I was ready to leave the entire field of HR and Learning & Development because of a difficult boss and zero chance of promotion.
I didn’t want to go back to my job as a Learning and Development professional. Part of it was the job, it was very unsatisfying, and I felt like I had zero chance of getting a promotion. The other reason was the newborn in my arms, my second child.
Enrolling my second child in baby care was frankly depressing and as the days ticked by I became more unhappy about returning to work: my job was full of high pressure and little achievement. One day my partner came home and I told him how I felt strongly that one of us should stay home.
Well, we lived in the Bay Area of California, where two people have to make good money to afford a home. I swear, he only thought about it for 20 seconds, then said that, since I made more money, not only did I need to return to work, I’d need to make $10,000 more per year. He in turn would stay home with the kids and create his own business as a side gig.
It was true and I had to face it, I had to go back to work and make the job into something amazing, instead of quitting. It was the only way. That afternoon I put the kids in a giant stroller and walked to the library, coming home with 8 books on leadership, learning and personal growth. I went back to work determined to succeed with a fairly difficult boss, tons of pressure and no idea how I was going to make more money.
But I was determined to learn more every day and to focus on getting our department out from under that stressful pressure by designing excellent training.
I realized that no one at my company really know how to fix the problems we faced. So I really had to step up. I had to learn a lot about my profession, so I could help my own difficult and stubborn boss make a strategic plan. Though I considered myself to be shy and quiet, I had to start speaking up and I began to talk to the highest leaders in the organization in a way that convinced them to give me the support I needed.
The more I learned and the more I increased my confidence the more arguments I had with my boss! But I felt justified because Training wasn’t really his thing, he was in charge of another area of the business, compliance. I didn’t give up and eventually, my logic won over and he let me guide him, so I could get him out from under a tremendous amount of pressure. At one point, he went on a three-week vacation, leaving me in charge. He knew the business was about to grow fast and that in a few short weeks we would have 60 new hires to train on their complex jobs. But as he left, he advised me not to take on anything big while he was gone. I decided to disregard that advice and step into that scary opportunity and solve the problem.
When he returned, I’d turned an empty production area into a simulation training center to rapidly train those 60 new hires, while slashing training time by 2/3rds, with each student passing at a rate of 100%. You should have seen his expression when I invited him and the two top leaders into the room for a tour!
My kids never went to daycare, in fact we upgraded to a newer and larger house due to a great promotion, and over the next two years I had increased my salary by $23,000! I realized I had the confidence, the skills and knowledge to get any promotion I wanted. In fact, I’d been so successful in solving organizational problems, that over the next ten years, three jobs were created for me just to keep me.
This is exactly what I want for you. I want you to know that whatever the difficult environment you are in, you CAN solve expensive problems for your organization, and position yourself for a great promotion.
One important strategy I learned early on was that in the HR and L and D field, I had to prove my value. Click to download a free case study and template to see one of my examples and get inspired to show impactful results for your company!
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Katy Caselli is an expert in workforce development and educated in industrial/organizational psychology. She is the Founder and President of Building Giants, LLC, an author, speaker, coach and instructor.
A “people systems” expert, Katy works with Human Resources and Learning and Development to help organizations to be their absolute strongest.
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