you wonder if your HR career has crashed?

If so, is this why you decided to check out this article — which consists of nothing but QUESTIONS — to help you find out?

Good, I’m glad you did…so if you want to discover for sure if your career is going down the toilet, start by answering the 10 questions below, okay?

Ready to begin?


1.  Has your HR role remain unchanged for the last three years?

2.  Have you been dissatisfied with the size of your paycheck or bonus for the last three years?

3.  Have you bounced from employer to employer without much change in job title or compensation?

4.  Did your most recent performance reviews include the terms “meets expectations,” “good” or “adequate performance.”

5.  Do your clients or colleagues ask others for guidance, help and advice — before asking you?

6.  Have people hired after you have been promoted faster than you?

7.  Do you have significantly fewer job duties, direct reports, clients or budget accountability than you had 18 months ago?

8.  Do your managers and co-workers communicate less with you? Are you finding that your phone rings less and you get fewer emails? Do you feel out of the loop?

9.  Do you spend lots of time complaining about work? When you tell stories about work, you are the story’s “victim,” not its hero?

10. Have you stop having fun on the job? Do you dread getting up on Monday mornings?

Do any of these sound familiar?

Did you answer “Yes” to two or more of these questions? If so, did you know that this means that it’s very likely your career may have in fact stalled?  

Is this a concern? Would you be open to considering some changes that might jump start it again?  Are you sure?

If so, I’d suggest taking some time to carefully think through the 4 potential action steps below, okay?

Step #1:  Have you thought about making a BOLD, MASSIVE, BIG BANG CHANGE in your career to get it going again?

For example, is it time to have a no BS, REAL sit-down with your boss?

Does your boss REALLY know you’re ready for new challenges or assignments?
Does he or she REALLY understand you’re ready to take your career to the next level?
Did you know that if you’ve been quietly doing your job and keep your head down, he or she might not realize you’re feeling unfulfilled?
Have you asked for brutally candid, un-sugarcoated feedback? Are your ready to receive it?
More importantly, are you prepared to take aggressive follow-up action based on what you hear?
Do you think that getting your boss’ help and guidance in these areas would make a difference?

Do you feel fully utilized in your current role?

If not, why not?
Is it due to organization constraints, your fear of failure or just procrastination?
If it is procrastination, what’s holding you back?

Is it time to make a BOLD job move?

After years of being a generalist, would you consider a specialist assignment?
If you’re burnt out as an HR specialist, would you consider it time to move into a generalist role?
Is it time to transfer or accept a lateral move to another department, division or sector where you can make a fresh start?
Have you thought about broadening your global HR experience by accepting an international assignment (e.G. Brazil, Russia, India, China or elsewhere)?

Is it time to dramatically enhance your HR skills and competencies?

For example, do you have a plan to build your leadership capabilities?
Or deepen your knowledge of the use of technology or social media in HR?
Or expand your experience in labor relations? Or talent management? Or in managing projects?

Is it time to dump the corporate gig entirely and go independent as a consultant, coach, headhunter or entrepreneur?

Are you willing to commit to doing any these things today?

If you are willing, would you write it down right now, so you don’t forget?

Step #2:   Have you considered MORE AGGRESSIVELY MARKETING YOURSELF inside your current organization?

Do you recognize how much value you’re adding to your organization?

Do you keep track of your accomplishments and results?
Are they documented in a file you update regularly?
Are others aware of your results and accomplishments?

Is your boss a career advocate for you?

Have you asked them to be?
Are you aware that you should be an advocate for him or her FIRST?
Do you know what keeps him or her up at night?
Are you helping him or her solve the #1 issue they face right now?
When was the last time you VOLUNTEERED to do something that would bail him or her out of a tough jam?
Does he or she know they can rely on you to do this, when needed?

What about your boss’ boss?

What about anyone else who could potentially be your next boss…do they know how valuable you really are?
Don’t you think they should?
Because if they did, wouldn’t they be in a better position to help move your HR career along?

Are you aware that lone rangers don’t advance far up the HR food chain?

Do you have a BFF in your HR group?
Who can you let your hair down with? Are you keeping stuff bottled up inside?
Who do you trust to give you brutally candid feedback?
Are you associating and learning from your HR colleagues who are regarded “A” players or those operating at the top of their game?
Did you know that by associating with these folks you also enhance your OWN game?

Who are your mentors?

What experienced HR coaches or advisors are you tapping into?
Do you have a godfather?
Do you know why you need one?
If not, have you checked out this article?

Step 3: Have you thought about ways to package up your HR experience to promote your HR career even more?

Do you write well?

What about writing a book on what you know in HR?
Not enough time? Have you checked out Write Your Own HR Book Fast?

What about crafting a short 5-10 page report on something you do well?

Still time strapped?
Have your checked out Your HR Goldmine?

What about writing an article on a recent HR project you got rave reviews on?

Do you blog?

Not a writer, ok – can you speak?

Could you put together a short presentation that showcases your expertise?
Do you already have a nice power point deck buried away somewhere on a project you’ve already completed?
Could you take that same presentation, adapt it and present it other audiences to position yourself as an authority on that topic?
Could you present it at “lunch & learns” to share your expertise with groups inside or outside your organization?
Could you present it at local SHRM or industry association gatherings?
Could you turn it into a webinar or a YouTube video (minus the confidential info)?

Do you think any of these things would enhance your HR reputation and visibility?

Do you think an enhanced reputation in HR with more people could open up more doors for you?

Step #4: Is there anything you could do to better showcase your talents outside your organization?

How engaged are you beyond the walls of your current organization?

Are you involved in SHRM?  The OD Network?  Any other external HR associations?
Industry groups?
Business networks?
Do you regularly have lunch with people who could potentially provide you with your next HR job?

Is your LinkedIn profile and resume up to date?

Did you know that recruiters or hiring managers or potential consulting partners could be doing a LinkedIn search for someone like you as we speak?
And if that’s the case, did you know that you could be losing out on a dream opportunity right now?

Are you pleased with the size of your network and existing relationships?

Are you sharing articles with them?
Are you allowing these relationships to grow stale?
Or are you helping them in some way or staying in touch?
Do you recognize how truly valuable they can be?
What new relationships should you be building right now?

How many headhunters and executive recruiters know you by name?

How many of them do you have on speed dial?
Are you helping them by providing referrals, advice or insights?
In return, how many of them keep you apprised of new job opportunities?

Think all this isn’t important, then answer this question…if you suddenly got pink slipped, what’s your plan B? Who would you turn to?

What do you think about asking yourself these simple questions every six months…and then TAKING ACTION on the results?

Would your HR career trajectory be different? Do you think it would help you jumpstart or accelerate your career forward? If so, does it make sense to schedule an appointment with yourself now to go through these questions…seriously?

So, what do you think? Was this question-based article helpful?

Before you go, can you do two small favors for me?


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