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THE QUESTION

I am in a wonderful, yet difficult, decision-making stage of my life. I want to have a family and financial security. However, I also want to love my work and what I do for a living.

I recently was laid off and took this blessing in disguise to transition to a career in human resources. I love learning about and helping people. In previous jobs, I loved to train and coach others.

I know that to be a human resources generalist/administrator, it will take me five-plus years. I am up for the challenge, even though the market is very competitive. I began an internship a couple of months ago at a startup recruitment agency. I'm very excited and it's a great stepping stone.

Now, the challenge: I received a job offer from a one-of-a-kind, very reputable company, a place I have always dreamed of working – but not in my ideal role. The role does build on my previous experience. I liked what I did, but did not love it. However, it's a very niche role that a lot of companies need but do not have. If I work hard, I could be a manager in a couple of years.

So, two different companies and very different roles. How do I decide?

THE ANSWER

This is one of those situation where the saying "You never regret what you do, you regret what you don't do" applies.

I am struck by the courage you have shown by taking advantage of a layoff and severance package to invest in training to be human resources professional – something you have wanted to do for some time. This is a step that many, many people want to make, but are very reluctant to do, mostly because of risk factors.

You seem to have overcome these concerns and have set your mind on a career in human resources – and you have even been offered a job at a recruitment agency. I am not sure why you are even considering a role that you do not want, even if the company is a good one.

The truth is, you will always find it easier to land a role for which you have previous experience, rather than a role in a field you want to transition to. That is why making a career transition takes a tremendous amount of determination, and compromise, in order to make it work.

Ask yourself what you have to gain, and lose, from the two roles. Draw out the pros and cons, and be honest with yourself. What is going to make you happy now and in the long term? What are you afraid of? Many times, doing what you are afraid of is the right thing to do in order to gain the confidence you need, and to overcome emotional hurdles.

And finally, think about regrets. Will you regret not pursuing your dream of a career in human resources? Or will you regret taking a job that is not ideal, but may, and I stress may, turn out to be okay over time.

Whatever you decide, you will not regret doing it, but you may regret not doing it.

Eileen Dooley is a certified coach and lead consultant for McRae Inc.

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