I have been thinking about my career and my legacy.
When I started out, I believed I would have an impact on work. I wanted to make a difference in Human Resources. I wanted to change the way we hire people and manage people.
Now I look around and think, okay, maybe SOMEDAY someone will remember that I helped to coordinate HR parties.
But the good news is that legacy is different than influence.
Although it took a recession to prove me right, I see my influence everywhere in HR. Transparency. Even-handedness. Critical thinking skills. Skepticism. A willingness to kill HR in order to make it better. Some of my former colleagues have actually said, Oh yeah, now it makes sense.
(That makes me happy. I was lonely in HR.)
And in the world of blogging and B2B social media marketing, I see how worthwhile it was to pay attention to trends and cues in the early 2000s. It paid off in my own industry. Methods and philosophies that I championed nearly a decade ago are finally in vogue in the HR technology space.
(When people try to shit on you in order to get ahead, you know you’ve made an impact.)
So this is what think about my career (and yours):
- Jobs are bizarre and your career will make no sense in the present tense.
- It is really tough to make a difference.
- Thank god we get paid for this shit.
I have also learned that you don’t get to choose your legacy. And let’s be real: You probably won’t have one. But if you are lucky, you will influence someone. That — plus a paycheck — is about the best you can hope to accomplish.
(And that’s not bad, actually. I’ll take it.)