In February 2008 I divorced human resources to pursue my passion of writing. After a brief period of reflection, I realized that those twelve years prepared me for where I am today. Following are 4 Ways HR prepared me for journalism.
1. Don’t assume people know what I’m talking about
In human resources, we overly informed employees about company happenings and events through company meetings, e-mails, newsletters, bulletin board postings, and check stuffers. Even after the information overload, people would still ask me dates and times of events; benefits deductions they selected; and other details I am sure I covered.
As a writer, I cannot assume my readers know what I’m talking about even with the most basic topic. Brief explanations are always needed in words that are easily understood. I explain everything as if I’m speaking to a kindergartner. Some people may be offended but at least they understand my message.
Confidentiality was critical in human resources as I was responsible for personal identification and medical information on employees. In journalism people will share their information and stories on the condition that their identity remains anonymous. To breach this trust would put a big mark on my name and quite possibly ruin my journalism career.
3. Appreciate people as valuable human resources
People are your greatest assets in Corporate America. The company is profiting from the knowledge, resources, and talents of other people. As a journalist, these are my best sources for stories. Everyone has a story and I’m the best person to tell it.
Deadlines were critical in HR. We had to comply with employment laws or risk being sued. As a writer I sometimes write for the love of writing. While this is cool, a deadline is needed to ensure the piece is done. There’s nothing like the feeling of completion.
Above are just four ways HR helped prepare me for journalism. There are four more to come next week.