HR Hero at Work and at Home? Time to Take Off the Cape

It happens all the time. If you work in HR, people tell you their work stories. They ask for advice. They ask you to look at their resumes. Family, friends, neighbors. It doesn’t matter if you’re technically off the clock, your skills are needed. You’re usually happy to help because, well, you’re you. Helping is what you do. But, do you ever find it difficult to take off the cape? I know I do. I tend to HR the hell out of my life. Whether I’m asked to or not. In case this is you too, I thought it best to share some ways I try my best to be mindful of not overdoing it in my life outside of work.

Don’t Give People in Your Life a Performance Review

It sounds insane. I know. You guide people on how to improve communications, manage and lead all the time. It is bound to bleed into your personal life if you’re not careful. But talking areas of development with family members isn’t ideal. I’m not saying these skills aren’t incredibly useful, but not everyone wants your amazing advice. Their loss. Bite your tongue every once and a while and wait for someone to ask for your take. You’re not HR to your mom, or your sister, or your cousin. No matter how talented you are.

Uncomfortable Conversations All the Live Long Day

It is part of your job to help people through challenging and often awkward conversations. It is not nearly as weird for you to openly address situations head on. Most people aren’t like that. Most people would prefer to dance around issues. Try not to be so comfortable with it that you’re blindsiding the people in your life left and right. I’m not saying ignore problems but approach things gently and remember that it won’t be as easy for everyone to discuss as it might be for you.

Nobody Likes a Know-It-All

Just because you know the dynamics of your organization like the back of your hand and the personalities involved, it doesn’t mean you’re as knowledgeable about the world at large. You’re good with people. You read them well and your opinions are valued at work. BUT, wait until you’re asked for your valued take before sharing it with the masses. How you’d advise people in your organization isn’t always going to work for other workplaces or environments. Use those powers for good when asked but not a moment sooner.

It’s funny. As I’m writing this, it dawned on me that this might be more of a chicken or egg situation for me. I think what makes me good at HR is who I was outside of work way before I stumbled upon my profession. So, if you were a know it all before, I’m not saying to change completely, just pay a little closer attention as work might have enhanced those talents a bit. Hell, wear the cape all the time if it works for you. But remember, even Superman needs a vacation once and a while.

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Kelly Poulson

Kelly has spent her career helping people kick ass and become better versions of themselves. Coaching, training, recruiting – you name it, she’s done it, and in a variety of industries ranging from advertising to behavioral health to tourism and beyond. Be it supporting new managers in their journeys from uncertain supervisors to rock star bosses, helping lost newbies zero in on what they want from their careers and find their inner confidence to ask for (and receive) that promotion, or enabling leaders to be more self-aware in their management styles and more skillfully interact with those around them, she’s done it all. Outside of pushing to make people and organizations better, Kelly spends most of her time marathoning Netflix programming with her mutt, Dexter. Connect with Kelly.


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