I was reflecting recently about why I decided to transition from HR to engineering.
First a little history
I have 10+ years experience in human resources, and noticed I never really showed the real me. Not many people know who I am or what I have to say because in HR, I learned to be guarded. To share just enough so that others think they know me, but not so much that I was vulnerable.
Why? Because at some point, I may be at the other end of a table with a severance check in hand and wishing you well in your future endeavors. When I got to the point of being numb to letting people go, I knew something wasn’t right.
I took the Insights Discovery assessment a few years ago, and I remember the instructor looking at my profile and said “Hmm!” in one of those, well that’s interesting sort of sounds. I asked him if he saw something concerning and he noticed that my conscious persona was conflicting with my less conscious persona. He told me that I need to allow the real me, to be me. I’m essentially fighting internally with how bold vs calm I am because my conscious was trying to be assertive but my unconscious was trying to be relaxed.
No wonder I always felt conflicted.
I learned a lot about me
Each new year, I set mantras that will guide me through the next 12 months and help me to stay focused. They aren’t resolutions because we all know those don’t work. A mantra is a statement or slogan repeated frequently.
2015 – All about me. Do only what makes me happy
2016 – Feel good, eat good
2018 – Be kind to myself and don’t be so hard on myself
I found myself asking the questions regularly over the last few years. Was I happy? Did I feel good? Did I enjoy my work?
2017 was the year of being brave. In early January, I was so giddy to dye my hair purple, green and pink because it’s not what a typical HR person would do. I felt brave! (I like to live dangerously)
I had been sitting on the executive team at my company for the past year and in late January, I began an advanced management training program on the path to VP of HR. In the program, there is a lot of work around the health of an organization. I looked at myself as an organization. Did I know what my values were? Did I know my purpose? Did I have clarity around what I wanted?
That summer, I realized I wasn’t happy in my position. I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing every day.
I looked back at my skills. Many years ago, I was posting a job to Craigslist. At the time, Craigslist required you to use HTML if you wanted your post to look anything more than a bunch of words. I remember feeling so excited that I taught myself how to add bullets and paragraphs. Seems small now, but at the time, I was amazed at the control I had.
Fast forward a few years and I asked myself what it was that I always wanted to try. Oddly enough, that was software development. It was the year to be brave after all.
Holy crap! That means Starting over!
Fall had arrived, and I wanted to decide if I was going to continue in my current job while learning software development or leave my job and focus on learning full time. At this point, I had dabbled a bit in engineering through Free Code Camp but it was once a week and not enough to really make a difference.
In November 2017, I signed up for The Tech Academy, and began my studies while working a demanding job full time. I also have a family which meant my days were packed. Most days I was up at 5am and didn’t go to bed until after midnight working a full-time, demanding, high stress job while trying to study 40 hrs a week. For some, this may work. For me, not so much.
I did this for a little over a month and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wasn’t focused on my work and was often distracted in my studies. Plus we were dealing with a difficult landlord and trying to move in 2 weeks. I couldn’t put all the weight on my husband and my five year old who, although she was super proud of me, missed playing with me – and reminded me of this all the time. #bestmomever
So I transitioned out of my company and focused on studying full time.