9 Lessons from My First 90 Days in Corporate HR

I began my first-ever full time corporate human resources role on October 8, 2018. I had been with the company since the summer on contract, and the universe pulled together the most amazing opportunity for me.

Today marks my first 90 days in this position and I have learned a lot since signing the offer that has changed my life. I’d like to share those 9 lessons with you.

While School is Important, the Real World is Where Deep Learning REALLY Happens

I am a huge advocate for traditional learning. College and University gave me the theoretical knowledge and the tools to set me up for success in my career. School was also the place where I grew my network, gained experience and made so many wonderful friendships.

BUT - (yes there’s a but!) there is no comparison to the hands-on, front line, in the moment learning that I experience every day in my corporate job. Every new problem I encounter leaves me with new experience and knowledge that would be near impossible to replicate in a classroom environment.

Communication is the Key to Success

A workplace with no communication is a living nightmare. If you’ve ever worked anywhere with poor communication, you know how stressful and disengaging it can be.

In my first 90 days, I have consistently shown up to communicate as much as possible, share my ideas and remain accessible to any employee or manager who needs to call or email me.

Remain Positive, Open and Accept Feedback

When you’re the new kid it can be tough. Throughout the past 90 days, and even while I was on contract, I maintained a positive outlook even when facing challenges. I was also open to constructive feedback from my peers and managers. Not only did I learn from their advice, I was able to prove myself to be willing to learn and accept feedback.

Always Ask Questions

In school, I was “the girl who always asked questions” and I believe that is a key contributor to my success. If you don’t know something - ASK! It shows your willingness to learn and opens up so many opportunities for training and mentoring.

People are Predictably Unpredictable

When talking to an outside about Human Resources, the number one thing that I stress is that people are consistently unpredictable. As the weeks pass, I learn more and more; and yet not a day goes by that someone doesn’t surprise or shock me (for good or for worse).

Don’t be Afraid To Make Mistakes

If you work with anyone who says they’ve never made a mistake in their career they’re either lying or in denial. Every mistake you make is a learning opportunity, as long as you own what you’ve done and handle the situation. There’s been plenty of mistakes in my career so far - some big, some small, but they have all helped shape my outlook and push me forward.

“I Belong Here” - Overcome Impostor Syndrome

I graduated in April, signed my contract in July and then became a full time employee in October. The whole journey flew by in about 6 months. It felt surreal and I was so nervous. My mind flooded with thoughts like “but I just graduated!” or “I don’t have enough experience for this” or “there’s no way they really believe I can do this!”. Thoughts like this are usual when someone experiences impostor syndrome (the feeling when you don’t believe that you belong or that you will be found out as a fraud).

To overcome this, I would reassure myself that if my manager didn’t think I could do it then she WOULDN’T HAVE HIRED ME! It’s as simple as that. Have faith in the people who believe in you and believe in yourself too! Practice positive self talk by saying “I belong here.”

It’s OK to take your time

When I graduated, I was dying to prove myself. I went all in, looking for jobs, transferring to university, building up my network. Throughout all this, it is very likely to experience burn-out.

Now that I have a full time job (while being in university, working for myself and balancing my family life) I understand that it’s perfectly alright to go at my own pace. Set boundaries and take a little time every day for some self care. This way, I can show up for my job every day feeling 100% and still manage everything I do on the side.

Trust the Process

I am so grateful for every opportunity that the universe has sent my way. Trust that you will end up exactly where you are supposed to be - put in the work and you will be rewarded for it.


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