Is it Luck?

I have never been a lucky person. Scratch off's are wasted on me, my silent auction ticket number always goes uncalled and I have been hit 4 times by other cars while driving. BUT, my road to HR was ... lucky.

When I started college, I was going to be a Pharmacist. I failed Biology my first semester. Scratched that off the list.

I moved on to Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Social Sciences. I'm pretty sure that they made that up. Before I had a chance to even figure out what it meant ... I switched to English. Writing was always something I enjoyed and I had a way with words. I won my little brother 3 scholarships writing his college essays/applications for him. (In retrospect, I should have demanded some loyalties for that) Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do with an English degree and I wasn't looking to be a Lawyer or a Teacher. So what was I going to do?

On a whim, I spoke to the Mom of one of my sister's friends. She worked in Human Resources, traveled the world and truly enjoyed what she did. After talking to Barb, I was hooked. HR was the way to go. I enrolled in the School of Management at UB and was ready to go.

The next Spring, I emailed her asking if there were any internship opportunities available at her office. Without hesitation, or looking at my resume (which was non-existant at the time) she offered me a paid internship. Barb didn't want me to mess around with paper pushing either. Her attitude was that I needed to learn something of value. Before I knew it I was creating Merit Increase spreadsheets, learning paygrades; min/target/max, helping implement a new HRIS system and facilitating open enrollment. (A month earlier to that, I told a Professor I didn't think I would need Excel skills ... silly me.)

I worked 3 jobs that summer. Interning 30 hours a week, Day Camp for 2 days, waitressing 5 nights and going to summer class twice a week. I was exhausted and terrified. Was real life going to be this hard?

The true experiences and value I took from that internship led me to get involved with the college chapter of SHRM. I was the Chapter Liaison in 2007-2008 school year and President until this past December when I graduated. This opened up many doors to me. I developed a Mentorship Program for our members and local HR Professionals and became involved in BNHRA, the Buffalo chapter of SHRM.

I was lucky enough to be hired full time after graduating into one of the the companies I interned with. It is a wonderful company, looking to strengthen and develop me. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

If there is one thing I wish college students understood, it is that while college is fun, it is also the time to set up your future. Don't wait until after graduating to think "Hmm maybe I should do something now". Be proactive about your future! People want to help, want to share and watch you grow.

Maybe luck has a little to do with it, but so does hard work and taking a chance. Reach out to professionals in your field ... someone will grab hold.


  1. I am a card carrying member of the 'unlucky' club. Don't get me wrong...I've been very fortunate. But it wasn't by luck. It took hard work and being willing to ask for help.

    Someone told me a long time ago, "If you don't ask; you don't get." I've never forgotten it. Great post!

  2. One of the luckiest days for me was when a college student looking for an internship walked into the front door of our company as I was heading out to lunch. I grabbed her, hired her and now she is the voice I hear telling me to get back in the game when I am feeling low.

  3. What a great success story. I look forward to hearing more about your career.

  4. If you demand loyalties from Jeff, then I'm going to demand them from you, that sounds fair :)

  5. Amazing journey. Too bad mine's boring. ;-) Stick with it. Of all of the HR pros I've interviewed, I've never had a single one tell me that it was a bad choice!