As an HR professional, I have learned over 18 years the importance of listening to individual stories and recognizing the importance of how pivotal these stories are to one's career journey. My stories include experiences living in rural, suburban and urban areas, college transfer, selecting a college major not knowing anyone in that field, management training program, marriage, HR positions in different industries, loss of a parent, promotional opportunities, mother of two boys, and more. . Interview– check, send offer letter– check, schedule onboarding– check. Your checklist may look different but if you are interacting with individuals on a daily basis, I challenge you to pause. Pause and recognize the impact these interactions have in a person's journey.
I have always been intrigued with how others are different from me. Whether it is family life, where they were raised, race, ethnicity, schools attended, socioeconomic class, etc. I sought out learning about differences from books (reading is my favorite hobby), courses about history (women’s, black, asian, etc.) and keeping an open mind to listen when others share pieces of their journey. Everyone’s journey has important stories to share.
Many stories have been shared with me about individuals' journeys.These stories have included elderly individuals sharing why they are re-entering the workforce so they can care for their grandchildren, BIPOC sharing the exhausting daily pursuit for seeking success with limitations occurring regularly because of how they look, and making their success that much harder to attain, and female individuals being encouraged to settle for less than male counterparts as they pursue their hopes and dream - the list goes on.These stories are all important to recognize and learn from as they impact many other stories along the journey that is occurring.
An individual's story includes challenges, success, failure, celebration, heartache, confusion, and much more resulting in an outcome, not always planned but currently in process. Why is it important to recognize an individual’s journey? It provides respect and recognition that someone elses different journey has somehow impacted your current journey.
Keeping perspective that the importance of an individual's journey has led them to today, is something many of us could benefit from. Recognizing that the immigrant who seeks to pivot their career but may have financial barriers limiting what is possible; is necessary to then determine support that needs to be provided for their journey to evolve. Not knowing about the individual's stories is negating the importance of who they are and the stories that have led to what they can be and dreams they desire to pursue.
As this topic has come to mind, we asked ourselves, how can we honor the differences among us at Ingage Partners?
What stories have created your current journey? Have your stories been a result of others stories that differed from your own? Yes. Have your stories resulted in major challenges and hardships that led to your current day? Yes. Would your stories be different if you had been more open to recognizing differences that exist and could be important to understand? Yes.
The stories of an individual create a journey that has evolved from differences that exist amongst us.