Approaching HR from the sidelines

I’ve recently accepted a full-time position at the Robson Square Provincial Courthouse where I’m working as a Registry Clerk.  It’s ultimately an administrative position.  Although I’m not directly serving a human resources function, I think I’ve made a wise career choice by joining the team.

On the upside, this government job offers stability – a rare characteristic in today’s job market.  And although friends of mine who have worked in a similar position would argue against me, I can imagine that there will be some room for internal movement once the Province’s hiring freeze has been lifted.

On the downside, I recognize that I’m not working in an HR job.  This means that in the future, I may still be rejected from openings because I lack HR experience.  But since my resume lacks administrative experience altogether, I still see this new undertaking as a good move on my part.

I’ve also heard concerns with choosing to work in the public sector and then trying to move into the private business world.  Some recruiters view the stability of public sector jobs as a negative trait, believing that because public jobs are so secure, its workers lack drive.  I plan to counter this stereotype by knowing and maintaining my direction:  I want to work in human resources.

Isn’t this what “paying my dues” looks like?  I’ve met so many HR professionals who found their foot in the door by working an unrelated entry-level position, so I’m thinking that this one’s mine…


Geraldine Sangalang is an HR pro who just started her first job post-graduation.  She volunteers with BC HRMA, the Canadian Cancer Association and the Terry Fox Foundation.  On her private time, Geraldine loves scrapbooking, hiking, kayaking, and enjoying the company of friends on a local patio.

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6 Responses

  1. Geraldine,

    Congratulations on your position! I’m sure you will find some great experience there – from what I’ve seen, it’s always good to have some administrative experience. Of course, I’m only about 4 years ahead of you, so what do I know.

    I’m not a fan of the idea of “paying you dues” (obviously this is a self-serving statement), but any experience you can get I think can help you make your way to what you really want. It sounds like you have a great drive and know what you want – this is what is really important. Just be ready when the opportunity strikes.

    I appreciate you sharing your journey with us!

  2. Geraldine – speaking as a self-employed consultant – a job that you can sink your teeth into can be a good thing!

    The important thing for you is that this is a journey and you will hone those transferable skills. Your career will not consist of a straight trajectory of “HR” roles, so don’t think of this as paying your dues, it’s what most of us have done along the way.

    Keep that goal in mind, but you’ve got lots of years to get there! Trust me, I’m over 40, it’s years and years! Enjoy the ride…

  3. Hi Geraldine,

    I have read your earlier blogs and was very happy to see you finally get your ‘foot in the door’. Congratulations! It’s a tangible and welcome first step, there’s much more to come!

    I have started volunteering in HR roles myself, hoping the experiences will lead me to a paid job in the future. One step at a time…

    Good luck with your job.

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