In limbo

I have been working in HR for 10 months, but haven't enjoyed the work or my colleagues


Dear Laurence,

I graduated in 2016 and now have 10 months’ junior experience with a medium-sized logistics business in Singapore. However, I have not enjoyed the work – which is mostly data-entry and administration– or my colleagues, who constantly emphasise my low place on the company ladder.

I have started looking for other opportunities but don’t know what, if anything, my limited experience counts for. Should I be fighting with the newer graduates for entry-level jobs, or are there higher positions that I might qualify for now?

 In limbo, Singapore

Let me ask you: what made you want to work in HR in the first place, and what were your expectations of your first job ? I think the reality in many organisations is that entry level jobs in HR are quite administrative, and many have a process of “winning your spurs” through hard work and learning before you are fully accepted by your peers and colleagues.

Having said that, it does sound like the culture of the organisation you have found yourself in may not be that of a growth mindset organisation, where they look for the best in people and facilitate their growth and career development.

So I’d advise you to reflect on why you want to work in HR and what your expectations are. And while you keep this job and work as hard as you can in it, to also network as broadly as you can and explore other opportunities.

Also talk and network with as many as your peers as you can – those with the same experience, or maybe a year or two more. Find out what their journey has been, and use that to help you clarify your own expectations. Then get a clear idea of where you want to be three years from now, what you need to do to get there; and the price you are prepared to pay in terms of time and effort and jobs that are not always very exciting.

Perhaps most importantly, I recommend you to think deeply about the type of culture you want to work for and ensure that in your next job there is a better cultural fit between how you want to contribute and the type of contributions and development the organisation enables.

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