While finishing graduate school in 2005, I was fortunate to gain an entry level recruiting role with Safeway’s HR department. Over the following five years, I was promoted four times and was eager for more, but was still not sure what area of HR I wanted to explore. I had come to really enjoy project management, but there was no specific role that would allow me to explore that field while continuing to utilize my gained knowledge of HR and the company. I felt stuck and wondered if this was an opportunity to change careers or even companies.
In 2010, a co-worker dropped a job description on my desk: “HR Manager, Strategic Initiatives and PMO,” a position that reported directly to our SVP of Human Resources. The key responsibilities of the position included metrics, benchmarking, understanding basic revenue models, and P/L issues. My first reaction was: “This sounds great, but I am not qualified to do this as I don’t have the financial or statistical skills.” Also, my husband and I were thinking of starting a family and I wasn’t sure if I could handle this higher level role and responsibility at this time in our lives. How could I have the advancing career and a family, while learning a new role?
A week or two went by and I kept thinking of the position and reviewing the job description. I spoke to the SVP of HR and a few others to gain more insight into the role. The more people I spoke to, the more I felt it was a role that would continue to round out my HR and business skills; I also felt I could learn a great deal from the SVP and his team.
So I took the leap and applied. I knew I didn’t have all the skills, but I felt confident that I had a proven track record with the company, and that I could clearly demonstrate my abilities to the SVP. After a few interviews, heagreed and offered me the job. To my surprise, he was extremely supportive and happy for me when I shared the news (a month after getting the job) that I was pregnant.
Two-and-a-half years, one child, several seminars/classes and another promotion later, I couldn’t be happier with the decision I made. I am grateful to my co-worker for planting the seed, grateful to my boss and mentor for all of his support, and grateful that I took a leap of faith in a time of doubt. I look forward to continuing to explore opportunities in life where I can lean in.