When I started in my Product Manager role at MOL, which involves creating and managing our CIPD courses, people said to me “aren’t you lucky?”. After all, it is a cool job. Well, yes a little bit of luck was involved. But actually, I have also worked really hard to get here. I studied my CIPD qualifications as soon as I could and that’s given me a level of career confidence to move around from the start. Studying meant sacrifices; I gave up weekends, social events, and sleep. I’ve also not had a particularly easy HR career and had to make some hard choices.
In my 10 years in HR I have had to deal with jobs that chipped at my self-esteem, a fair few rejections, and once took a career step down (I like to describe it as a “diagonal move”) to get into a different type of organisation. All this took a fair bit of resilience and persistence in post-recession Britain. However, I cannot express how grateful I am to my younger self that I did my CIPD qualification as early as I could. At the time, I didn’t even know that as you get older, time gets shorter and your days get busier, so it gets harder and harder to contemplate fitting in studying or something new. I just did it because I’ve always had a real lust for learning and I really enjoyed it. And once it was done, it was done. It will always be there on my CV, no one can take it off me.
Studying CIPD presents the opportunity to gain an intricate comprehension of HR and Learning & Development processes, and to better understand your own business through the assignments. You are also exposed to the most important, current issues in the world of HR, business and the political environment. Now I am in a role where I use my brain, I’m trusted, I work autonomously and with some lovely colleagues. I feel respected and that I make a difference, with a large network of contacts on which to call. Who can really ask for more than that? My current role involves creating and shaping our CIPD products so obviously, I have chosen to work in education, and I am therefore an advocate for doing qualifications. But I’m not in sales so I am not here to tell anyone else to embark on a life-changing qualification, and I understand first-hand how personal the decision is to undertake this and commit so much time. Quite a few people I know are in organisations where their roles are at risk of redundancy and the decisions to make a change may even be out of their hands. We have looming some potential post-Brexit economic uncertainty. It just feels like the right time to take a few minutes to think about what our future selves would thank us for.
I understand all too well the pressures all of us face at various times and at varying degrees throughout our lives. Family, relationships, money, obligations. No one said self-improvement would be easy or we would all be making large changes constantly. The point is, it is hard and it does require sacrifice and guts. However, it is worth thinking about. In another 10 years, I want to be thanking myself for what I am doing today. I don’t want to rely on luck or other people. Let’s keep reminding each other to do something for ourselves, invest in our lives, and make our future selves proud of us. Emily Allen Product Manager, MOL